Now those (few) of you who don’t know what an Instagram is, basically it’s an iPhone application which lets you apply various filters (digitally) to your mobile phone photos and share them with your mates / the world.
I personally have always had a bit of a problem with this – my bugbear was that if someone really liked that filmic look SO much then surely they should by an old 35mm camera and play around with some film. None of this ‘ooo look how good a photographer I am – I can use tilt-shift’ when they don’t even know what a Tilt-Shift lens IS! (beyond a button in said application).
However, I have long since calmed down and had a cup of tea. My stand-point now is that if the application’s popularity starts making people look into the original art-form then it’s a good thing.
I might be sensationalising a little bit, but I think it’s possible to compare the mobile-phone camera and the resulting software to be similar to when Eastman Kodak bought out the Brownie in the 1900′s and put photography into the hands of the public. Leading to a boom in photography (giving rise to the term ‘vernacular photography’ – the photography of everyday things).
Kodak Eastman had the famous phrase “You push the button, we do the rest” and it’s echoed once again with Instagram; in a sort of get-the-oddly-developed-film-look-without-all-those-messy-chemicals’
So in conclusion : It’s obviously way more convenient to carry your phone with you than a phone and a camera (believe me I know), let alone a tilt-shift lens (which I still feel obliged to point out, cannot be substituted by a blur filter, no matter what the inter-webs tells you). I have even started using Instagram myself occasionally – just for reference and inspiration you understand!
Many, far more chiselled and successful people than I have said; ‘The best camera is the one you have with you’ and that’s certainly true. So soldier on Instagram and long may you allow peoples appreciation of photography to grow! :)
By the way, the image accompanying this, frankly pithy piece is not an Instagram creation at all and is in fact a shot I took today on a pinhole camera I got bought for my birthday (thanks Neil).
EDIT: for some reason, I have completely omitted the presence of Hipstamatic, an app which is very similar and has been around for longer. However it’s not as focused on the sharing community aspect of things, and it’s not free. :)