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Oxford School of Photography
insights into photography
Tag Archives: Polaroid
Has Instagram made everyone’s photos look the same?
April 11, 2012Posted by on
From the BBC
“Instagram, the photo app, has been sold to Facebook for $1bn. But has it sparked a wave of generic retro-looking snaps, asks photographer Stephen Dowling. Instagram – and its bedfellows such as Hipstamatic, Camerabag and Picplz – have brought to digital photography a fever for a certain style of imagery. Smartphone photos are given saturated colours and Polaroid-style borders, dark vignettes, light leaks and lens flare like those that plagued the Kodak moments of previous generations. It may be 2012, but popular photography hasn’t looked like this since the early 1970s.
The trend began a few years ago with Hipstamatic, an app which apes the look of lo-fi toy cameras. Now Instagram allows a pic to be taken on your smartphone, a digital “filter” to be applied, and the resulting pic made viewable to the site’s ever-increasing community. Chances are that that artfully retro pic of a display of cupcakes your friend showed you at the weekend was an Instagram pic.”
Continue reading the main story
Before and after…
Applying Instagram’s X-Pro II filter to the image for a more “vintage” feel
“Launched in March 2010, Instagram took until the end of that year to notch up its millionth user but from there its ascent was dizzying. Just 15 months later there are more than 30 million account holders and a billion pictures on the site’s servers. That’s a lot of cupcakes.
Instagram’s use of filters mimics some of the processes photographers used to push photographic boundaries – such as the super-saturated colours created cross-processing slides in negative chemicals, or using expired film’s palette of soft, muted colours, or playing around with camera settings or darkroom equipment to boost contrast.”.…..MORE…….
I think this conclusion is where my thoughts lie..
“The ability to turn an everyday pic into something “artistic” at the click of a button is the very embodiment of digital photography’s curse of convenience – no long learning curves, or trial and error with expensive rolls of film. But is it creative?
Writer and photographer Kate Bevan doesn’t think so.
“Do I think it’s artistically valid? No. I think it kills the creative instinct. However, I do love sharing and I understand the mindset that wants to make his or her pics stand out, even though Instagram does the opposite of that.” The first time one sees a picture with an Instagram-type filter applied, it might be impressive. But the thousandth time? “I’m all in favour of people experimenting with pictures, and I’d never be elitist about photography,” suggests Bevan. “But I don’t think it encourages experimentation – it encourages the use of lazy one-click processing.”..…..MORE
What do you think?