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BJP looks at Instagram and what it means for professional photographers

By dpreview staff on Sep 4, 2012 at 19:59 GMT

The British Journal of Photography has published an interesting article on its website entitled 'The New Economics of Photojournalism: The rise of Instagram'. In the article, author Olivier Laurent addresses the significance of services like Instagram for photojournalists, and investigates how these photographers are adapting to a platform where interactivity and immediacy are paramount. 

According to photojournalist Matt Eich, Instagram is 'a fluid form of visual note-taking and allows a seamless interaction with an ever-expanding mobile community'. (photo: Matt Eich)

Instagram was launched in 2010, and currently boasts more than 80 million users, who between them have shared around four billion images. The service is used by countless public figures including presidents, celebrities and media moguls, but it is also being increasingly adopted by professional photojournalists. The potential of the service was recognised very early on by National Geographic, who signed a brand partnership with Instagram within weeks of its launch. Since then, as Laurent explains, '[Instagram] has become an integral part of the magazine's operations, with professional photographers taking over NatGeo's feed of images, reporting instantly from their travels and photo shoots.'

The article is an interesting read, and addresses not only the positive potential of Instagram for photojournalism, but also outlines some of the longer-term concerns. Is Instagram more trouble than it's worth for a working photographer? Is it just a fad? And if it isn't, how should photographers manage concerns about privacy and copyright on such an 'open' medium? Click the link below to read the full article. 

Comments

Total comments: 108
zukiboy
By zukiboy (Sep 9, 2012)

I have to say that I am a pro photographer; meaning that I make 100% of my living from 100% photography. The first sum of money I ever made from a phone was photojournalistic stuff that caught a local politician leaving the scene of an accident he caused. I used the photos and footage to generate more money than I did in a week with a full sized camera. The notion that a "real" photographer would not use a camera phone is absurd. I have an Iphone and some appz such as Instagram and my fav "Camera + " I have taken amazing photos with these applications on my Iphone and will continue too. I would have to say to the masses ; that I remember like it was yesterday, everyone saying "oh ... that... that is a DIGITAL picture not a real photograph !" or ... ha! that has been photoshop'd for sure! there is no way that is a "Real Picture" a camera is a camera, a photographer is simply anyone who uses it. Be it in a phone or on a strap or tripod. All camera's are "instant" we are the delay.

1 upvote
Alex Efimoff
By Alex Efimoff (Sep 9, 2012)

Hey zukiboy, how about Insta.matic? how much income did it generate you? Indeed, we are talking about instagram and hipstamatic not cell phone photography in general.

1 upvote
Iusedfilm
By Iusedfilm (Sep 9, 2012)

Hi Walter, you DO understand that you can use Instagram with REAL PHOTOGRAPHS!? It is not COMPULSORY to use any of the available filters or borders. You can process an image from a PHASEONE IQ180 and share it with 80+mill users or an 800E, S2... M9 and a $10G Noctilux. Or a Ricoh GDR...
You use words like fast food, instant gratification, lack of personal creativity... well, you do not use the app, so how could you have a credible opinion?
-"but what you have to remember is that most people like instant gratification so Istagram appeals to them and their is nothing wrong with that,..."- have a look at your calendar, mine shows 2012 AD... the above is not only false, but hugely incorrect and insulting to "most" people :) Cheers!

1 upvote
walter marshall
By walter marshall (Sep 8, 2012)

I have just Googled Istagram and looked at images, interesting stuff but not my sort of a thing, it's like fast food, instant gratification with no effort or personnel creativity, some of the other photography apps are amazing, Snapseed for starters, a real photographers tool and available now on you desktop/laptop, I have done a couple of 12x8 prints from a mobile phone, I threw it into a canal during a massive row with a girlfriend, I think they are good enough to exhibit, but it took a lot of time with Photoshop/Lightroom to get them like that, I have used Istagram on said phone but soon dismissed it, I have my lovely Ricoh GRD with me all the time, but what you have to remember is that most people like instant gratification so Istagram appeals to them and their is nothing wrong with that, also serious photographers must have a light hearted side and have some fun, I must give it another try.

0 upvotes
scopes
By scopes (Sep 7, 2012)

lusedfilm, thank you! No offense to any of the fine citizens offering their comments here, but we all need to stop obsessing over and fetishising "serious" cameras and gear. I've seen truly amazing work done with camera phones and seen many good images on Instagram. Hey, let's all go out and take pictures!!!

2 upvotes
Iusedfilm
By Iusedfilm (Sep 7, 2012)

On a safer ground, just so that there are no Name Calling!... Emily Carr painted on wove paper mounted on cardboard- the medium of expression- Her craft, Painting as an Art form, her importance in Canadian Art History has never been discussed, thought of, endlessly debated by virtual abuse of free speech in considerable disregard by exchanging "It" with the "criticism" of the medium she chose to paint on.
I feel sad, really for the 70 + poster here. How could your world be so empty, that you can express so much negativity ( hatred even ) and blatant exchange of subjects for something you never actually used?
It is regrettable that you are willing to draw wrong conclusions from articles published on unsubstantiated facts and misinformation.
Continues to puzzle me that a well seen image with a $10G Leica (35mm lens) is considered serious "photography", while a well executed image with an iPhone4 (33mm or so lens) Does NOT!!!.... ???

0 upvotes
Alex Efimoff
By Alex Efimoff (Sep 7, 2012)

First of all I used Instagram and that's why I am talking about. I know what instagram does with a crappy image and how the programme changes the outcome.
Second, for some reason you started talking about an artist with its own vision as apposed to a piece of software with standardised filters.
People use Insta.matic because it allows them to make their photos look prettier. The filter changes brightness and contrast, saturation and temperature as well as apply some other effects in order to imitate 'real' prints. there is no place for originality and artistic self-expression in the whole concept of Hipsta.gram. It's a toy with annoying outcome - all the photos look the same, with the same filters and feelings. The effects substitute lack of originality, composition and style. imho
though pro photographers use Insta.matic too, but it's more about them, not about the piece of software.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
jsis
By jsis (Sep 7, 2012)

Instagram should be one of the worst inventions in Digital Photography. It reminds me of Auto-tune used by recording artists... where is the talent in that?

3 upvotes
maniax
By maniax (Sep 7, 2012)

For instant gratification as in fast food, use instagram. If you like not only the outcome, but also the complete process.. use wet plate collodion.

0 upvotes
Ikari120378
By Ikari120378 (Sep 7, 2012)

I am not a photographer, whatever it means. But I think I understand how most photographer might feel of today's "photography", and even printshop owners, maybe.

The trend is that everyone can make beautiful pictures in instant, and tend to share it online or just keeping it instead of printing. The "real professional photographers/printshops" might lose some significant job, gradually in the near future.

There will be time when we "ah, look, very beautiful pic... next... next...", when nothing is special as it used to be.

0 upvotes
scopes
By scopes (Sep 6, 2012)

Tell me what the difference is: I walk around with my Canon 5D, look for something that catches my eye and take a photograph. After I get home I load the image into Lightroom (software not a darkroom) and make numerous image adjustments until I think it looks good. Then I upload this picture to my photostream on Flickr so people can see it. Photography, right? I walk around with my iPhone and look for something that catches my eye and take a photograph. I then make numerous image adjustments with apps on my phone, (software not a darkroom) until I think it looks good. Then I upload this image to Instagram so people can see it. Photography, right?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 6, 2012)

Olympus said it best: "camera phones are to photography what 3 minute noodles are to cooking."

5 upvotes
scopes
By scopes (Sep 6, 2012)

That's a funny analogy, I like that. So if an accomplished and serious photographer makes interesting and arresting photos on a camera phone it's not really photography?

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 6, 2012)

I would think a serious photographer would never ever dream of using a camera phone. Maybe toting a Canon 5D around is a drag, but there's always something like an Olympus E-PM1 & a Panasonic 20mm 1.7, a very small combine & capable of far greater images.

0 upvotes
jedinstvo
By jedinstvo (Sep 6, 2012)

What percentage of the world's population lives on three-minute noodles? Certainly a high percentage of the world's university students do.

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 6, 2012)

(jedinstvo) Ha ha, that is funny. I most certainly have "been there, done that." I'm just saying that (if you follow the analogy) that if you need to eat 3-minute noodles not to starve to death, go ahead, just don't call it "fine cuisine cooking" like you're a chef in a 5-star restaurant near the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

1 upvote
jsis
By jsis (Sep 7, 2012)

Depends on the intentions of the photographer. I would say that you, as a photographer, is crap if you publish an Instagram photo of a panorama or a landscape view of the city scape. I wouldn't suggest to use Instagram to do a documentary, not in a million years. Instagram or something similar in photographic effect is not an effective tool for these jobs.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
JazzMasta
By JazzMasta (Sep 6, 2012)

Some guys who think of themselves as 'real' photographers just seem to be angered by the fact that their neighbour or cousin is getting 'too much' credit for their instagram photos 'even though they're not even "real" photographers or own proper equipment!'.

But that neighbour or cousin or friend perhaps happened to catch a beautiful or funny moment of life, and thats a big part of what photography is about, not which camera or filter or app you use.

No one, and at the same time everyone, can decide what's art. But there is no such thing as 'real' photography, that's an illusion.

4 upvotes
Arnstrom
By Arnstrom (Sep 6, 2012)

Everyone seem to complain about these different aspects of Instagram, as if they were one:
1. Cellphone photography
2. Photo sharing
3. Preset filters, which by the way are OPTIONAL

1. Instagram is not tied to any particular camera. You can upload DSRL-images if you want, but the fact is that the latest smartphone cameras are so good that it would be pure bullishness not to call it 'real' photography.

2. All photographers share their photos in one way of another. There's no law that says that all instagram users have to share all their photos and take pictures of just crap, and they don't. People take crappy pictures all the time, no matter if they call themselves photographers or not!

3. If you complain about the filters, you might as well accuse everyone that uses photoshop not being a real photographer. Some instagram filters may be worse than others, but some are just some extra contrast and a vignette! There are ton's of images on dpreview that's is much more over processed!

0 upvotes
Iusedfilm
By Iusedfilm (Sep 6, 2012)

What really surprises me Dan, is how the way of sharing something could be so mixed up with what is being shared. Instagram is not "photography", so good app or bad, cheesy filters or not, it will not spell the end of Photography! as an Art form, because it is Not Photography!
It is an application used on "smartphones"! Photography in any of its numerous form have existed before this app. and will continue to thrive as we will switch to yet another form of public communication tool.
Hey Dan!? do you remember the printing press? It changed the way ideas were exchanged, not the actual expression of ideas. Though on this forum, some discretion should be exercised! 60 plus negative comments/replies are posted by members on this topic who never used the app, yet preach doom and gloom of photographic arts.
How do you confuse some very clever computer code with what it is used for? 80 + mill users understand, along with yours, nearly 70 comments here do not. ??? :) Where is the " = " ???

1 upvote
Dan Wagner
By Dan Wagner (Sep 6, 2012)

Iusedfilm -- I know. :) What I want most from my cellphone is the ability to make a good clear phone call. I do like the light meter app, and the massive film dev app, and the Scramble app for when I'm stuck online at the post office. IMHO cellphones have ruined street photography -- it's hard to get a street shot where someone is not holding a cellphone. And every time I look in my rear view mirror the driver behind me is on their cellphone. So for me, yeah Instagram gives a groovy look, but my guess is people will get tired of it. And it's to photography what Guitar Hero is to playing a guitar. It will devolve into what everything like Twitter and Facebook have devolved into -- a delivery mechanism for advertising. Everyday I get an e-mail from a new business -- like Acme widgets or whatnot, that is now following me on Twitter. Who has time to surf Instagram for a photo of what your local politico had for breakfast? Pin it, Like it, Plus 1 it, Blog it....

0 upvotes
Dan Wagner
By Dan Wagner (Sep 5, 2012)

I don't need Instagram because there's no way Instagram can give me the look I get with my Rolleiflex, Tmax black and white film, and real vintage flashbulbs. Can Instagram do this: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/3525816 ? I doubt it. Plus I scan at 30 x 30 inches 300dpi.

1 upvote
happypoppeye
By happypoppeye (Sep 5, 2012)

Yes instagram can be used to view photos from your rolleiflex ...you would just need to put a link to instagram, not blurb

1 upvote
Yanko Kitanov
By Yanko Kitanov (Sep 5, 2012)

Excuse me, but I will be frank - Neither Rollei, nor Instagram can make you a photographer. Your snaps are mediocre and can be taken with any camera.

Snobbery can't be healed by Instagram too.

Have a good evening!

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
13 upvotes
Yanko Kitanov
By Yanko Kitanov (Sep 5, 2012)

I have been frank to you - it is not a hostile attack it is a sincere opinion with my apologies in it. Your post is an attack.

Your comments show the following:

a) You need to cure your complexes by snobbish talking about your Rolleiflex gear(which I absolutely like btw) under an article that has Nothing to do with it.
b) You need to post your work somewhere (where nobody came to look for it) to let everyone know (spam) that you have been taking snaps, no matter that people stopped by to read about Instagram, not about You
c) You compare a camera to a web sharing service.....
d) You don't accept frank criticism
e) You have had no or few exhibitions judging by the way you use the fact that you had one invitation to some galley.
f)You can't have an argument as there is nothing ugly in me or my picture(no matter how poor it is). You can see this if you are frank to yourself, so you are just not able to find a better argument to attack.

No need to spam further,
Have a great evening!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Sep 5, 2012)

Phenomenal Photographs, Dan ... looks like you and the city are having such a ball ... what people. Oh... and don't listen to that guy above. Jealousy can be an all consuming b eye t-c-h. But, it is just being human, perhaps, and we have all been there. (And most of us will be ever still prone to revisit that green eyed monster from time to time.) Keep rockin' your Rolleiflex, I would love to feel one purr sometime, all I got is a Gakkenflex haha (Which reminds me, I forgot to add it to my gear list lol. I should take it out sometime..)

1 upvote
Dan Wagner
By Dan Wagner (Sep 5, 2012)

Thanks Camediadude I'm glad somebody likes the photos :). NYC at night is fun for photography. I had to yank Yanko back because I grew up in Brooklyn. I like many cameras, but there's something about 2 1/4 and focusing on ground glass. Reminds me of my view camera years. Never saw a Gakkenflex. I plan on using an old Graflex soon. I don't enjoy the DSLR's as much lately. Instagram just seems gimmicky.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
ajendus
By ajendus (Sep 5, 2012)

You've missed the point entirely.

5 upvotes
JazzMasta
By JazzMasta (Sep 6, 2012)

"I don't need Instagram because there's no way Instagram can give me the look I get with my Rolleiflex"

Who cares?

2 upvotes
Yanko Kitanov
By Yanko Kitanov (Sep 9, 2012)

Listen Dan,

See the likes after people reviewed your photos and my opinion?? Now YOU got Yanked and not by Yanko, but by the simple facts and the public.

Just get over it - shooting a B&W film with a Rollei TLR in New York doesn't make you Vivian Maier. Being modest and hardworking (and you seem the opposite) does.

P.S. I have friends from Brooklyn - they don't sound like mama's snob boy, don't mess in Brooklyn here, you are not like them.

Have a great rest of life ;)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
happypoppeye
By happypoppeye (Sep 5, 2012)

Do the posters here talking about filters realize that instagram isn't a filter? There are plenty of photos/users that use filters. Instagram isn't a "filter", it's a photo sharing site.

2 upvotes
Dave Oddie
By Dave Oddie (Sep 5, 2012)

If you think the filters are not an integral part of Instagram and it is just a photo sharing site I think you have missed the point of it.

As the developers themselves said they spotted that mobile phone users most of their photos lacked mood and tone so they developed the filters.

It was very astute of them to do so. It's clearly very popular to use the filters to spruce up otherwise dull photos.

There is also nothing wrong in using them to try and be a bit arty like using that Polaroid 8x10 process mentioned on DPR either.

But photojournalism where these types of filters are employed? It doesn't fit as far as I can see. If they just want to post unfiltered photos on some sort of photo feed site there are other alternatives but they clearly do not. That photo of the soldiers is filtered and to be honest it just looks like a photo with a green cast.

3 upvotes
Alex Efimoff
By Alex Efimoff (Sep 7, 2012)

Really? How many photos without filter effects applied you've seen on Insta.matic?

1 upvote
blair47
By blair47 (Sep 5, 2012)

I feel the popularity of these phone apps is a direct result of video overload.

Sometimes it seems that almost half of all commercials on television (and many shows and movies themselves) are heavily post processed and people are just trying to emulate that look.

It's as simple as that.

0 upvotes
happypoppeye
By happypoppeye (Sep 5, 2012)

What if you don't use a filter? ...than it's just a photo that is regularly post processed, or the same you see on these forums. ...not so simple if you actually know what your talking about.

2 upvotes
JazzMasta
By JazzMasta (Sep 6, 2012)

"It's as simple as that."

Not really, photos in exhibitions are often much more processed than anything on tv.

2 upvotes
blair47
By blair47 (Sep 6, 2012)

I shouldn't have been so declarative with my "it's as simple as that" statement, but here are two examples that demonstrate my point.

The enormously popular Top Gear show from Britain. They go overboard with all the gee whiz editing and filters.

The BBC program Sherlock's opening credits. Color filtered with a tilt shift effect.

It's everywhere on television! I'm American by the way. There's a ton of programs and commercials out there that use other types of filters for emotional effect.

If they make it so easy to do on the phone, why not? It's like you're being your own art director.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Sep 5, 2012)

The article quotes a NYT photographer, James Estrin: "I think you can have interactions that are, in the long term, beneficial to you economically without monetising each interaction, ... The New York Times, to be successful economically, doesn't need to monetise every single interaction with these people."

OK. So the NYT Co. has reported falling revenues for five years, and lost money two out of the last four. Exactly how does anyone earn a living from this? Tiffany or McDonalds can use photos as candy to draw viewers and complement sales. For others, there may be some trickle from ads, but how much? No where does the article affirm how any of the participants can "monetize" the scheme, except perhaps the promoters who pitch shares in an IPO.

0 upvotes
Zamac
By Zamac (Sep 5, 2012)

The social networking and distribution aspects of Instagram certainly have their merits, but the filters ...

Others may differ, but to me the filters represent all that is bad in post-processing.

One must , however, acknowledge the astuteness of the founders. They saw many phone users were disappointed with their snaps, and supplied them with the tools - if an image is sufficiently distorted in perspective or colour, then it MUST be "creative", much like the "if it's big enough" it must be "art" perception. Then show your friends.

Still, if it makes people happy let it be.

2 upvotes
Dave Oddie
By Dave Oddie (Sep 5, 2012)

It seems to me the popularity of the service amongst the general public is down to Instagram fulfilling this aim of the developers:

"...mobile phone users found ....most of their images lacked a specific "mood and tone". Enter Instagram's filters. "

Now while I think using these kinds of filters to inject what I may consider a false mood into a photo (e,g, making it look old when it isn't) is a bad idea, if people want to do that with their Facebook destined images, then fair enough. It reminds me of Lomography and the images produced by that mechanism. (If you don't know that that is Google it and I am sure you will see the similarity).

However I don't see how an application that applies filters has a place in photojournalism. We are already wary of images being digitally manipulated so they are not a true representation.

Photojournalism is supposed to capture the atmosphere and mood. Not create it.

3 upvotes
69chevy
By 69chevy (Sep 5, 2012)

It is very apparant that the folks on this board are not users. I follow many photographers on Instagram.

Many use "real" cameras. There are users posting to instagram from 1DX, D4, 5D3, D800....

The picture does not have to be taken with a cell phone.

That being said, there are some pretty good pictures coming from cell phones as well.

5 upvotes
happypoppeye
By happypoppeye (Sep 5, 2012)

Agree 69chevy ...instagram filters are just PS predefined ...some great images on there.

It seems to be the guys who have never really looked or are really unwilling to accept change that always talk instagram down.

I don't get it ...so National Geographic doesn't have real photos because they are on instagram? ...so all those pro photographers should be put out of business because they are on IG? ...IG is the same as any other photo storage site, except bigger, with more members, free, with filters thrown in IF you want to use them.

3 upvotes
smallcams
By smallcams (Sep 5, 2012)

Can images be uploaded from computer?

0 upvotes
happypoppeye
By happypoppeye (Sep 5, 2012)

smallcams - yes

1 upvote
Tom Goodman
By Tom Goodman (Sep 5, 2012)

Here's a suggestion to DPR's editorial staff: For the next week, EVERY photograph reproduced here should carry NO TECHNICAL information whatsoever. Comments can be restricted to the vision only.

5 upvotes
jedinstvo
By jedinstvo (Sep 6, 2012)

And no pictures of cats

0 upvotes
Tom Goodman
By Tom Goodman (Sep 8, 2012)

That's a dog!

0 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (Sep 5, 2012)

It means nothing.

2 upvotes
JazzMasta
By JazzMasta (Sep 5, 2012)

I think what upsets some of the 'real' photographers (whatever the hell that is!) is that with instagram, regular people are taking really good pictures without using 10k dollar cameras. This is causing stress and bitterness because it's like they are taking a shortcut, not buying all that expensive equipment, and 'not taking it seriously'.

Too all you bitter 'real' photographers:
Yes we know, there are lots of crappy mobile pictures out there.
But with millions and millions of mobile cameras out there, some pictures are bound to be good too, and some are really really good! All mobile camera users are not the same, please acknowlage that!

And don't blaim instagram or hipstamatic, that's just the final touch. Good pictures run through instagram may look even a bit better (to some) but a crappy picture will never look good whatever app you might use.

So, stop being anti and bitter and embrace mobile apps as a compliment to other kinds of photography instead of as a threat!

6 upvotes
ignatio
By ignatio (Sep 5, 2012)

At last some common sense here. Instagram is about taking pictures, sharing and inspiration. Yes, there is a lot of crap out there as there is a lot of junk on Facebook, Twitter... and these forums. But, if you look a bit further, there is some very good reading on these forums as there are many very talented photographers on IG. It's really not difficult to find them.
I'm an old school photographer but embracing new technologies and the web is inspiring me everyday. So is the world around me, so are magazines, newspapers and so is IG.
Not my gear but experience and above all an open mind makes me a better photographer. Day by day. Still a long way to go though...

4 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 5, 2012)

A "real" (hobbyist) photographer here, & a proud one. Phil Collins of all people once said (if I'm right) "if you throw enough [spit] against the wall something's bound to stick." THAT is exactly what mobile phone photography is. "Spray & pray."

The insult is people doing that & thinking their results "belong" beside those of someone with the intelligence to work a REAL camera (at least something like a Sony NEX or RX100 or m4/3rds) when they're merely getting lucky. Enjoy it all you want but it isn't real photography. Heck my obsolete Olympus E-PL1 generates great 16x20s. Try THAT with your smartphone.

I mean hey, I can make a pretty mean dish using Stouffer's "Meal in a Bag" & I'm happy to take those shortcuts, but I have no delusions that I'm a "real chef."

4 upvotes
JazzMasta
By JazzMasta (Sep 5, 2012)

lattytusaz, there are good photographers and bad photographers, whatever camera they might use. If you think the camera model decides who's a good photographer, then you are probably not a very good one.

"The insult is people doing that & thinking their results "belong" beside those of.."
Who are these people you speak of?? This is obviously all in your head.

What makes you the judge to decide what's 'real photography'? You seem to care more about the amount of pixels than the art of photography.

"...someone with the intelligence to work a REAL camera"
Why are you connecting intelligence with the use of 'real' camera? You seem to be using a 'real' camera..

3 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 5, 2012)

i think there are a lot of amateurs and or pros, that think if you are not taking it serious, you are not worth calling yourself a photographer.

most often, those photographers come from not that creative fields like sports wedding journalism. and its clear why its like that, because if you dont really need to be talented to do the job, just know a few rules of thumb and own decent equippment, you feel uncomfortable by the thout of everyone just takes a cellphone and take photos.

i heard no "artsy" photographer saying anything against those apps, most often they are like "wow cool whats the name of it?" while the "pro" stands next to him rolling his eyes.

but the point is, the talented "artsy" guy doesnt fear the fact that every one might take cellphone shots, because he knows what his talent is, and why no one else can do what he/her can do

obviously not so with wedding/sports/news etc

so its about money again hehe

1 upvote
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 5, 2012)

Heaven forbid someone has TASTE and states what their opinion is. Heaven forbid we have STANDARDS, because now you're on your "high horse" and an "elitist." Just shaking my head.

Where I come from, if you aspire to create something great, even if you're just TRYING, you get a tool commensurate to the task. In the 80s when I was coming up, snap-shooters used Kodak Instamatics etc & that was fine, but if you wanted to get GOOD at picture-taking, you got a 35mm SLR and read books and learned about composition, lighting, f-stops and so forth. The Pentax K1000 was an inexpensive way to bring that power into your hands for a low price and was popular for that reason.

It's now 2012, but I think the same thing applies. iPhones etc are fine for documenting your bar-hopping exploits in college, but for REAL photography you need a REAL camera, and you need to quit being so intellectually LAZY and be willing to learn composition, lighting etc. If you're not, you just don't rate. Period.

2 upvotes
maboule123
By maboule123 (Sep 5, 2012)

Amen to that!!

1 upvote
ajendus
By ajendus (Sep 5, 2012)

A "real" camera? Well, I guess Ansel Adams wasn't a real photography cuz he didn't use a Nikon D4.

I'll put my iPhone photography up against anyone's "real" camera photography any day of the week. I know how to use my iPhone's camera; I know its weaknesses and strengths. And that is the test of a true photographer.

I shot at the Chicago NATO protests. I got hundreds of amazing images with my Nikons but the one that I have that has gotten the most attention was shot with my iPhone and shared on Instagram. I caught something with my iPhone that I didn't with my "real" camera. Call it luck, call it a mistake, paint it whatever color you want, but anyone who says Instagram is not a "real" photo tool is just old and stodgy completely out of touch.

2 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 6, 2012)

Naturally, someone who advocates using a REAL tool for the job is "out of touch." Yeah yeah yeah. I say: anyone who would DARE use a stinking "fruit phone" for a camera when they have access to Nikon DSLRs is just nuts. If someone is supposed to be a photographer, you ALWAYS have some REAL camera with you, ALWAYS. Don't give me "size," an Olympus E-PM1 and Panasonic 20mm 1.7 (or a Sony RX100) is small & it will splatter a "fruit phone" camera to bits. Gee whiz, if "the tool doesn't matter" as I'm always hearing, then we might as well just contact Nikon & tell them not to bother, because once again Apple is just SOOOO much smarter than everyone else. Why, they even invented oxygen and water!

Give me a break. If you forget your real camera & you use what you happen to bring with you, fine--but to PURPOSELY use such an inferior tool & call it "photography?" Next thing people are going to say is that those who warm up Chef Boyardee meatballs in a pot are "chefs." Gee freaking whiz.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Serenity Now
By Serenity Now (11 months ago)

Larry you never have and never will get it. You actually believe that equipment maketh the photographer. If Picasso picks up whatever is at hand - a pencil and paper - is the result going to be less artistic than Larry with his easel and oil paints? Because someone owns a DSLR does he make better photographs than a great photographer with a phone camera or a Kodak Instamatic or a pin hole camera? Nope. Equipment has NOTHING to do with it. Never has - never will.

0 upvotes
Tom_A
By Tom_A (Sep 5, 2012)

I think that the main attraction of Instagram is the social aspect, the sharing of pictures; more than the amateur level effects. With the effects alone it would not have gone to 80 million users.

A remark regarding the effects: usually I make "quality oriented" pictures with my decent photo gear. At the same time I have Hipstamatic on my iphone and I have no problems using it in a social context. It can make simple social pictures fun without pretense. I don't mind that, not everything must be thought out and deep with meaning. I think it is quite fun to send friends a souvenir picture that has that polaroid instant photo feel, for example.

Regarding the use of these simple effect applied pictures in magazines etc, it is a fad that will eventually be displaced with another visual fad, like for example in the film days crossprocessing was a brief fad, or when the first fish eye lenses hit the market they were also overused.

1 upvote
backayonder
By backayonder (Sep 5, 2012)

Are you making a living out of the images that you are taking at the moment ?

No? Then adapt to what the market wants.
Yes? Continue as you are.

Having said that, the above image could be become iconic and therefore better off shot in Raw, then apply a current fad app to it.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Alex Efimoff
By Alex Efimoff (Sep 5, 2012)

Market? what market are you talking about?
There is no real photographic/artistic value in Instagram by itself.
Insta.matic is just a digital fashion trend and it has nothing in common with the real professional photography, as well as commercial photography.
Hipsta.gram is just a toy that helps one to make a fake candy out of sh.. um.. nothing.

10 upvotes
ConanFuji
By ConanFuji (Sep 5, 2012)

It's the other way around... eh?

3 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (Sep 5, 2012)

+1 to ConanFuji

0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 5, 2012)

true, its the other way round, if you make a living, adapt, if not, dont care

0 upvotes
howardroark
By howardroark (Sep 5, 2012)

I just figured out Instagram. It feeds on two human desires: to be thought of as creative or meaningful and to have instant feedback. By making a photo look old it automatically appears to be a part of the past, lending it the kind of reverance only conferred by age. So they can take a picture that suddenly looks old, meaningful, and more creative than some realistic looking photo would look.
Those people are going to be disappointed in twenty years when they wish they had a lot of photos that looked like actual photos from a period in their life.....each generation of camera and the uniqueness of each age is more than enough flavor in a photograph. They're going to realize how they warped and butchered their memories.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
30 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (Sep 5, 2012)

The most thoughtful comment I have read on DRP in quite a while.

7 upvotes
zamorac
By zamorac (Sep 5, 2012)

This is one of the best comments I read on the whole hipsta-insta-photo style. Those photos might look appealing now, but in 20 years people will wonder why their photos look like something from thier parents youth.

3 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (Sep 5, 2012)

No.

0 upvotes
Thorbard
By Thorbard (Sep 5, 2012)

Interesting thoughts.

1 upvote
JazzMasta
By JazzMasta (Sep 5, 2012)

Most instagram users (atleast I) SAVE THE ORIGINAL image along with the processed one, so in 20 years we can do whatever the hell we want with it.

But I sincerly doubt anyone will change it in 20 years. That's like repainting a painting just because it's not moden anymore!

And also, @howardroark is basically telling everyone that an 'photo that looks like an actual photos' cannot be processed! Yet, I bet he and many others have applied b/w, sepia, and split toning to their pictures with photoshop for years - talk about hypocrisy!

1 upvote
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Sep 5, 2012)

Bravo, Howardroark, well said. I am very tired of hearing about this rubbish every other week now on dpreview. They are definitely adding to their page hits, which I suppose is part of growing any website to be sure so I will give them that, but it is not geared toward their core audience (and it has been an increasing trend here) so it will naturally upset some of us. But, to each their own. I realize this place is free, owned by Amazon, and they barely advertise for blooming sake, so I guess I have nothing much to complain about when it comes down to it. I'll just take what I can get, but ignoring the steady stream of articles about faddish refuse is tough.

0 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Sep 5, 2012)

Ok, on second thought, I lied. I have a LOT to complain about.
Instead of reblogging about this trite trend being covered here, why not 'cover' any one of these infinitely more worthy, fascinating and meaningful stories?

"Lenswoman in a Labcoat"
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443989204577603251965520644.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

A true love and dedication to the craft that our present pursuits in photography were wrought from is shown here:
http://www.theherald-nc.com/2012/09/04/24278/photographers-focus-different.html

Joseph Michael Lopez being looked at in a Lens article
http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/05/breaking-down-the-beast/

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 5, 2012)

+1 to "howardroark" and especially " Camediadude." Regarding what " Camediadude" said, I've been coming here for YEARS. I loved the Nikon D70 and D7000 reviews, among others, articles about REAL cameras. I identified with the landscape article that was here about a month ago as well as the "Lightroom workflow" article. This sort of stuff here is NOT what the "core" audience has been coming here for years to read about. The masses? Frankly--who cares what they think. Let's stop pandering to them over the interests of REAL photographers.

0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 5, 2012)

not true at all, ok some old guys might think like that, but even the "wanna be creative" aspect is not the point.

the point is, they wanna take pictures, they got their cellphone, the phone has a cam, the phone accepts apps, some guys write a photo apps

a lot of guys play around with it

end of story ^^

the polaroid look had a comeback long time before those apps came, those apps just jumped on the "nice polaroid is fashionable again" wagon, not vice versa

but i think 99% of instagram users use it because its fun, and the photos dont look that boring, if youre posting 5pics/day of yourself on facebook you need new ideas^^ easy as that

not evyone tries to be an artist, or fill holes in their modern digital live by adding pseudo analog stuff :)

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (Sep 5, 2012)

Boy, that really was a long-winded article about a subject that's been covered many, many, many times.

2 upvotes
Dan Wagner
By Dan Wagner (Sep 5, 2012)

Everyone hopes to be seen and heard. Facebook, Instagram and even Dpreview are forums to put your two-cents in. Personally I'd never post anything anywhere as I'm too well-adjusted -- obviously. At some point, the newness wears off, contributing without satisfying feedback is kind of like working at Kmart as their retired people greeter. Right now Instagram is the newer flavor. For seasoned photographers like me it just harkens back to the Spiratone gimmick filter era of the early 70's. The green and yellow filter effect above is a sample of a Photoshack print that got returned. But, hey, if people are having fun shouting into a thunderstorm, good for them.

I talked to a young man this past Sunday. He told me playing with Instagram and other photo apps on his phone has made him interested in 'real" photography. He was curious to learn more about my Rolleiflex loaded with black and white film and my iPhone light meter app -- so good for him.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
jorg14
By jorg14 (Sep 5, 2012)

Slow news day I guess...

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Baxter Bad
By Baxter Bad (Sep 5, 2012)

I should have read the article before commenting. I learned that Hipstamatic nows allows posting to Instagram, which explains how Matt Eich's Hipstamatic shots wound up in his Instagram stream. Didn't know about that feature.

0 upvotes
Baxter Bad
By Baxter Bad (Sep 4, 2012)

Somebody goofed. The photo of these soldiers shooting hoops was taken with Hipstamatic (Ina's 1969 "film" to be exact).

2 upvotes
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (Sep 4, 2012)

How about starting a thread on chili recipes? Anyone?

1 upvote
JazzMasta
By JazzMasta (Sep 5, 2012)

Are you trying to be funny?

(hint: you failed)

0 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Sep 5, 2012)

I love chili. Do you consider "with bean" varieties as being "real chilies?" (Hehe. I sure do, but I can kind of see the arguments on both sides of the fence. I realize how for some purists they don't belong.)

1 upvote
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 5, 2012)

I thought your comment was spot on & most funny.

1 upvote
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 5, 2012)

no beans in chili ? really? why ? never heard of that

0 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Sep 5, 2012)

Oh, it is pretty amazing to see (and sample!), I have not been to any of the real big chili festivals and cook-offs, just a couple of small ones in the past, but there is definitely a subset of the hardcore chili guys who insist that chili must be based mainly on the meat, and without beans. I like it all, from the all veggie chilis to the almost all-chili chilis (hot... milk and bread is good to have on hand though!). This part of the wiki on the hot stuff is pretty interesting, I am finding http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chili_con_carne#Beans

1 upvote
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 5, 2012)

I've got to have beans, not so much for the initial taste, but more for the after-effects, ha ha ha.

1 upvote
Alex Efimoff
By Alex Efimoff (Sep 4, 2012)

Personally I can't take instagram shots seriously even if they are journalistic or documental. too much filters and visual distortion which put the idea of the shot far aside.

10 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 5, 2012)

why would you know what the idea of a random shot was ?

come on ^^ seriously, thats no point.

all you say is i wont like because i just wont like it, because the filtes which this photographer used in his own picture put his own idea of his own shot aside ...

ah ha .... ^^

0 upvotes
LVPhoto1
By LVPhoto1 (Sep 4, 2012)

Currently 80 million uses and counting…….whether we like it or not ;) one of the hoists on The Grid had a disliking for Insatgram…..Instagram couldn’t’ care less.

1 upvote
Alex Efimoff
By Alex Efimoff (Sep 4, 2012)

in fact, 80 million users, not 80 million photographers ;)

1 upvote
LVPhoto1
By LVPhoto1 (Sep 4, 2012)

Didn’t Say 80 million Photographers ;)...80 million users....

0 upvotes
LVPhoto1
By LVPhoto1 (Sep 4, 2012)

Thank you:

Comment edited 54 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
JazzMasta
By JazzMasta (Sep 5, 2012)

Who decides who's a photographer and who's not?
Is it you @Alex Efimoff?
Please get down from your high horse.

0 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Sep 5, 2012)

Does merely having legions of 'me-too' teenie bopper followers mean that I have to accept or respect it? Just wait, for mass burnout to ensue, just like it invariably does for any other insipid flash in the pan online fad ... look up some web history, this isn't new. A fast rise is soon followed by an even faster ___.

1 upvote
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 5, 2012)

80 million USERS indeed. I loved that.

it isn't about being on a "high horse." Good grief. It's about having some taste & some STANDARDS. If I suggest that Taco Bell isn't real Mexican food (and it isn't) it's called having some TASTE. The same thing applies here.

1 upvote
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 5, 2012)

@jazzmaster

thanks man, just wanted to post the same, and now, lets go to his page and search him on flickr, to hopefully find a lot of shots of his cats hehe

0 upvotes
harry cannoli
By harry cannoli (Sep 4, 2012)

My sister loves this stuff, now I know something about it. Thank you DPReview.

0 upvotes
robbo d
By robbo d (Sep 4, 2012)

I personally feel an overkill by just one or two nieces using it and posting images on facebook, however: This is photography love or hate it and there is an application for it by some of these professionals in certain situations.
Like it or not, much like HDR it polarises opinion, but I liked the content of the article as a read and the reason why DPRis the 'go to' photo site for many.
Thanks for the informative article.............

0 upvotes
photosen
By photosen (Sep 4, 2012)

I appreciate these articles but this one... Too verbose and not very original. Hint: building an audience à la Facebook? Not working... A photographer may be reaching thousands of people, they are still not going to hire him or her.

As for the economics... I think Canon, Nikon, Pentax need to integrate a way of quickly sharing to the web from "real cameras" without falling for the trap of having an OS that may do a lot of things but ends up doing most poorly...

5 upvotes
RememberStuff
By RememberStuff (Sep 5, 2012)

I realized the other day I was missing something by not using my main slr for social media. I have an eye-fi card, and tried installing their android app. I then set my camera to raw + jpg so I would still have the raw around if I wanted it, and set the eye-fi to only transfer over jpgs.

It's not instantaneous, but it transferred straight to my phone, where I cropped it and uploaded it to facebook. This was way faster than popping out my memory card, copying and importing into lightroom, editing, exporting, then uploading with a browser.

It means popping in a different memory card every time you want to use your SLR for social media, but it's a decent solution until the camera manufacturers bake it into their bodies.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Sep 4, 2012)

Instagram is dumbing down photography. It's more about exhibitionism than anything else.

14 upvotes
JazzMasta
By JazzMasta (Sep 5, 2012)

No, it's about always having your camera with you.

Instagram photos can be as private or public as any other photo.

0 upvotes
lapsa
By lapsa (Sep 5, 2012)

God will judge the gram

0 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Sep 5, 2012)

Agreed. It is an insufferable, faux vintage trend-of-the-moment of the most contrived and clichéd kind. It is a symbol of the "me-too, give-me-that, i-want-it-know" elements that have pervaded modern culture and it is like a disease. There is no patience, no humility, no individual thought required. Driven largely by ego and cash marketing. A most shallow and inauthentic emblem of our times ... This fad can't die off soon enough.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 5, 2012)

if anything, then it was to complicated to reach everyone who was interested in photography, because of high costs,

and that has changed now or is about to change, and its a good thing, and anyone that finds reasons why its not a good thing to open a creative field to the public instead just a few that had the knowledge and money has to explane that further

if anything ruined photography as it was, than its the digital revolution aka digital cameras. instagram is just a logical and nice next step.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
BlueBomberTurbo
By BlueBomberTurbo (Sep 5, 2012)

The thing that irks me is how many people think other people's snapshots are works of art because of some tacked-on mee-too filters. It devalues the work of pro photographers. Hours invested in getting a shoot looking just right by a pro can be undone by a random snapshot and a couple minutes of tapping a screen.

I have nothing against Instagram itself, just the amount of images being posted that would otherwise be considered throwaways, now being drooled over and praised. These photos are the summer action flick of the photographic world. -____- All style (which we've seen before), no substance.

2 upvotes
downtownfish
By downtownfish (Sep 6, 2012)

Instagram for iPhone - Photo Feed Instagram for iPhone - Camera Instagram for iPhone - Explore ... Instagram - Fast, beautiful photo sharing for your iPhone
This is what google shows when you google intagram seems it is for iphones to me

0 upvotes
CeleryBeats
By CeleryBeats (Sep 7, 2012)

Try this with an i phone and instagram

http://img841.imageshack.us/img841/6997/vlieger11522.png

I dont think so!

Property of www.facebook.com/jeroenselderslaghs

Comment edited 50 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 108