Is Slow Instagram Becoming a Thing?

Crusty french bread in baskets

In the world of social media, everything is instant: instant sharing, instant shopping, instant gratification. But is there a movement emerging on social media to slow things down – is Slow Instagram becoming a thing?

So, what does it mean for Instagram to be “slow”? I stole the term from Slow TV, a type of long-form television popular in Norway that shows ordinary events like train rides or knitting circles in their entirety. Slow TV is often of “marathon length” – a single ‘episode’ might go on for 8 or 9 hours – and it typically features ambient and almost ASMR sounds.

Slow Instagram isn’t an exact translation of Slow TV, but it shares some of the same tenants:

  • Long-form. Slow Instagram is typically much longer than average content on a certain platform (the way 8 hours is an eternity on TV, 5 minutes is a century on Instagram Stories). It also often takes place in real-time so there’s no editing or changing camera angles.
  • First-person. This applies mainly to Instagram stories, but by and large you won’t see someone talking to the camera. The story puts you in the place of the viewer.
  • With no discernable plot. Instagram today is all about telling bite sized stories, but Slow Instagram plays with the opposite. Walking through a meadow, making a salad, mixing paints are all very Slow Instagram. They might be part of a larger story or world the account creates, but the content itself is pretty pointless.
  • Very little #SponCon. Slow Instagram exists (for the most part) outside of sponsored content and brand affiliation. It creates content for the purpose of creating content.

The first account that inspired this idea was Jamie Beck’s @annstreetstudio where she documents her life as an artist in Provence. In a world of #ootd’s and in-your-face content, her account feels subdued and quotidian. Obviously her photos are of fantastical proportions – they look more like paintings than photos – but her subject matter is often every day objects, including herself, elevated into pieces of art.

But it’s her Instagram stories that really define Slow Instagram for me: a five-minute story of putting together a still life, ten photos in a row of flowers in a field, close up shots of items at the local brocante, a video of a baker pull baguettes from the oven.

This isn’t the glitzy, over-filtered Instagram we’ve come to expect; her stories require patience and a desire to slow down. Her stories examine beautiful, everyday things closely and for a long time – and I think that’s the key to Slow Instagram. It’s bring you into a slower state of mind that is uncommon in the instant gratification world of social media.

Plates of food in front of open windows

Another related account is @chateaugudanes, a chateau being renovated in France that features fresco renovations and tableaus of fruit in front of open windows. The account shares finds from the antique market and slow pours of sauce over food. Beck even stayed here recently, which was a Slow Instagram wet dream.

But Slow Instagram isn’t exclusively reserved for those in France, it can appear anywhere and on accounts that aren’t traditionally Slow. American Ballet Theatre (@abtofficial) sometimes shares long Stories of their rehearsals, animal Instagrams like @coogi.boogie share videos of real-time doggy mischief, fashion bloggers like @somethingnavy Instagram live their children playing.

There are elements of Slow Instagram everywhere and, honestly, it gives me hope that we still crave quiet moments and everyday joys in a fast-paced world. Slow Instagram reminds us to examine the items and experiences in our lives with a closer lens. Instead feeling the pangs of jealousy at other’s lives, Slow Instagram urges us to find the extraordinary in our everyday – we just have to have patience.

[Top photo by Jamie Beck of @annstreetstudio and bottom photo by @chateauduganes.]

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