With a user population nearing 100 million — including our President — Instagram is growing at speeds that have already surpassed that of LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr and even Facebook. (And, of course, Facebook took note of that and purchased the app, so let’s hope it doesn’t change too much).
Share Photos to Communicate
Amazingly, 58 photos are uploaded every second using Instagram.
It appeals to those who love photos, travel, cooking, eating, parenting, taking self-portraits, concerts, nature, what’s going on in the world…you see where this is going.
Pretty much anyone can reap the benefits of becoming an Instagram user. I pushed it onto two of my clients last week during a session for their child, and by the end, the child’s father was posting behind-the-scenes images.
Of course, it’s really not important to publish photos of new fingernail polish for the world to see. From a philosophical standpoint, however, Instagram is making its mark in history because the stream of real-time photo sharing is changing the way we communicate, almost having a conversation without saying anything.
For photographers, the essence of growing your vision is to allow your photos to speak. Instagram users are doing that every day.
I recently lost some photography gear stolen when my car window was bashed in.
It was a considerable loss and, without going into detail, it made me realize something significant about photography, its current trends, how much value we place on our gear, and what is considered to be “great work” by the vast majority.
My advice: simplify. (Of course, try to avoid having your gear stolen in the first place.)
Among the stolen gear: my 15mm f/2.8, 105mm f/2.8 macro, 24mm f/1.8, and 85mm f/1.4 Nikkor. Honestly, I rarely used the 85mm; I have 2 manual (vintage) 135mm f/2.0 lenses that I found on eBay for $50, and I prefer their image quality over that of the 85mm. I feel that spending $1,600 on the “pro-grade” lens was a waste (sorry, Nikon). The other three lenses I rotated 90 perent of the time, and the 15mm was my wedding go-to.
However, switching three lenses around was a pain in the you-know-what. Amazingly, I found a lens that combines those three into one — and only cost $250 — the glorious Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 macro. So now I have a whopping two lenses in my bag, the 18-50mm and my beloved 35mm f/1.4, which was safely at home on my desk when the thievery occurred. Oh, and my camera phone.
Simplifying my gear got me thinking about Instagram users, who photograph what they love with what they have.
Use What You Have
With camera phones as our new tool for making art, anything is possible.
I’m pretty sure the day will come when DSLR cameras can connect to the Internet and upload directly from a session. But until then…I thank Instagram for bringing us all back down to earth, serving as a reminder that perfecting, smoothing and cloning only take away from the realness of a scene or an individual. While those things serve a different purpose, to be one with a moment and get to share that feeling with the world is a gift.
Yes, I just got sentimental over a phone app.
Find me on Instagram: escapetolight