I’m never too sure what to make of the sort of anti-Instagram articles like the Grauniad’s somewhat old “Instagram is debasing real photography” that did the rounds last year. I’m even more surprised when people assume 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 (I’m @jingletown on Instagram; you can see some of my, um, better-loved shots at one of my Tumblrs: “Totally Restrained“; sometime soon there’ll probably be a gallery of them here as well. 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. And who cares whether the artless use of filters is, well, artless? You don’t have to use them or look at photos that 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 mostly just fun. Harmless fun. In the hands of a good suitably-motivated photographer, Instagram’s likely to produce good results — it’s just another tool, one that can be used well or not. And if I hear another idiot going off loudly about how it debases “real” photography (whatever the hell that is) or causes cultural malaise, 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).
(The Instagram above was taken with my iPhone in the New York office of the company I work for, Broadway and 40th. It was just taken to show family and friends the view from where I sometimes work. Nothing special, but hey, I like the way it looks, the atmospherics, the geometry, the colours; when I travel for work, the iPhone is usually the only camera I have with me. And that’s all that matters, really.)