Chris Johnston Photography

Chris Johnston is a landscape photographer and photo educator in South Louisiana.

Jealousy and the social media highlight reel

Trey Ratcliff and R.C. Concepcion at the Google+ Photographers Conference

Trey Ratcliff and R.C. Concepcion at the Google+ Photographers Conference

I love social media, but sometimes it can be a little depressing. You see lately I've been unfollowing a lot of people on Instagram. I've decided that I want to use Instagram as source of photographic inspiration so that means people who post pics of the their kids or their dog need to go.

This change means most of feed is photographers. The images in my feed are amazing, but for some unknown reason, most of the people I've followed live in the Pacific Northwest and the Canadian Rockies and 90% of them are single and in their twenties. The scenery in that part of the world is fantastic. Much better, in my opinion, than the flat, mostly green landscape of South Louisiana. But recently I've been feeling a twinge of jealousy.

I've been kind of resentful of these 20-somethings running around in beautiful mountain locations while I'm leading a boring, rather unremarkable life as a father of 3 in the flat, featureless South. Then I remembered when I was in my 20's I was doing the same thing. 

I spent 6 weeks camping in northeast Wyoming as field assistant for a paleontologist. Twice I drove from NOLA to Canada: once to Sainte-Adèle in Quebec, and another longer 2-week road trip to Banff and back. 

On my way to Banff

On my way to Banff

Since getting married I've traveled a bit too. In 2003, I spent several days in New Hampshire doing some work for the Republican Party in the 72 hours leading up to the 2004 presidential election. In 2010, I went to New York City to review a movie for Dad-o-matic.com, and in 2012 I traveled San Francisco for the Google+ Photographer's Conference.

Me and Guy Kawasaki at the Google+ Photographers Conference

Me and Guy Kawasaki at the Google+ Photographers Conference

I've also made amazing friends through all of this and I've been given the opportunity to meet many of my photography idols like Trey Ratcliff, Scott Kelby, Pete Collins, and Peter Hurley.

I need to remember that social media is like the highlight reel of someone's life. Most of these people I follow have jobs and live rather boring mundane lives just like myself (I still think they live in more beautiful location than I do but they might disagree). The amazing photos from their travels do not represent the totality of their lives no more than my Facebook post, or this blog for that matter, represent mine.

Sometimes you need to take a little time off social media and reflect on the highlight reel of your life and look at your accomplishments and be grateful for what you have.