Instagram and photo sharing. ABC No Rio. Lower East Side, New York City.
Are any of you on Instagram? I finally broke down and started using Instagram a few days ago (before the big news yesterday) and I have to say I am really into it. My name there is newyorklens. It reminds me a lot of when I first started using Tumblr actually which was my very first foray into the world of photo sharing!
I have read so many rants against Instagram that cover all sorts of sociological, aesthetic and technological concerns regarding either the propensity for sharing and oversharing as well as dislike of the filters on Instagram.
I find Instagram freeing to some extent. As someone who has very little money and has had to work with the limitations of my own (lack of) fabulous camera equipment over the past few years, I have to say that I can understand the appeal of phone photography in general. I have never been a person to turn my nose up at phone photography because I understand that this is a way for people to express themselves with the tool(s) they have available. I even know photographers who own other cameras but choose to focus on phone photography because they love the challenge and immediate quality of it.
Is there perceived mediocrity with phone photography (and on Instagram and other photo sharing sites/apps)? Of course. But there is perceived mediocrity in the field of regular photography where “real” cameras are utilized (real in quotes for obvious reasons related to the context of this post) and on all of the photo-sharing sites and services that currently exist.
Something that I enjoy about Instagram is that I get to share the quirkier things I see in my everyday travels that may or may not end up in my traditional photography. This photo for example was taken quickly yesterday while on the way back to my apartment which is nearby. It’s one of my favorite facades on the Lower East Side and I loved how the sunlight was illuminating it.
Is this photo any less than a photo I may have taken with my regular camera? What if I post-processed a traditional digital photo to look exactly like this (I happen to actually love the effect). Would that make it anymore worthwhile to the people who make protestations about the filters used in phone photography?
I won’t be posting my Instagram photos all that much because I enjoy the process of revealing them on Instagram and interacting with them there and later on Flickr where I end up sharing them (my folder of my recent Instagram photos is here: New York City Instagram Photos) but I wanted to open up a discourse regarding the broader implications of mobile photo sharing.
For reference, ABC No Rio is a collectively-run center for art and activism on the Lower East Side. It was founded in 1980 by artists committed to political and social engagement with the goal to facilitate cross-pollination between artists and activists.
If you didn’t see my initial contest entry post for the current Artists Wanted photography contest, you can still help me out by going to my contest entry page and clicking collect me
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