I’ll admit a part of me gets elated in reading observation pieces like this because it brings forth this very impression that I’m sure many people have but very few people talk about. It’s the numbers game on Instagram. It’s no mystery that the audience you have or may not have determines largely the type and amount of amazing opportunities that could come your way but what’s always bothered me about these fortunate breaks is that very rarely due they match up with the quality of work you would expect to see from someone who’s been a recipient of one.
The 2 biggest statements that stand out for me in the article are these which hopefully makes my point a bit clearer:
(Instagram Following) has created a culture in which photographers and athletes are valued by the number of followers they have rather than their aesthetic or skill.
Paul Zizka (photographer) worries about what the trend does to creativity. “Why is everybody coming here and shooting the exact same trophy shots? Ninety-nine percent of the images come from the same ten locations.”
Don't get me wrong, this is not necessarily always the case but often times the impression I tend to get is that your skills, your aeathetic taste, and your sound creative judgement are no longer the attributes that can get you a job but instead, the amount of Followers you have and everything else takes the backseat. It's as if to say that your work could be complete crap and have no relation to what you're being hired for but as long as you Follower count is high enough, you're a shoe in. What does that say about the countless other photographers who produce much more compelling work but who don't have as high enough Follower count? That's my issue.
I strongly believe brands should focus more on hiring photographers or Influencers based on the value and fresh creative perspective they can add to a the campaign regardless of what they Follower count is because to do otherwise is to undermine everyone else who is creating much more persuasive work. We'll see what happens.
And for the life of me, I wish photographers who are hired for these Instagram travel campaigns would focus more on capturing photographs that extend far beyond what we would typically see in a postcard or the countless other ones everyone else has shared on Instagram. You're just adding to the mix and not contributing anything worth remembering.