Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Is Instagram filtering out the art of photography?

by Alastair Pusinelli.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram. The social media outlet pushed its older cousins Twitter and Facebook aside in 2015, with no sign of letting up so far in 2016. That being said, is it not upsetting that a 12-year-old girl doing a 'duckface', for instance, is able to upload pictures online straight from her iPhone, whilst a professional photographer with a £1000 Nikon camera struggles to make a break in the industry?

Instagram, with its countless filters and settings enables the user to create superb images and receive an infinite number of 'likes' for viewers to show their approval. The art of Instagram is not only taking great pictures but also using tags and geotags to make sure your snaps are seen by a wide audience.


My issue with Instagram is this. I will be more than happy if I upload a picture and I receive the ‘magic 11 likes’, this is because I’ve grown up with Facebook and double figures reflects a strong post. I then cast an eye onto a relative’s Instagram profile. She’s 15 going on 16, has over 1000 followers and her posts are receiving well over 100 likes a piece. Now my initial response is this is fucking creepy. Ignoring my jealousy, her ‘success’ may be a sign of the times and in being five years younger than me, she has been more engaged with Instagram, like I was with Facebook, and those before me with MySpace, Bebo and the glories of MSN Messenger.

So where does our little photographer friend come into this insta-centric world. I believe that as time goes on, with phones getting bigger and display quality improving, there will more room for pro photographers to receive the adulation they deserve. But who can predict which way social media will turn in the coming years?

Some are already ahead of the times. Patrick Janelle (@AGuyNamedPatrick) uses just his iPhone and clocks up the likes. The 33-year-old from Colorado posts very simple pictures of his daily life, featuring landscapes, cities, food and lots of coffee. He partners up with brands but he doesn’t savagely plug them like the C-list celebs do of the UK. He does so with subtlety, with well-crafted images and without the bombardment of hashtags.

A picture paints a thousand words, but the language is changing. For photographers, just like many others in different professions, it’s evolve or die in the modern world. If you don’t change with the times, you’ll be left behind.