Is Instagram And Social Media Destroying Photography Today?

Masses of people use their smart phones and social media application every day to capture moments in time. Slap on a filters and use  a few editing tools and images are ready to be shared with the world. Now, with applications like Instagram, photography has become the actual medium of social communication.

Social Media forums like Instagram, which Facebook bid one billion dollars for in 2012, make the tools available for users that manipulate the stories the pictures capture. We can lazily use filters and effects to exacerbate features in images or blind our followers to see things in a certain way. Should it be this easy, to create art?

It seems as though photography, as an art form, has shifted back to its days when photography was considered too literal a process to render dreams and imaginative thinking.

Let’s go back 180 years.


The 1853 meeting of the Photographic Society of London established that photography was too literal a process to elevate the imagination, which is at the core of artistry and the creative process. The underlying understanding of art as a simple way to capture a moment of type, a recording device if you will, has not completely died in recent times.

During the 1960s and 70s, the concept of art photography emerged as a phrase that conceptualized the idea that photography could capture more than just places and people in time; photography could go beyond the surface area.

Enter: galleries and photography auctions, which showcase million-dollar photographs in exhibitions. For example, the methods involved behind composing a portrait shaped photography as an art form.

Today, the sharing networks and platforms for people of all photography levels and skills has made it easy to become a photography guru. Climb to 800 likes on Instagram,  even 1,000-and you’ve created an indispensable following!

Depending on your follower population and what hashtags you mantel to your image, you could be on your way to living (modestly) off of your “work”.

Intentionally or unintentionally, social media users have merged into the debacle surrounding art photography, and have flooded the World Wide Web with thousands and thousands of homogenous photographs- with the same filters and edge borders.

Photography as an art form.

Let’s rein this in a bit- photography as an art form has not died. The art connoisseurs of the world are in no way losing mental space to the stars of the world who have a huge following on Instagram.

As print and print photography as an industry is dying, there is still market space for digital photography galleries (including Flickr), photographers for events and companies, art photography for house decorating and furnishings, etc.

In some sense, an argument could be made about the value in leveraging Instagram to filter for good photography, whether by policy or by a better electorate than people mindlessly clicking “like” for all of their friends and family alike.


Many professional photographers will tell you that the secret to good photography is editing. The World Wide Web and the vast array of software and editing tools have made editing an enormous component of the art of photography.

It means photographs can be played with; there are ways to enhance and manipulate images to a much more advanced digital level than Instagram or Facebook can provide. Post-production can enhance these stories, and bring certain features to life to produce breath-taking results.

Each moment is distinct, too, that being said. Photography can still be a very literal way to capture a moment in time, in reference to the understanding of the camera and its results as a “recording device.”

We can still share our five-year-olds in pajamas making their first steps across the kitchen floor, hair in all directions, and the family photographs no one ever wants to see on their Christmas card, braces intact.

Memories are still momentous in their raw, unfiltered essence and those stories often say more and stir more energy in people because the character of the moment was never flattened by a brush-up tool or Sepia filter.

We must choose to celebrate the moments when photography is gleaned as art form, and the intention is not to cover up and create something for the masses, but the intention is to capture something that holds an intricate memory- and tells the story vividly without hidden agendas.

Photography and its sinuosity is timeless. Utilize Instagram images to communicate with friends and family, and keep people updated on your life.

However, it goes without saying that the mastery of photography is left in the hands of the creator, and photography as an art form cannot be compared to the editing work done by users on social media, including Instagram.

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