As a photo enthusiast, I’ve been following Instagram since its inception last October. In case you’ve been living in a cave, Instagram is a photo manipulation program (currently available only as an Apple application, to my Android-ownership chagrin, although thankfully it runs on my iTouch, too) that allows users to easily apply attractive vintage filters to their photos, i.e. become instant professional photographers. The application has had stunning success, currently having garnered seven million users worldwide and just recently achieving a breakthrough 150 million shared photos. Having burst onto the scene only last October, these metrics are astounding!
It’s not hard to see why Instagram has become so popular– Its instant ability to easily create whimsical effects on photos have inspired seven million people to visually impart their lives with their friends, networks and the rest of the world. Underneath its key functions, Instagram acts as its own social network too, filtering in hundreds of thousands of photos real-time through its platform and allowing its users to easily distribute their Instagram-ed photos through other social media channels. Social media is not just about the ever-popular Facebook, Twitter or Youtube – people around the world are now sharing and connecting through pretty photos.
Friends ask me all the time if I feel disconcerted by Instagram as a photographer, whether I feel as if the app dilutes the craft of photography with its ability to transform any photo with a touch of a button. My answer is of course not—art is always meant to be shared, and mediums like Instagram help to facilitate this movement.