What the Instagram backlash says about the future of media | GigaOm

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For a simple service that lets people share their photos with others from a mobile device, Instagram gets a lot of criticism, bordering on hate. And it’s not just because the tiny startup is being acquired by Facebook recently for $1 billion, which will make all of its employees exceedingly rich — it’s because some people seem to believe that the ease with which amateur photographers can post photos to the service, and the filters Instagram provides in order to add special effects to them, are ruining photography. This isn’t really that surprising: it’s the same kind of criticism that has been made about blogging, citizen journalism and Twitter, among other things — and in each case the critics have been somewhat right, but mostly wrong.

 

In one of the most recent diatribes about the downside of the Instagram phenomenon, freelance writer and photographer Kate Bevan writes in the Guardian about how the use of cheap filters is debasing real photography — which she says used to require some level of skill to produce, and therefore had some level of quality — and how apps like Instagram and other photo-editing software encourages people to click and add pseudo-artistic effects without really thinking about what they are doing. As she describes it:

“For me, the Instagram/Hipstamatic/Snapseed etc filters are the antithesis of creativity. They make all pictures look the same. They require no thought or creative input: one click and you’re done.”

 

Should photography be left to the professionals?

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