Why My Instagram Photos Are So Crappy

Let’s talk about my Instagram photos for a sec.  I am proud of my growing ability to frame out the worst features of the various bathrooms in which I take outfit selfies, and I love snapping great thrift finds to share with you all—somehow sharing makes me less sad that I can’t take them all home with me, à la the Can’t Hug Every Cat woman, but for clothes.

But really, these need some work, amirite?

Focus, who needs it??

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on


A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

Can’t really take a closeup if this is all the closer you can get:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

  Interior decor mishaps:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on


Orientation issues:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

  This one got no likes–’cause no one could tell what the heck was happening with this dress!

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on
  It’s so bad that the Spouse has gently suggested getting me a new phone in order to get a better phone camera.  But my phone calls, texts, and surfs just fine—plus the regular photos I take look normal on its screen.

I resist getting a new phone for the same reason I thrift: to push back on a culture of planned obsolescence and over-consumption.

I don’t want to buy trendy, low-quality new clothes just because they’re cheap and then trash them in 3 months when they’re out of style or full of holes.  I don’t want to drop $250 (or $700! hello iPhone 6) on a phone just to get the shiniest new version, and I don’t want my current phone to break after 6 months or a year even if a new one is “free” (read: the cost is wrapped into my phone plan). 

For me, it’s a matter not just of keeping my budget streamlined, but of keeping more resources out of the waste stream.

Before I start sounding like a grumpy nonagenarian—“Back in my day things lasted!  We had one phone my entire childhood!  It was attached to the wall and we LIKED it!”—think about the implications of our choice to buy something new from Target or WalMart, whether clothes or a phone.  Each purchase creates demand for more cheap clothing and newer, shorter-lasting tech gadgets.  

This demand isn’t morally neutral: strides have been made in the last few years towards improving sweatshop conditions and documenting conflict mineral supply chains that have significantly decreased the number of mines run by warlords using rape and mutilation as war tactics; but the problems are far from solved.  And we’re still dealing with a finite planet and finite resources.

I’m not exempt.  I have a cell phone, after all, when I could theoretically not own one, and I’ve chosen a job that depends on the use of technology.  I rely on others buying, then donating sweatshop-made garments to clothe my body.  

But the actions I can take now to address these issues, I take—including signing petitions, questioning our culture of obsolescence, and reducing my consumption.  I have a long way to go, but I keep learning and thinking about how I can resist further depleting creation and contributing to human rights abuses.  

Plus I’m just lazy and it’s a lot of work to learn how to use a new phone.  See, I am a grumpy Luddite.  

Enjoy my crappy Instagram photos and let me know where you are in this whole process!  I’d love your ideas on how to further resist/challenge our culture’s patterns in this arena.  

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