Sunday, 4 November 2012

POV: Much Ado About An Instagram Cover Photo?


"If there was still any debate about whether serious photojournalism can take place in the context of camera phones and cutesy retro filters, it’s over now." - Jeff Bercovici, Forbes
Er, no. Not really. Mr Bercovici's pontification notwithstanding, the debate will still go on....simply because there always will be some photojournalists (plus photo editors and their ilk) who will remain wedded to their ways.

I occasionally use my iPhone's Instagram and Hipstamatic for my travel photography, as well as for my street photography efforts in New York City...and I enjoy snapping (and that's what it really is...snapping) a few pictures here and there using these apps, and having fun applying its various filters to the resultant images. I have Snapseed and Camera+ as well, and use these to apply further filters.

In my opinion TIME magazine used a photographer's Instagram snap for one of its covers not because of its particular aesthetics or its compositional values, but because of expediency. Apert from being a crop, the image itself is mundane and nondescript. The Forbes article refers to the expediency factor in very explicit terms, saying that the magazine's director of photography chose to use the Instagram was motivated by the necessity for speed. After all, Instagram has 'insta" in its name, as did Kodak's Instamatic...both implying simplicity, speed and ease.

Oh, did I mention that it's also cheap? No post processing software to buy...no fiddling with levels and layers...nothing.

And that's the reason why Google has bought Nik Software, and Twitter will introduce photo filters in an effort to bypass Instagram.

As I'm fond of saying to anyone who'll half-listen...what you use to make a photograph is really irrelevant. It could be a DSLR, a medium format Hasselblad,a rangefinder or an iPhone...it doesn't matter. They're just tools. And if the photo buyers/editors accept the images...that's all that matters.