On March 15th, I had the honor of carrying the NYC Baton on Instagram for a second time. If you aren't familiar with the Baton, it's the brainchild of New York City photographer John de Guzman, who came up with the idea for a shared Instagram account, passed between New Yorkers, who use it to share their day with followers near and far.
And the audience is growing. When I first carried the account, it had just surpassed 1,000 followers. After quite a bit of publicity, including a forum that John, myself, and several other Baton-ers participated in at the 1197 Conference here in NYC during Social Media Week, it's up to about 3,500.
So the pressure was on when I logged into the account the morning of the 15th. That, plus a rules change from John - you're only allowed to post seven photos during the course of your day. My first time, I posted twenty or more.
But such limits do make you focus more on what you choose, or choose not, to share. I think it's improved the overall quality of the images, and poses a challenge that's useful in our photography in general. As photographer Scott Bourne admonishes:
"Know WHY you're about to trip the shutter button before you do it. If you can't answer the WHY question, don't make the photo."
Sound advice, especially in the digital age when it's much too easy to shoot away - "spray and pray" - without putting a lot of thought into composition, light, and subject matter. So John's rule makes sense, especially when considering that he really believes the NYC Baton is as much a tool for the photographer as it about content for the audience.