Ever since I take most of my photo on film, developing and scanning my own films included, I felt that this might be interesting to other people as analog photography is quite a trend nowadays. So I thought about additionally sharing these photos on the currently very popular service Instagram. There has been a lot of buzz about this picture sharing platform and I just thought “Why not?”
Let me share my thoughts and experiences with you after a year on Instagram.
After 10 years being active on flickr, uploading daily, learning a lot of things there and even finding true friends through flickr I still consider it the best platform for sharing photos. My home platform so to say.
flickr has been around for 13 years now and has reinvented itself multiple times, it has been sold and sold again, while the basic purpose is still the same: publicly sharing photos with some kind of social community wrapped around the central theme of photography. There are countless groups and discussion forums and of course your “friends” which today would be called followers or “people you follow”. Most of the people on flickr are more or less serious but mostly very passionate photographers. There is little almost no spam and still many active members. The feedback culture has changed a lot during the years and it’s not very useful anymore – you will mostly get flattering comments and “likes” but no constructive feedback or helpful criticism on your photos.
Instagram on the other hand has quite a different and strange culture: commenting on photos is very rare but “likes” are great. People will just send hearts to every photo that manages to catch their attention for more than 1/60 seconds.
At the same time many people follow my account for maybe a day or only a few hours and then un-follow me again. I consider this like spam. They probably just want me to follow them back and if that doesn’t happen they are not interested any more. Same goes for companies that have their own Instagram account – this is a very annoying way of marketing.
You can upload photos to Instagram only from your smart phone. There is no web interface or other apps which will automatically lead to where Instagram is now: people upload insane numbers of photos wherever they go. There is an incredibly high volume of pictures going through Instagram. You’ll see crazy amounts of selfies, people going to the gym, having drinks and great food or just a good time in the sunshine. I felt like Instagram is not for photographers, it’s for posers. So the average quality of photos is rather poor, even if the app offers a lot of filters to “improve” your photos.
Also I found that content gets stolen over and over – or as they put it on Instagram: “featured”. There are many users who only repost photos that are popular in order to gain more popularity for themselves. They did not take the photos themselves and they probably would not even be able to take any great shot. But it’s exactly these accounts that get the most attention because they distribute a curated small part of all the junk that gets uploaded every second.
So sharing my analog photos – or any high quality images – on Instagram does not really make sense at first. The resolution of the uploaded pictures is too small to see any details let alone the grain that makes analog photos so charming. The audience is mostly not what I consider passionate photographers but self-marketing people of all sorts. Which you can use just as well in order to promote your photos if you feel like it. But in my opinion they will not get valued as much as on other sharing platforms and there is a high risk that someone else will steal your photo on Instagram and take credit for it.
Instagram is very addictive anyway. It’s fast and it’s playful and you will always get rapid feedback. So I will still share my photos there in the future but I will also keep a critical eye onto which direction the platform and the community develops. If I feel like it’s all too trashy there I will leave the platform lighthearted while I still have my safe home: flickr.
Meanwhile you’ll find me at https://instagram.com/gatoxgatoxgato/