Monday, 9 July 2012

In an Insta: Polishing photographic turds

Lugging a huge DSLR camera around isn’t always that practical. For a start, spending hours with a huge lens and body hanging from my shoulder is probably not great for my already imperfect posture; while the cost implications of having it nicked on a night out could potentially rise in to the £1,000s.

So, lately, I’ve been using my Samsung Galaxy SII smartphone and the Instagram app as a lightweight and extremely convenient means of taking on-the-spot snapshots of my daily movements. I’m still dubious about Instagram/cameraphonegraphy and its value for photography in the wider sphere (a point my wife addresses here), but at a micro level it’s a fun bit of kit that gives me the option to manipulate god-awful photography into some resembling vintage eye-candy. 

The appeal of Instagram lies in its Hasselblad-like framing and the variety of preset tonal adjustments it offers. Admittedly, it feels a bit like a cheat. Take a fuzzy picture of your family barbeque and it can suddenly look like a not- too-shabby moment when manipulated through the X-Pro setting. Essentially, Instgram is polishing photographic turds for you and I to share with the world.

I can see why this doesn’t sit right with everyone. There’s something about it that feels slightly disingenuous and, as my wife makes her living from pictures, it worries me that it’s leading a gradual depreciation of photography as a storytelling device. But if you take it as what it’s meant to be – a bit of fun – Instagram is another social medium that gets people engaged in photography. That’s probably not too much of a bad thing, is it?

My Instagram endeavours so far…

No comments: