Tuesday, 12 July 2022

POV | The Instagram Syndrome


I've recently photographed "S" on my favorite streets of NYC's SoHo district, which is replete with graffiti'ed walls and steel/iron staircases....a gallery of the photographs are currently being worked on.

As is my way of doing things, I swiftly sent her about two dozen of these photographs which I slightly edited for clarity, color and smoothing tiny imperfections of her face (the lower photo is an example. A few days later, a highly edited/filtered version of that particular photograph (and others) were posted on her Instagram feed...as per the upper photograph.

The need of self validation through such superficialities is saddening…and that it is also unnecessary makes it doubly so. It’s not my place to counsel her….all I could do was to process the images I made of her using minimal retouching…and retain her natural beauty.

Now, skin smoothing is one of the most popular "improvements" for portraits, fashion and beauty photographs...because no one wants skin imperfections, however there's a line that's crossed when that results in a "plastic skin". Unfortunately, it has recently crossed that line -and beyond- because of social media platforms such as Instagram, Tik-Tok and others. 

In my opinion and that of most other photographers, the bottom line is that post-processing -to be effective- should not be noticed.

I won't go into the reasons behind this trend on this blog post...the need for self-validation, the artificiality of what I call the "Kardashian" effect..."S" is a delightful person, and if such editing makes her happy, I will not begrudge her in any way.

That said, legalistically-speaking, the creator of photographs owns them as soon as they're made in-camera, and retain the right to edit, change them in any way they choose (unless disallowed contractually). Altering the photographs by someone other than their creator is a breach of copyright.

The Square Portrait Format

Tangentially to last week's photo session, I wanted to produce simple square format portraits of Nimika posing against a plain dark back...