The booming of smart phones, and all the apps associated with them, transformed the way that many people approach photography. Basically, if up to recently, the idea of carrying a compact camera everyday and everywhere was something that many, for various reasons, would not consider, now a fairly powerful camera is available as long as you carry your phone with you (and who doesn’t, right?). Consider that, on Flickr, the largest photo sharing platform available, the iPhone is now the most prevalent camera.
One of the apps that has exploded of late, both in number of users as well as number of photos shared through it is Instagram. The mix of a nicely designed app with a fairly good amount of filters for immediate processing, allied with powerful social features – photos can be immediately shared not only inside the app but also on the most widely used social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, elevated this app to one of the most successful photography apps amongst the hundreds available. Arguably, even more than the camera and processing features, the social integration makes of Instagram the camera app of choice for many.
Another powerful feature of this app is its openness – a user can share not only photos made within Instagram, but also any photo on the phone’s drive (or “Camera Roll”). Therefore, if a user prefers a different app for usability or processing reasons, Instagram can still be used to broadcast the final image to his social circle, including the Instagram feed, which users can elect to “follow”. So far so good.
However, this openness creates a situation that is driving me away from the app (or at least from the feeds) and, in my opinion, defeats the whole purpose of Instagram when it comes to sharing images specifically made with an iPhone – so called iPhoneography.
Having the possibility to share any photo on the Camera Roll, including images made with dSLRs and transferred to the phone, allows users to inject these latter images into the Instagram photo feed and therefore placing them right in front of anyone who follows them. This I find objectionable.
Now you can argue that I can stop following these users. I know and understand that, as I also understand the marketing reason for this, but this argument is besides the point I’m trying to make here.
There are more than enough venues for showing photos – if I like your work I’ll follow you in Flickr, or 500px, or your blog, or… When I look at the Instagram feed I’m expecting to see the more alternative, candid and spur of the moment images that can be made with a mobile phone, not the high-end camera produced, Photoshop retouched images you can make.
Keep my Instagram photo feed “dirty” and leave the “clean” images for other venues where they’ll be much more appreciated.
Now to you. Have you noticed this trend before? Is it something that bothers you or is it an acceptable practice to share any images on the feed, independently of having been produced with the phone?
Discuss and leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments bellow.