Make no mistake: Caroline Calloway‘s Instagram page isn’t just a scrapbook of photos, it’s a full-on memoir. The 23-year-old art history student, who moved from New York to the UK to study at Cambridge University, is using the social networking platform to tell her personal story one snapshot at a time.
It’s a brilliant concept: rather than posting real-time updates as they happen, Caroline’s been structuring her Instagram posts about a year behind her real-life happenings — making each photo a true fragment of the memoir she’s in the process of working on. Each photo is accompanied by about two to three paragraphs about a moment in time — conversations she’s had, or reflections on an event. And unlike most of the people using Instagram, Caroline actually types out the posts on a computer beforehand and often has her friends edit her words.
The result is an utterly vibrant narrative of college life—from falling in love, to freaking out in class and making life-long besties in the process. Here’s a little sample of her work:
“… my golden-retriever friendliness was extra apparent the afternoon I met my future best friend, Maria. But now I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start where we left off, surrounded by Cambridge University’s most beautiful people, all of whom clearly belonged in Lecture Room 2 but me. As I tried to stay a mini anxiety attack by taking notes, Professor Massing paced merrily behind the lectern, offering advice that seemed as applicable to Art History as cattle ranching in Texas or how not to survive a tsunami. . . I wrote down everything, complete with his quirky pan-European accent. But savvy Instagram blogger that I am, what I didn’t record with either or pictures or notes was when Professor Massing excused us for lunch and Maria and I found ourselves shuffling side by side to the door and walking into town. .. ‘Let’s,’ she said in her proper British accent. ‘Let’s be best friends.’ It was one of the luckiest things that would happen during my first year Cambridge…”
“I was interested in absolutely everything about Oscar. Just looking at his face was interesting. The way Oscar sat on grass: interesting. How he blinked in sunlight: interesting; boyfriend-material.”