What Instagram Taught Me April 25, 2012

Well, actually it’s more One of the thing Instagram taught me, there are many lessons in Instagram short history (one of them being How to make a billion bucks in two years).
Here, I’m focusing on a photography lesson.

Well, actually it’s more a reminder than a lesson.
The acurate title would then be What Photography Lesson Instagram Reminded Me.
But it’s less catchy.

So. This lesson ?
Polaroid® was right.
(And Hasselblad before that. And Rollei before that)

I love Polaroids. I managed to document the last 15 years of my life with approximatively 2 000 of them. I wait for a less beta feeling of The Impossible Project like the rebirth of Steve Jobs, and I cherish my collection like my second nipple.
Most of us love Polaroids. And we already know why we love them :

  • instant unique moments,
  • carefully curated images,
  • in a square aspect ratio.

And that’s exactly what Instagram recreated. Adding the sharing feature was not what made a killer product out of it ; it’s handy at best. I’d love Instagram the same if all it did was saving the pictures on my phone, or upload them to Flickr.

Instant, Curated, Square.

So, how will I use this reknewed knowledge, then ?
Well, I will apply it to the output stream of my DSLR.
Each event I cover with it generates a few hundreds pictures, painfully trimed to a few dozens, hastily and mecanically Lightroomed, before being fed to the audience.
Now, I shall pick a few ones, enhanced them in any way I please (including adding filters if I feel like it), crop them to a perfect square, and, finally, delight the viewers (or not, but I don’t care as long as I’m satisfied).

Same lesson goes for the display of the pictures.
Today, I present them via a private website, nicely ordered by events, each nicely ordered in a grid…
The objective is much simpler: a constant feed of captioned pictures, one after the other, in the very same way Instagram presents them.

Instant, Curated, Square.