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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Amazing lost series of images from Richard Avedon.

Not really. It’s an image taken by a one Mr. policromados using flavor of the month Instagram and one of its many effects (in this case, a combination of Tiltshift-Retro-Matic magic). BUT YOU THOUGHT IT WAS. Screw the friendly, clean look of Web 2.0, the service and its special cousin Hipstamatic have made it possible for anyone to take a picture of daily life and make it look (insert dramatic adjective of your choice). In other words, even Snookie could shoot like Anna-Lou Leibovitz. These two apps and the sure to follow spinoffs have democratized the art act of photography in a way that Polaroid cameras (and then this generation’s Nikon Coolpix et al.), haven’t.

While those two developments made the act of shooting images easier, you were out of luck when it came to artistic style. Sure, no camera can make up for a lack of composition, but now, a guy you never heard of somewhere on vacation takes shots with some of these filters, and they rival professional stuff you’d see in magazines not too long ago. Coming full-circle meta, but many of the filters found in both services replicate the washed-out effect that was a limitation of the original Polaroid camera and film. Art never entered into it because those do it yourself cameras were all consumers had a choice of.

These apps now have changed the photography dynamic in another way as they instantly let you share the final product with a larger community. Both differ in certain regards, but Instagram is doing it right by connecting its users’ collective output together in one large community.* Forget point and shoot, it’s now: shoot, share, rate and be rated.

That said, it’s also not about the technology, but the eye behind it. Real Professional photographers using these services produce even more amazing shots too. That’s why I’d take the eye of a pro over the non-pro. Leibovitz could shoot with a disposable camera from CVS and I wouldn’t care – it’s Leibovitz.

Until they released Leibovitz CVS in the next Instagram filter update of course.

*Although not creating an area outside a smart phone’s app space where images can live – say on their website – needs to be rethought.

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