Rembrandt would have loved Instagram
The Instagram corner of the Twitter-sphere was all a flutter yesterday, arms were up, shackles raised. Why? The Guardian published an article called Instagram is debasing real photography by Kate Bevan. No wonder with that headline. A lot of people probably didn’t read any further before reaching for their keyboard (as 154 people did in 24 hours!). But the headline perhaps overstates what is quite a nuanced view. To sum up Kate’s view: she is keen on creativity, but not so keen if it’s too easy, or if people repeat it too much. It’s true, Instagram made it very easy for people to transform mobile pictures, which otherwise would have been a bit boring. And there’s a whole fascinating discussion about why they should want to do that. But why should easy necessarily be bad? David Hockney said Rembrandt would have loved the iPad because he could have done so much more art more quickly. How long did Picasso take to make his famous bike saddle bull?
I agree that if someone just applies the same filter over and over, it may become a bit boring, and, yes, they’re probably not trying very hard to be creative. But what if the results are brilliant? I say everything depends on the results. Is the result good or bad? Does it matter how they achieved it? If you don’t like images with Instagram filters, don’t blame the filters. It’s partly due to your over-exposure to them and partly because the image itself isn’t very interesting.
And so many people lump Instagram with Hipstamatic etc and focus only on the filters. The filters are 0.01% of Instagram’s value. It’s all about the social platform. Whether Instagram intended it or not, the filters are simply a starter pack for a whole world of creativity. Or as one of Kate’s 154 commenters put it, they are just the gateway drug. Once you’re hooked, most instagramers rarely use the filters. And some go on to do some mind-blowingly creative work, man. And many of them would never have done any photography without their Instagram gateway drug. Get on Instagram, Kate, and tune in to some of the good stuff.
Ah, not Earlybird again Mum.