Instagram is killing photojournalism
IN Instagram, the Devil, and You, phtographer Kenneth Jarecke muses on Instagram. The Associated Press has been experimenting with Instagram. We get them in a feed. The file contains not one memorable photo of the US election. The images are all about the photographer saying “I was there. I took this. Look how close I got to the action.” It’s enthusiastic, fan-based photography.
Jarecke nailed it:
When a photojournalist uses Instagram, the devil smiles. He keeps it handy, in the top drawer of his toolbox, sitting right next to true love. Like most of his tricks, it promises the user fame, fortune and the admiration of one’s betters. Despite knowing this to be a lie, photographers, even the good ones, often succumb to the temptation…
To be fair, Instagram does deliver a hollow sort of fame. Not the kind of Gene Smith, ready to take a beating in the name of truth, type of fame. More like the 7,200 people saw what I had for lunch and that’ll keep me feeling special until dinner, type of fame…
I’ve looked through the images made of Hurricane Sandy and I’m stunned by the lack of excellence…
Maybe the editors were too busy culling images submitted by their readers. Really, I gotta say it’s sad to see the New York Times and the Washington Post begging for user generated, ahem, free content. (This just in.. A tree fell in Brooklyn!) Where’s your sense of dignity people? These are trying times and here you are stealing desperately needed content from your local FOX affiliate…
We don’t need more than one picture of a floating car, instead we got dozens. We don’t need to see point pictures, as if you’re documenting a crime scene or making pictures for an insurance company.
All we need is people.
As for you Instagramers, twenty years from now you’ll be sorry…Instead of having a body of work to look back on, you’ll have a sad little collection of noisy digital files that were disposable when you made them, instantly forgotten by your followers (after they gave you a thumbs up), and now totally worthless.
You’ll wish you’d have made those images on a Pentax K1000 and Tri-X (at the very least or most depending on your age and perspective), but the times you failed to record properly will be long gone.
But don’t listen to me, listen to all your Insta-friends. They love you.
A great photograph epitomises the moment. Has a hastily taken one ever done that..?
See here for evidence.
Lead photo: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II waits for a First Capital Connect train to depart from Kings Cross Station in London, from where she travelled by scheduled service to Kings Lynn in Norfolk. She will later travel onto Sandringham where she will spend Christmas with her family. Picture date: Thursday, December 17, 2009. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire. Rousseau was photographer of the year at the British Press Awards 2009.