Gray’s Anatomy – Follow Me Follow You – By Richard Gray


Wow, it’s Friday again! Another week in our lives has flown by but lest we lament, we have Richard Gray’s Gray’s Anatomy column to move us swiftly into the weekend. This week Richard talks about following or lack of it even, with Instagram – don’t miss this. Over to you Richard (foreword by Joanne Carter).



‘There’s no easy way to say this. If you start following me on Instagram, I won’t necessarily follow you back. According to Statigram, my latest weekly follower balance is minus 9. I look through the long list of people who unfollowed me and can only say sorry @spacecabbage, apologies @puddlegram and what can I say @instagetpopular (you didn’t). And I can only suspect that a lot of those people were expecting a follow-back and dumped me when they didn’t get one.

And there’s no easy way to say this without sounding slightly arrogant but because I do actually like to check my followings’ photos from time to time, I don’t want to increase the number of people I follow by much more than 400. There are only so many hours in the day.

While I have no compunctions about not following people who start following me, I think perhaps my English politeness means I find it very difficult to unfollow people on Instagram who follow me already – even if I’m not that mad keen on their photos. I find it especially difficult in two cases: if I’m likely to bump into them in real life (can you imagine the embarrassment?) or if they have, at some point in the early days, been kind enough to follow me and are still following me despite everything.

And so if I really find someone new that I want to follow, I have to look hard to find one of my followings to elbow out to make room for them. But sometimes the decision is made easy for me.

When I started out on Instagram I discovered Statigram and its insta-statistics. At that time, they told you who had recently followed you but not who had unfollowed you. I wrote them an email and suggested people might like to know this information. They wrote back and said thank you for my suggestion but they didn’t want to appeal to people’s more cynical instincts. A few months later they created a “recently unfollowed” section. They also show followings who don’t follow you back (I call it the “endangered list”)

So, now if there’s someone who I might bump into or who followed me years ago but who has finally had enough of me appears on this list and I don’t like their photos much I jump at the chance to give them the chop with a completely clear conscience.

That said, I’m checking my Instagram feed less and less these days and I sometimes wonder what the point of it all is’.





Unfollow unfollow unfollow….’ ©Richard Gray

Richard's mobile photography has been exhibited around the world and published in various magazines and on many websites. He launched the world's first live course in iPhone photography in early 2012 with Kensington and Chelsea College. He has given workshops with The Photographers' Gallery and British Journal of Photography. Sport England recently commissioned him to cover various of its Sportivate initiatives with the iPhone. A keen observer of this new photographic genre, his writing has been widely published (most notably in The Guardian) and he writes a blog (iphoggy-bloggy). With a big camera, he specialises in music photography ( and syndicates to Press Association (with both big and small cameras).


  • Carlos

    Our ways have surely changed since we were young humans Sr. Richard. What to do? Have a great weekend. Cheers from Austin Texas USA.

  • Gerry Coe

    Had not realised I could see who had unfollowed me…. There will be blood spilt and a weeping and a wailing in the in the Halls of Cyberspace….mind you I don’t have that many following me anyway..maybe I will just keep quiet!