Instagram is Saving Photography


My daughter Issie and her friend Kate took the above image with an iPhone and posted it on Instagram while they were out on a run yesterday.

My daughter Ruby posted the one below on holiday in India:


While we were all on holidays they shot a quick portrait of their gran:


If you asked them, none of these girls would say they were interested in photography.

And yet in the past six months their photography has advanced from what was mostly a series of banal self portraits to this.

I think we can thank Instagram –  for the following reasons:

  1. Seeing. They are now looking with a critical eye for opportunities to make exciting images.
  2. Editing. They critically assess the images they make before posting. Only one image of a place or situation is selected, perhaps none if none are warranted.
  3. Technique. Unconsciously, they are looking for light, colour, and composition. They make cropping and framing decisions. The filters that many people deride actually alert them to the possibilities of working with tonal range, colour balance and contrast.

If I try to talk to them about photography their eyes glaze over, but I would be happy to claim any of these images as my own.

A lot of serious hobbyist photographers bash Instagram for the faddishness of its filter effects, and I must say that when I saw some wedding photos that had Instie-like filters applied to them I did cringe a little.

But I do believe that Instie has the potential to improve the photography of those who use it as it leads to more careful, considered and critical image making.

Certainly it has worked that way for my daughters and their friends.

But they haven’t entirely forsaken the selfie…



2 thoughts on “Instagram is Saving Photography

  1. paulatkins

    Interesting thoughts. I too have seen Instagram improve a rank amateur’s work. I am concerned about the ‘whack a filter on it and it will be better’ attitude. But I feel viewers will evolve to recognise a good image and not just enjoy the effects of filters. From this rather good-looking primordial swamp will rise well conceived images from educated careful photographers.


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