50 Origami Pictures on Instagram

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Origami horse standing on reflected clouds

When you sleep you dream of clouds, pink sunlight that sings aloud, and you revel in the warm cotton of dawn, not looking up but running on.

At the beginning of this year I started taking pictures of origami with my phone camera. Not counting scribbling, photography is my oldest love. I’ve been taking pictures since I could read and write, and it was always as a visual exploration rather than as a mere recording device of family snapshots. This long history means I am not quick to jump on to the latest photography bandwagons, which come up ever more often in the fast-changing world of consumer digital photography, so I did not sign up for Instagram even after I got myself a smart phone. Recently, however, I decided I could use Instagram the way I use Twitter, as a focussed project in turning out things regularly. This I have been doing and I just reached 50 photographs in my origami-picture project.

Origami lily held neara  woman's lips

Conversation slips from cool to warm, often rises in revelled storm; In charming company it also sings, of scent and taste and poetic things.

My aim with this experiment has been three-fold:

  1. To make more origami, which I do nowhere as often as I’d like to
  2. To take more planned, and sometimes abstract, pictures.
  3. To write less personally-motivated rhymes, which I enjoy doing.

I started off with a bunch of origami boats and random things I’ve had sitting on my desk for years, some of it from back when I was preparing the dummy site for my lecture some years ago on online portfolios. Through most of January, I tried to carry around one piece of origami whenever I’d head out, and took as many pictures as I could in a variety of locations, situations and lighting. While I do want to explore all sorts of different styles of photography within this framework in the future, I figured going outdoors, out-and-about in the world, was the best way to play with it in the beginning, rather than being stuck at home under a table lamp, the easiest option.

Origami boat against scratched glass

Numbers grant strength, inertia & drag, enthusiasm for a warning flag, for numbers expect all who are to abide, lone ships on their red tide.

Origami double boat on a reflected pattern

Patterns form and patterns break, we stay along for pattern's sake, and in that limpid pool of chance, as patterns shift, we stay to dance.

One thing I noticed about photos of origami when I first got this idea, especially on Instagram, is that they are more often than not merely documentary photographs of middling quality. There is a rarely even an attempt to create a good photograph, with the focus being on displaying a piece of paper-folding, and that too not in the best light. Having seen that, I decided my photos should work equally as interesting photographs, as they do as documentary pictures of origami models.

Origami insect sunlit in a colourful corner

A star peeks out the veil of night, in a corner a spirit stirs, spreads shriveled wings with all its might, until they beat as golden blurs.

Origami rabbit among plants on the ground

We decry a lack of fodder for the mind, but intuit and you will find, considerations littering the ground, as food for thought is all around.

Since I now had a new Xperia-Mini instead of the old fairly-useless phone camera on my previous model, I knew I certainly had more of a technical ability to take quality pictures on the phone. That combined with all the usual wisdoms involved in making the best of the photographic equipment you have in hand, has made for some very interesting, and in some cases striking, images which I am quite happy with. A phone camera can never replace a proper one, but thinking in its terms is an interesting and educational exercise.

Origami boat nestled in giant ribs

Trapped in the belly of the beast, not irritant nor joyous feast, yet on your little boat of chance, when sights are grim, give tact a lance.

The other aspect I wanted to add into the mix was the text that goes with the pictures. It comes almost as second-nature to most, to add in a clever or appropriate title to pictures such as those added on Instagram. I wanted to take that even further by adding in rhyme and thought, and sometimes even story, into the mix. I wanted the photo and the text to say more than either could do on their own; A chance for me to write and rhyme on a more diverse set of subjects without letting too much personal introspection come into it. I’ve let the pictures lead me to the text, which has resulted in a variety of writings.

Origami diya or Diwali lamp

In darkness meagre light is brighter, a buoyant heart a little lighter, so fan a flame and murk will fray, if not to white then hopeful grey.

What started with a set of old origami slowly moved into newer more exotic models. I took a few shots using the origami Diwali lamp I designed for the festival, looked up simple diagrams both online and off to make three fresh designs I was not familiar with, and I even did a couple of improvisations. Not a bad start to exploring origami more through photography and Instagram. For now I’ve been sticking to tiny models made of simple white note-paper, more for the convenience of being able to carry them around in my pocket easily. In time, I will try other scales and more elaborate models and ways to utilise them. These simple explorations have been a strong place to start.

Origami shirt against marble stone and metal

What garb to don we never settle, clothe our souls in stone & metal, in which thickest skin does seethe, nostalgic for when we could breathe.

Origami creature in a sunlit tree

The world is wonderfully strange, beauty comes in every range, from sunlight glowing over eaves, to weird creatures nestled in the leaves.

Fifty down and sky’s the limit. I will continue to play with this as long as the enthusiasm lasts. As far as raw material goes, there are an infinite number of origami models out there to try, and a further infinite number of photos I could take with them. Coming up with text to go with each is sometimes a challenge, but a happy one, and I have enjoyed the results of my attempts for the most part. What I’ve done thus far has been a lot of fun and I hope to enjoy this process even more with time. Creating a couple of hundred strong photos with rhyming captions by the end of the year won’t be a bad pay-off either.

Origami crane on my head

Fleeting thoughts, flights of fancy, inspired bits of logic chancy, a sparkled idea that brightness brings, notions with a touch of wings.

I’m Papernaut on Instagram. Follow me there, or just look around and read what I’ve done and will do as more gets added. You can also follow me on Facebook and keep track of my Instagram album there.

For now, onward with the experiments.


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  1. Samir,
    Wow! you´re doing 3 things you enjoy so much, as you take pictures and write after you create a piece of art, so you think, create, photograph and write, that´s a combo, and well you receive comments like mine ha ha ha, nice work Samir, I regret I don´t have an instagram account to follow you, but glad you post them in your blog.


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