so this is christmas….ie that one time i got my instagram account back

and just as mysteriously as it disappeared, my @yanpalmer instagram account is back……

turns out composing a gracious thank you statement is a lot more difficult than raising an angry fist. i feel a little like a confused toddler who threw a big fit and has suddenly found out i actually DON’T have to go to my room. what?! really?! that foot stamping actually worked?!!!

although a huge thanks is so obviously due, celebrating my victory kiiiinda feels like gloating while my siblings are still being hushed off to bed without dinner. this didn’t just happen to me. this happened weeks ago to a dear friend @jessicakettle and to others who’ve come out of the woodwork the last few days, who might not have as large of a support network to fight the good fight for them, and who’s endings weren’t as happy as my own
@jesskettle, @girlfort @@phoenixjamie i’m still rooting for you and encourage others to do the same.
and yet….
however compelling their or my story might be, i do not believe the injustice is something to be decided on  a case to case basis—i believe it lies in @instagrams vague description of what is appropriate content regarding our children, as well as their ability to remove our accounts with no warning or even a simple 24 hours notice to say, “hey back that up like its hot,” before they take our memories away.
pllleeeaasssseee don’t misunderstand—getting my account back was a huge victory, i cried and mentally sent thank you, may you be rich and happy all your days vibes to all 6K plus of you who took up my cause and reposted—but that nagging feeling of winning the battle not the war is still lingering over my head. i don’t want to see another mama, shocked and crushed when she loses her personal history, a very literal manifestation of herself, after naively  instagramming her toddler’s sandy/chubby behind at the beach.
here are some things i’ve learned this weekend that you can do to keep your images safe: back up back up back up. services that were brought to my attention: from their site: “everything kept in one place. a copy of everything you said or shared every photo you posted, every friend you made, all safe in a personal library on your computer forever.” automatic photobooks $6 per 60 pages. check out their site–this is your words and photos in print for a reasonable price and that’s rad
instaport and artifact uprising are also other, similar, yet different (i have artifact uprising books for some of my images and LOVE them) alternatives to the ones listed above.
furthermore, if you’re posting pics of your kids and are scared about what’s okay and what’s not—i heard through the grapevine that the unwritten rule is basically if you have a kid who can walk, they gotta be in a shirt at all times. period.  the goal though of the war is for unwritten rules to get written so we can all stop quivering in our boots.

an open letter to instagram; please bring back @yanpalmer

can i make the disclaimer that i wrote this late at night after a long, hard, emotional day, still slightly in a state of shock? because its sappy guys. like real sappy.

but since instagram is difficult to reach directly, i’m putting this out there in as many ways as i know how. so here you go, an open letter to instagram regarding the deletion of my @yanpalmer instagram account


hi, i’m yan. i am a single mother of three and i am an avid and passionate instagram user. in the past i have been extremely grateful for the incredible free platform instagram has been to build a community of likeminded, creative people. i worked hard (and who’m i kidding, had a blast doing it) the last 3 years to open my world and my heart to the tune of 11K+ incredible followers

i’m still grateful.
but this morning something horrifying happened to me. i went to check instagram and was surprised to find i’d been logged out of my account. that’s odd, i thought, one of my kids must have gotten ahold of my phone again—but when i tried to relog in, i got a message to the effect of, “your account has been disabled, please see the instagram help center for more information.” i went and found that the only reason your account can be disabled is if someone has reported you for questionable content.
that can’t be i thought. i haven’t had any kind of issue recently. i haven’t even instagrammed an image for 2 days, and the last photo i did instagram was me going up the stairs! i checked my email for something, some kind of heads up or warning, but found nothing. *
at this point, my hands were shaking, and i was struggling to keep down my breakfast. you see, as a single mother of three, with absolutely no outside financial assistance, i had come to rely on instagram to reach my creative community and generate business for my company, yan photography. i had earned my following, not just with images, but with words- my inner most thoughts– hard, earnest confessionals involving the demise of my marriage, the complex heartache of divorce, the reasons i found to keep moving forward (most of which were the subject of my photos–my three precious little ones). not only had i come to rely on my followers, but i believe many had come to rely on me as an honest voice amid projected perfection, as a source of encouragement to keep creating and loving.   with that community taken from me overnight, i knew that my livelihood and ability to keep providing for those precious ones, had taken a very, very serious hit. it was all i could do to not collapse in a panicked, sobbing heap.
so now, i am attempting to come to you instagram, to ask for your help. to beg you, plead even, that my former account @yanpalmer somehow, if at all possible be reinstated? to assure you that i have done my best to be a respectful, excellent, honest, and even innovative community contributor, to tell you that if there is something i need to do differently, i am fully willing to do it! i promise! and to remind you of what i feel is the very most important thing:
that you have created something incredibly beautiful. an entire, intricate online world for people to connect and explore creative inclinations they sometimes didn’t even know they had. it has been a world that has blessed me time and time again, and that i have been lucky to be a part of, i fully recognize that. i think there is a chance here to possibly improve upon this world–the power is in your hands–to use me as an example of someone you can say to, ‘hey thanks for bringing this to our attention. we’re going to improve the system, because we care and because we can.” and by improving the system, i gently suggest making more clear the policy on child nudity, and perhaps a clearer heads up that account deletion is imminent giving those like me time to back up not just images, but the words, the thought, the very literal self we have spent years documenting.
i don’t know if that makes sense, its late, and i’m extremely emotional. ha. but please, if you can, help my three kids and me. bring back @yanpalmer
i have started an interim account @heck_yan to generate support, and i think you’ll find many more there in agreement with me (i don’t want that to be threatening, but perhaps eye opening?) they have all been pleading my case under the hashtag #bringbackyanpalmer
i started the @heck_yan account today and it is almost 6K followers strong at although i am grateful for these new followers and outcry of support (how could i complain!) it has never been a numbers game for me, but a matter of drawing people to me who were invested in my art, struggle,  and story. quality over quantity if you will.
i do have some of my instagram photos on facebook if you want to get a feel for what my @yanpalmer feed WAS like:
thank you so much for your time.
*i have gotten emails from instagram in the past alerting me to images being flagged for removal due to questionable content (images of my kids in skivvies more or less). those photos were removed and i was sad, but not worked up—-there was no indication in these emails that my ENTIRE account would be deleted as a result.


*please keep checking back as new dates and locations are added*

“I called my husband last night and detailed how i want to change my entire life. I didn’t expect yan palmer to do that to me.”  - jenna cole

basically, when i say i give these workshops every possible thing i have in my heart, plus include every little scrap of knowledge i’ve learned along my photo and life way, weeeellll, i’m really not exaggerating!

so for the rest of 2014,  imma bring it. this is how its gonna go down.


wanna hear what some other people had to say? makes me blush a little, but more it makes me excited to spread some more of this around:

“Yan’s workshop felt like a day at the photographer’s inspiration spa. She has an amazing gift for teaching through not only example but authenticity. She lovingly draws others out as well and creates a safe space for honesty and sharing. I wish I could participate in one of her workshops every single month because there’s just SO much to learn from Yan. Because of Yan’s advice, I feel empowered, excited, and equipped with the tools I need to start racing towards my own unique potential as an artist, to help myself stand out in a sea of photographers, and to just be a better, more genuine and happy human.” – Samantha Kelly Photography


If there is any workshop that you should attend, it’s Yan’s. The day was filled with so much priceless information that I wasn’t expecting. Just watching Yan photograph a family was completely worth the money. She makes it look so effortless. Her tips and tricks will definitely be a part of my routine, not just for family but for any subject I photograph. Yan really makes you look within yourself, to figure out why you do what you do. And I can’t thank her enough for that. To top it all off, I have made so many great friends that I will keep in touch with forever!”  - (sally suggest i charge much more for the workshop. what do you think? juuusssst keeeeding, but really, she said that).


Yan’s workshop is much more than just a workshop. Getting the opportunity to see how she works, see how she creates, see how she makes beautiful photos time and time again was an incredible opportunity that I would do again without the slightest bit of hesitation. She has a gift not just for making beautiful photographs, but for really digging into your soul to find where there might be a little bit of happy missing, and she guides you through the path to fill the void with joy. Thats what she did for me. She saw me. She got me. She taught me. As if learning from one of the greats and some successful soul searching wasn’t enough, I also now have a ridiculously talented group of women who I can now call friends. I can’t thank Yan enough for what she did for me.”


i signed up for this workshop not knowing what to expect, except i knew that i would love it because, i mean, we’re talking about yan palmer here.  and i did really love it. yan and her openness… the other ladies and their stories.  it was truly an incredible experience.  yan really takes the time to understand what each attendee is looking for, and makes sure that everyone walks away with what they came for…  with the confidence and tools needed to reach their potential.  if you’ve been an admirer of yan’s work for a long time (as I have), and want to pick her brain on how she does what she does (and see her in action), you need to sign up for this workshop.” – kathy kwong

and on a more personal, cute note to me. this from sami jo photography:
“I went to write a testimonial yesterday and I just really couldn’t put into words how amazing Monday was. I just couldn’t quite explain it without sounding over the top and like crazy in love with you, ya know? haha!  Because what I wanted to say was, it was one of those days that’ll I will remember forever. It was TRULY one of the best days of my life. Haha! I just didn’t want to come off insincere ya know? But again, thank you so much for all of your help! I realized so much of what I need to change. Except I don’t feel overwhelmed, I just feel motivated.  I really can’t wait for you to write your book because really.. you are one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met. I was so in awe of everything you said on Monday. And guess what? I was inspired by your greatest strength and I’ve chose to be more honest this week. I feel so much more brave because of it. Well anyways. Just wanted to write and let you know how wonderful you are.’
so there you have it. this is the guts of it, guys. i hope you like what you see because i for one want to meet you, adore you, and kick your creative trash a little.
don’t see your city and are a little sad???? me too. but here’s the thing. i couldn’t commit to a billion and one cities without knowing FOR CERTAIN, i could fill up  a workshop there. i’ve already made that mistake!  so if you really super want me to come to yours, i give you my guarantee that we can make that happen if you are able to guarantee at least 5 people you’ve lined up to attend. let’s make it so!










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