Sunday, 17 June 2012

Instagram - awesome app or creative crap?

I'm sure by now most of you reading this will be aware of the amazingness that is Instagram.  For those of you who aren't aware, it's a new app that started out on the iPhone and is now available on Android (yay!) where you can take photos and use Instagram's settings to add various filters to your picture to enhance certain colours or give your photo a 'vintage' feel.  You can add borders and highlight certain features and if you so desire, you can also use Instagram to share your photos via Facebook or Twitter.  You can follow friends and see the photos they're posting, you can 'like' photos and comment on photos. 


This is what I've spent the last 8 years doing.  Fingers crossed it's all over now!

I have to admit, I was super jealous of iPhone folks when Instgram came out.  I'm rubbish at taking photos and the idea of being able to click a button and tranform my grainy, out-of-focus picture into some kind of bohemian, creative, mini work-of-art was quite appealing.  Since I've started using it, it's really quite addictive and if any of you folks out there want to follow me, my username is 'secondfiddle'.  I'd love to follow you too!


The view from the window of the hotel by Loch Lomond.  Andrew and I went away for the weekend and enjoyed doing nothing in luxury.

This all got me thinking though, is Instagram really a good thing for photography in general?  I mean, it's amazing from the point of view of letting normally photo-inept folks like myself produce something that is almost passable as a decent photo, but at what cost?  There is part of me that worries that apps like these erode the creativity and skills and dedication that lie behind producing an amazing photo without the use of apps like Instagram.  People spend years of their lives learning about photography and cameras, honing their skills to take amazing photographs of the world around them.  Instagram, whilst its main appeal is how easy and user-friendly it is, almost belittles those skills, by making them available to the mass market with the click of a button.


For the first time in about 6 months, I have time to play with my hair!

For example, I've spent years learning to knit.  I can knit reasonably complicated patterns and produce clothes and accessories that could pass for shop-bought items.  I'm proud of my skills with knitting and I like that it's something that not everybody can do, it makes it 'my' hobby.  Obviously I like sharing that hobby with friends and like-minded folks on the internet or in knitting groups, but if everyone could knit, it would remove some of the sense of achievement, of having worked hard and practiced at a skill to the point where not everyone could reproduce what you can do.


The awesome but creepy wallpaper in our hotel room

If someone tomorrow came up with an app for your phone where you could punch a few buttons and produce a fairisle knitted sweater, I'd be slightly irritated.  I'd feel like what was the point in spending all those years learning and practicing, when I could have just downloaded a free app and produced the same result.  I know you could argue that to the trained eye a sweater 'knitted' by an app I'm sure wouldn't look the same as one knitted by hand, just as I'm sure to those who know what they're looking at (i.e. not me), an Instagram photo looks completely different to one taken 'from scratch' using real photography skills.

I know the two aren't mutually exclusive either, I'm sure there are photography buffs out there who also have fun with Instagram and similar phone apps.  You could argue that these apps are just another part of the diverse field of photography, an addition to a varied and diverse range of techniques.  I don't know enough about photography to know if people are bothered by Instagram or find it fun.  I just know that if someone did something similar with knitting, I'd have something to say about it.


Tron was glad to see us when we got home

In the meantime though, I'm enjoying Instagram and I hope you enjoyed the Instagram photos in this post.  I'll be upgrading my phone soon and plan to take far more photos of my life than I do at the moment and I'm looking forward to putting some of those through Instagram and playing around with the results.  I just wanted to share some thoughts on the process as I went.  Now that vet school is over (for the moment at least, don't want to jinx it!) I'm looking forward to writing some more meaty, possibly thought-provoking posts, as well as the usual crafting, thrifting stuff.

P.S. For those who follow my blog through a reader, I've updated the blog to include links to my Pinterest and Instagram.  Just check out the right hand sidebar!

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