BC mountains
noahganhao.com

Free at last

Banff solved my Instagaram

At about eighteen and a half, I was experiencing what many people who have an Instagram “theme” face. I had relapsed. Should I change my theme or will I be ruining a good thing? On top of this 21st century crisis, I was deliberating on resurrecting white borders around my photos so that they no longer followed Instagram’s forced 4×5 crop—but wait—would accounts stop featuring me now?

A simple message replying to an IG story bloomed into a full fledged drive across Canada to the famed west; a place I held to an extremely high regard. As someone from southern Ontario, who had never seen mountains but sure as hell yearned for them, this was an experience I wanted for what felt like forever.

I was out of the nest and just like that, those cliché DIY Pinterest signs that say, “the mountains are calling and I must go,” had come to life. Now how, as a modern day photographer, was I going to deal with all of these photos, if I was yet to smooth this bump in the road that was my Instagram? Unbeknownst to myself, this couldn’t have occurred at a better time. This trip was many things I did and did not imagine it would be—one being the solution to my predicament.

Of course I’ve been too close to see, the answer’s right in front of me! If my infatuation with the places and people around me, cannot be shared or need to be heavily modified for the sole reason that they don’t perfectly match then I’ve lost sight of  what matters.

Each phase I have gone through in my photography began because I liked it, whether I was striving to emulate someone I admired or simply messing around and discovered an editing style that could (or at least I thought) be applied across a range of photos without me growing tired. Like one would expect, that was not the case. I am far too restless and overly-stimulated to be so confined.

My work needed to breathe and become an enhanced representation of what I was already finding beautiful in front of me. I needed to convey the unique feeling of a given moment. A shift that undoubtedly resulted in a deeper discovery of my personal style—both compositionally and in colour—than I expected.

I imagine there is a deeper sentiment that lies within this but I’ll leave that for you to discover.

Present day

I have been happily married to white borders and a lack of forced theme since June 2017. Here I am, finally free.

WORDS & PHOTOS: NOAH GANHÃO

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