The phenomenon that is Instagram!

I am a film freak! I freely admit it. In fact, you should see the impressions on people’s faces when I mention it….they look at me as if I’ve just been released from some high security mental asylum. And of course, I love the attention.

My readers however, hopefully know different. I certainly am very serious about film and always try and present as sensible an argument whenever the subject pops up in conversation.

That doesn’t mean I abhor digital media. Nothing could be further from the truth. Both film, digital, paint, pencil, paper etc are all means to an end. They are all mediums that help us express our innermost feelings, so that all around us can also feel the same way if they want to.

Going on from that, readers have been bombarding me with requests to say something about Instagram, the photo sharing software. Ok, fine, read on…

What is Instagram firstly? Well, it allows people to post and share their photos online using their cellphones. Is it that popular? Apparently so. At the last count, it is said that there are more than 100 million users..yes, that’s right, no mistake. And 40 million photos being shared using the service every day. That amount of users very obviously means it is horrendously popular, not just popular per se!

But why do users sing it’s praises? In my opinion, it’s main attraction could well be that it allows the average Joe in the street to take just about any photo, meld it through an Instagram filter, and out pops a result that looks like it was taken by Lord Snowdon (who’s Lord Snowdon? A world famous British photographer, silly!).

There are a huge amount of filters within the app (short for application!). Here are some of the better ones:

Rise–for portraits

X Pro II–makes colours more denser

Lo-Fi–deeper colours, deeper shadows, higher contrast

Earlybird–makes a shot look older, vintagey

Sutro–changes your image giving it a vignetted look

Toaster–like Earlybird, but more pronounced

Valencia–gives results like using Kodakchrome film!

Those are some of the filters that are commonly used. As I mentioned, for someone who doesn’t know the difference between an f number or ISO rating, this app is like the proverbial Manna from heaven. It allows anyone with 2 brain cells to almost become as good as the next top photographer.

an Instagram shot

But is this photography? Is taking a shot and throwing on a filter classed as photography? Even more to the point, can it be classed as photography? As a film user, I’m bound to be biassed on this question. So let’s hear what one of my colleagues, who is a published digital photographer and journalist, has to say about it.

“Instagram and Iphone have revolutionised the world of art and photography….brought it to people who would never have bothered, or would never have had the ability to take such shots. If you ask me if it can be classified as photography, I would say no. Real photography, whether it’s using film or digital media, is far more involved than just pointing your cellphone at somebody’s face, slapping on a portrait filter in the app and calling it high quality portraiture.

The photographers we are talking about live on earnings from their work. They spend days and nights trying to perfect their shots, trying different lenses, exposure times, ISO ratings etc to achieve that.

A guy with a cellphone can take a shot, make it look better with Instagram, and no matter how much he manipulates his/her image, it will never, ever take him as long as a real photographer takes with his shots. So will Instagram make photographers obsolete? No, of course not. Anybody who tells you so needs to get their head examined, period!”

That’s not me saying it! The opinion of an expert digital photographer.

As always, we should never dwell on the negative aspects of anything; I never do anyway. What are the good points of Instagram? Just as the guy above says. It has brought an awareness, an artistic bent shall we say, to the masses who would never have attempted such a thing.

That in my mind far outweighs everything. At the very least, it has brought huge numbers of the population in touch with, in realisation of, photography.



About filmcamera999

ME & MY PASSION! ok, you probably looked at the length of this "about me" page and thought, god, what's wrong with this guy!....does he have to start telling us his life story or something!!? well, youve come here now anyways, so why not hear what im like as a person, eh? ive been using film cameras for well over 30 first one being the family yashicamat twin lens! over the years, ive both bought sold and collected film cameras...too many to tell the truth! in fact, ive been buying and selling cameras well before the internet came on the scene, so anything you purchase from me is backed by my self-styled moneyback promise.....if you dont like what youve bought, send it back within 14 days and you get all your money arguments!! WHERE I STAND ON THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION! yes, i do use digital as well, but only as a ready-reckoner...i try and take most shots with my simple 2megapixel digicam....if the shot looks good, i pull out my film camera and shoot! i most defintely do not believe in digital manipulation of photographs....that in my eyes is not photography...its cheating! WHERE I USED TO LIVE, WHERE I AM NOW & WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO DO! i used to live in Ontario, Canada, but moved back to the UK a little while ago (its a long story..!)...but now i'm living in the one place i always wanted to be...Vancouver, BC..the next best thing to paradise on earth! as i work as a freelance writer as well as other things, i often find hat my work takes me to europe for short spells, so i get to travel a lot...not a blessing, as i just hate long flights! im a qualified Quality Assurance guy (you know...ISO 9000, auditing, documentation etc) ....99% of my skill-set is transferable so i can handle any admin or documentation-related roles....see you in BC! otherwise, i specialise in ISO 9000 auditing and documentation. my dream? to have my own thriving camera shop in Vancouver BC, whilst living in the mountains somewhere.....the best of both worlds!
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