Instagram has "jumped the shark"

Of course it has, because I opened an account and am creating my very own square "masterpieces" of previously shot images on my cell phone.  I predict it will be a has-been within 6 months, heh.

For anyone not in the know, I actually possess a BA in Photography -- under the umbrella of my alma mater's Communications department and my minor was in Sociology with a heavy dose of Cultural Anthropology coursework, so my bent has always been towards more of a photojournalism or environmental portraiture style of capturing images on film...er...or on memory card, nowadays.

For a while I was doing some candid portraiture work, primarily weddings.  I was just starting to see an uptick in my business about a year after I got it off the ground.  Then the economy really tanked and the number of calls and e-mails I received exponentially dwindled to nothing.  The fall of the economy only tells part of the story--now everyone has a friend or relative with a "fancy," high megapixel camera (I once had a guy tell me that he and his bride-to-be couldn't hire me for their wedding because my professional grade camera had fewer megapixels than their point-n-shoot camera...fer realz.  Nevermind the fact that my lenses each cost more than his point-n-shoot and the lens is FAR more important than the # of megapixels in the final-product equation), so paid pros started falling by the wayside.  It started with photographers simply selling the digital files outright to be able to offer a cheaper product -- but a product that took creative control of the final product out of their hands.  It also removed the ability to work as an artisan paid appropriately for his/her skill, eye, and training.  Those thousands of dollars invested in college tuition, equipment (2 of everything to guarantee no technical difficulties mid-wedding), insurance, marketing...none of that comes for free.  I've talked to a couple of self-employed photographers who shuttered their own businesses in recent years.  And a friend of mine recently left the studio she'd worked at for years (in their front office) -- their business was rapidly dwindling after decades in business.  I had worked in their lab for a couple of years during college.  Back in the mid-90s business was booming, but that was when film was still king.

Nowadays the "Photography" I do essentially amounts to funnin' with my cell phone.  I really can't be bothered to drag my beefy DSLR around.  Sure, quality suffers, I lose control over exposure and depth-of-field, and I can't make 20x30 enlargments, even with 8 megapixels (I could do this with my 6.3 megapixel Canon 10D), but I have the ease of uploading everything to iPhoto and/or Facebook and sharing with friends and family digitally.  This is so much more ideal than print photography, because everyone is so far-flung nowadays.

The biggest downside with cell phone photography is the inability to do much post-processing.  I miss the creativity of the darkroom, even if the darkroom is simply Photoshop.  This is where programs like Instagram come in.  I've tried similar apps, but I really never found them to yield results I liked as well.  And I really like the forced square format.  My eye has always liked the uniformity of square.  I grew up during the Polaroid era, so casual snapshot documentation of every event was confined to that little square.  It's a throwback that I'm really happy to see returning.

Rapid in Grand Rapids, MI
Anyhow, last night's insomnia yielded some fun results.  I did a few more this AM after going back through my iPhone's camera roll and finding more gems that struck me as shots that could be extra cool with some tweaking:
Fast rolling on Grand Rapids, MI cobblestone

Zoomy Hubby
Duck Lake State Park, MI

Gravel road roller
Hubby kickin' ass on his now retired "CX" bike
Lake Tahoe
My first Instagram "masterpiece"
I think this might be my favorite...


  1. I was happy to see you joined instagram! I remember tips you gave me when I first started playing around with my DSLR. :)

    I actually like instagram better than facebook these days. I hope it doesn't go away soon like you predict. :)

  2. I love that I can make bland cell phone photos look like what I'd do in a darkroom or with Photoshop -- but in a fraction of the time and painlessly easy to share. It's so much fun and it makes me want to take more photos of cool things when I'm out and about.