Is Instagram Bad for Photography?

How do we share photographs with nuance and detail now. It’s not the normal and it’s changing photography. Pictures are too small, I think composition and more generally style, is becoming increasingly driven around showing impact in a 2 inch square image - detail is lost, even on the best high resolution displays.

Photos I love are often wasted on Instagram, small expressions, people that would be interesting even in a 5” x 7” print, let alone a 20” x 16” are barely visible specs, a few millimetres across.

I am guilty of cropping to focus on a subject to the exclusion of the environment - quick impact has overtaken careful enjoyment. High contrast over gradual transitions, bright colours over realistic tones, full size subjects over careful placement in an environment.

We are doomed to staring briefly at what amounts to contact sheets. Now there’s an idea - Instagram actually works well to pick out photos for a series…

Of course the irony is amusing, despite shrinking pictures the constant increase in megapixels has slowed somewhat, but the battle over sensor size continues at full pace.

Instagram is bad for the art of photography. I am guilty too as a participant.

So how do we battle this.

I often go to the websites of photographers I follow on Instagram, to enjoy their pictures full screen on a big monitor, I have sometimes left comments that they are so much better bigger. More and more photographers who don’t make their living from photography are producing wonderful online portfolios.

I love visiting photography exhibitions a few times a year - it encourages me to print more - not that monitor viewing is bad - it’s a bit like a slide on a light box in fact, but prints are often better.

Photography is cheap per click compared to the film days. Print more.

Using Format