Use Instagram, don’t abuse it

Katie O'Brien

It seems like everybody is posting artsy pictures of random, everyday things through Instagram, a free photo sharing and editing application for smartphones. Contrary to popular belief, applying filters like “Toaster” or “Inkwell” do not turn the picture of your cat into an award-winning, National Geographic shot of a Bengal tiger.

Sure, the photos look cool after they are freshly Instagrammed, however, these kinds of shots typically do not contain the aspects of photography that professional photographers push for, such as aperture, composition and subject matter.

Instagram allows its users to apply filters to their photos, making them heavily contrasted, overexposed or just downright “artsy.” The application also gives you the option of adding borders or adjusting the contrast levels. However, “Instagramming” photos makes them look about as legitimate as “Piknik-ed” photos.

It is beyond frustrating for me to see photos on Facebook, which has now acquired Instagram for $1 billion, of black and white pictures of tequila shots, when I know how hard professional photographers work to capture some of the most beautiful visual art out there. This new convergence of Facebook and Instagram will probably only increase the number of Instagrammed photos popping up on my newsfeed.

Although it may sound like it, I’m not completely against Instagram, I’m just completely against the way people are currently using it. My own collection of Instagram photos contains a variety of shots, portrait and landscape, along with meaningful things that I wanted to capture in a new way.

Instagram has the potential to be an outlet for users to express themselves visually while sharing photos that will inspire others. Shooting photos with integrity and with a little more thought might help kickstart the application’s success as a creative outlet.

Even I have been sucked into this mobile photography craze. I use it mainly because the photos can be shared easily to other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Tumblr. But ideally, Instagram users would capture pieces of art that express their creativity, not just random objects that might look cool in sepia.