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Archive for February, 2011

Why I hate Instagram

insta

Maybe I’m just being grumpy here but I can use a good rant since I’m getting really really tired from seeing the same faded faux Polaroid aesthetics all over again.

All I see is old timey photoshopped images. I can understand people are trying to be cute but just because it looks ‘vintage’ and ‘antique’ it doesn’t mean a picture of your cat is cool. Pictures of clear-blue skies, light poles, bus stations, office chairs and even paving stones, they all look ‘aaamaazing’.

Suddenly it’s all fashionable and presumingly ‘artsy’. Apart from the above examples I often see good photos being ruined by this ridiculous filter. There’s nothing artsy about it. Applying Instagram’s filters is just ‘clever-clever’, a bad attempt to fake authenticity. The flaws Instagram tries to recreate so desperately where never intentionally; they where due to limitations of the film and processing techniques used – they’re accidents, not part of the photo. They stand for that era in time. No filter, no matter how brilliantly implemented, can ever recreate that.

You know what’s going to look actually vintage? The original photo.

Go back in your hard drive and look at photos you took with your cellphone five years ago. They already look prehistoric, with their 800×600 resolution. Your 5-megapixel iPhone 4 shots are going to look just as hokey. You do not need to dip them in artificial 70s-dust to add nostalgic charm to them. Actually, you may look at your Instagrams again in a few years time and wonder why you ever thought wrapping a white border and splashing a pink blob over them was a good idea.

On top of this, is the general devaluation of photographs over the last decade. Where as previously, you’d take three or four rolls of photos with you on your holiday, people can now take three or four rolls’ worth of photos every day. The result is thousands of photos, and the chance of finding the one photo that evokes the right feeling for the subject drops dramatically, as that one photo gets lost in the flood.

We’re drowning in a sea of photos and I think our ability to filter the good from the bad almost disappears. Why else do I see people sharing photos of their dinner every day? There are only so many ways you can to take a photo of sandwich you and a billion other people had for lunch. Would anyone care?

The urge to share things comes from human nature, but the uncurated photos we send out every day make us all less interested in them. Sadly, this applies even to the ones which are worth the time to look at. We feel the need to ‘contribute’ constantly, so we end up taking hundreds of photos and sharing them on Instagram to fill the void and feel, just for a moment, that we’ve made an impression.

Next time, please think about what you put online. No, actually, think before you press the button and capturing the moment on a photograph. And take some time to look at photos which are worth it as well. Not all of them are snapshots.