January 09, 2013

That Instagram Thing

I'm never too sure what to make of the sort of anti-Instagram articles like the Grauniad's somewhat aged "Instagram is debasing real photography" doing the rounds lately. I'm even more surprised when people assume that because I was once a professional photographer (who still owns a 4x5 view camera, a bunch of medium format gear, etc., and still makes a small amount of money from photography) that I'd be the sort of person who'd be upset about or at least condescending towards Instagram.

For the record, I love Instagram (you can see some of my, um, better-loved shots at one of my Tumblrs: "Totally Restrained" (under my real name). Nothing special, but that's the point, no?

Let's state the obvious: Instagram's just another tool, just another way to capture, edit, share, and present images. It's no more likely to herald the end of serious photography — or the image armageddon feared by so many cranks out there — than the 35mm camera caused either of those things decades ago. My five-year-old nephew understands this, for goodness sake. And who cares whether the artless use of filters is, well, artless? You don't have to use them. It's like Twitter — just because it may not be your cup of tea, it doesn't make it worthless to others, or signal the end of civilisation. Instagram's just fun. Harmless fun. And if I hear another idiot going off loudly about how it debases "real" photography (whatever the hell that is) or causes cultural Ebola, I'll scream (what it obviously does cause is the sort of hysteria and over-reaction we see in the Grauniad article I linked to).

(Mild rant occasioned by an artist acquaintance of mine blithely assuming I'd agree with her about how Instagram was devaluing photography, and being quite taken aback (even horrified) when I told her I've had an active Instagram feed for a while now, and that the combination of iPhone and Instagram just clicked instantly for me).



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