Breaking News! Instagram Killing The Art of Photography – One Meal At A Time
In spite of the growing and thriving community behind Instagram, criticism against it has not really dwindled. As evidenced by full-on heated denouncements by photographers, completely satirical music videos, and the occasional online debate, it is clear that Instagram has its share of haters. Though the developers and users have not quite given up on advertising the wonders of Instagram, the charge against it remains—that it is actually killing the art of photography.
The idea that images can simply be snapped, edited and published—and from a smartphone!—is something that does not sit well with anyone who has come to know the art behind photography. Can you imagine wedding photographers capturing the most important day of couples' lives with... an iPhone? That would look especially suspicious and ridiculously unprofessional for boudoir photographers.
Even prior to digital photography, working with film entailed a great amount of conceptualization and visualization before any image could be produced. Not only was it expensive to keep snapping at random, it was also unrealistic to manually develop slides that were taken without any thought. While it is true that the rise of digital photography introduced the possibility of “unlimited shots,” this did not mean that digital photographers did not frame their shots properly, shoot clean, and adjust all necessary settings on their cameras before a click.
Come to think of it, it was difficult enough to introduce the idea of Photoshop and photo-manipulation to traditional photographers; thus it is no wonder why many a photographer will not be in favor of an app which dilutes the essence of a skill which takes so much time and effort to master.
On the other hand, Instagram has allowed people to snap at subjects (or non-subjects) indiscriminately, and add flair to their shots with a preset or a filter. No matter how badly exposed or poorly composed, there are always frames and filters to make the photo look better. In a sense, this has enabled everyone to think that just because they are on Instagram, they are actually photographers—and now, with every Instagram post of their breakfast, their cat, or their fingernails, people are stabbing photography in the chest.
Taking on the perspective of photographers, it will not be hard to see why the hostility exists. Much thought, work, and creativity goes into every image that one creates, therefore the attempt to encapsulate their entire art in two to three convenient steps is a bit of a low blow. It is bad enough that smartphone cameras are fully automatic and require zero manual adjustment, the subsequent steps for post-processing are all robotic as well. Instagram has somehow managed to bypass an entire creative process, leaving a few steps, which don’t really require much creativity. Ouch, maybe, but undeniably true.
There is plainly no doubt that Instagram has changed the way people see photography, and the existence of a convenient app and a tolerant community will not help uphold the art much. But with its wide acceptance in today’s culture, it is also clear that there is no going back. So in which direction, now, should everyone move on?
Well, perhaps everyone can also start seeing Instagram as a challenge instead of a threat. Granted that the community can also be used as a way to uplift the eye of the common people, then at some point, Instagram could also be a tool to inspire users to see everyday things in a different light. At present, thankfully, Instagram is a long way from replacing film and digital photography. With its limitations, it will most likely remain a recreational thing, therefore its art-killing potential is quite restricted as well.
If the day does come that it becomes anything more than that, then you can panic.
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