Not Everyone Shoots for the Art of It

So while traditional photographers may be stuck in the debate over whether sites like Flickr, etc contribute anything meaningful to the art of photography, the point is completely missed – most people don’t care. Photos are just a way to share their lives, they do not do it for the art, the idea doesn’t even enter their mind. It’s just a way to communicate.

Taylor Davidson wrote this back in 2007. A time in which Instagram didn't even exist, at least not until 3 years later and yet, it's fair to state that this very view is fitting to a lot of what we currently come across on Instagram more than Flickr. For the vast majority of Instagram users, the app is about people sharing their lives and not necessarily engaging or wanting to approach photography as a profession or hobby.

I'm well aware that not everyone who shares a photo on Instagram views the service in the same light. Some are more obsessed with the technical aspects of the image production than others. For example I would never upload a photograph that I don't feel strongly about and that was captured under dreadful lighting conditions regardless of how significant the setting or person may be. Other people could care less and it's not to say they're utilizing the service incorrectly, it's simply that for them the service is all about communicating something that transpired regardless of whether it's been presented in a aesthetically pleasing way.

Take a look at the Popular Page on Instagram. One would expect to be greeted with outstanding, dynamic and inspiring work but instead you're inundated with mediocre, uninteresting and amateurish photos. There's more people sharing these type of images and getting Featured while the small subset of individuals who put in the hard work that goes into creating stories are completely disregarded and don't get the recognition for their capacity to capture beauty in life that goes far beyond foolish selfies.

I personally avoid the Popular Page for this very reason and instead concentrate on finding, engaging and sometimes meeting up with these talented individuals.

At the end of the day I think any tool that forces us to give more thought to visual design and allows us to share our interpretation of the world is a valuable tool. My approach towards Instagram is all about photography and I see it as an extension to what I shoot with my DSLR. I'm "communicating something" just like all the 130 million users on the service and it just so happens to be that we all do it differently and that's the important element to keep in mind.