It is incredibly rare for a photo to look better, or even decent, due to being Instagrammed.
What else is there to say on the subject, really? That’s about it. Instagram is shit.
Now I don’t want fanboys/girls coming back at me with, ‘Oh, you’ve never tried it, you’re just a hater, blah blah blah.’ I have tried it. I always try things that I suspect might suck, just to be sure, and so that I can come back to you lot with my findings.
For quite some time I’d been seeing Instagram shots come up on my Facebook feed. Clearly some of my friends had iPhones and weren’t afraid to use them. I always looked at the photos and went, ‘Umm, meh, whatever.’ And then Instagram became available on Android, and then I got an Android phone, so I could check it out first hand. I could take photos, put shitty little effects on them, and ‘follow’ other people doing the same thing.
Now I want to say straight up that in my ‘following’ adventures, I did come across some photos which were stunning. Beautiful. Gorgeous. Very skillfully manipulated. However, the editing that had been done to those photos was clearly beyond the capabilities of Instagram alone, and thus I call shenanigans. People clearly can and do upload any photos, not exclusively Instagrammed ones. So that’s cheating, and I don’t count those.
But virtually every genuinely Instagrammed photo I see still makes me wince. Are you scanning and posting your grandmother’s photos from 1971? Why is your lunch blue, and your family orange? Is your phone camera malfunctioning? Is that your family or just a grouping of blobs? Those are all questions that cross my mind frequently as I peer and grimace my way through Instagrams.
Maybe I’m missing the point. Is the whole idea to create images that look old, faded, washed out, and blurred? Does the entire point of Instagram lie in the denial of beauty? Does it exist purely so that people with no technical skill in photography can gather together and congratulate each other on that fact?
Perhaps I am a lone voice in the wilderness crying out for photography to be an art again. Perhaps nobody else in this instant-everything world feels the need to learn a skill, to practice it, to create not only memories but beauty; images worth remembering. I may be the only person left who doesn’t think that a yellow tinge improves every image.
So by all means, keep posting your digitally over-exposed happy snaps, keep showing me how your lunch can look amazingly like vomit. But never ask me to be enthusiastic about it, to tell you it looks delicious, to compliment your hipstagraphic skillz. Never try to tell me that’s ‘photography’.