The trendy phenomenon of Instagram cannot be denied. The app was introduced in 2011, quality gaining popularity among iOS gadget owners, and is now available for Android camera phones as well. Instagram is both a mobile photo-sharing app and social network. It is similar to Twitter with followers, but rather than providing real-time text updates, photo updates are provided. The app is used to add filtered layers to photos to alter them, so that an old-school, vintage look is imitated.
Instagram photos quite frequently pop up on Facebook and Twitter feeds. Casual users find the quality of these discolored, vintage-like photos with black film backdrops quite dubious. Yet, the app seems to be crazily popular amongst the Instagram app users and here’s why.
Low-Fi Photo Critics
The truth is not everyone thinks this app has worth. For instance, in a Facebook poll comprising of 2000 people, Instagram photos cropping through their Facebook feeds were ranked by respondents among annoying photos.
The Instagram app was dubbed as too “gimmicky” by the participants of the Facebook poll and the photographic effects produced by the app were deemed unnecessary. The app has also been criticized by photography professionals like Oliver Du Tré. He said that using the Instagram app was bad artistic practice and unimaginative. For example, different degrees of color adjustments or lighting are required by different areas of a photo but the same adjustments are applied by Instagram to all photos.
Originally, photography purists made a lot of complaints when the app debuted because the original data of an image would be lost after a filter was applied. However, that problem has been eliminated; now original, unfiltered photos can be saved by default.
Bridging the Gap
Taking and sharing photos has become easy for consumers since cheap camera-equipped mobile phones can be found everywhere. Thus, the biggest thing that makes Instagram so attractive is actually its casual simplicity. Using a mobile phone camera is easy and quick, but it has limitations. While less creativity and effort is required when using a mobile phone camera to take photos, but it does not have an adjustable lens that can be tweaked or an aperture or shutter that can be controlled.
Apparently, whenever Instagram users see something that is worth shooting and get an idea to adorn it, it makes them more thoughtful. Then again, Instagram users do not have an art or intention in mind when approaching their subjects. At times, they simply take quick, fast pictures and later decide to modify them using Instagram.
Moving on to the key reason why Instagram users find this app so attractive. Instagram apparently adds inexpressible appeal to even the most earthly pictures. Instagram allows users to take pictures of objects that they find aesthetically pleasing, even if they might be mundane. Instagram allows them to seek beauty in the platitudinous.
Photos that are altered using Instagram seem to have a strong hold on the imagination of some people. A sense of nostalgia, of different eras, or of the good old days, is incited by the vintage appearance and feel of these photos.
Furthermore, those who view Instagram pictures are taken farther away from reality, depending on the heaviness of their blur and filter. Instagram pictures cannot be easily interpreted because they tend to have an abstract appeal, and this is the reason viewers find them so powerful. When trying to interpret Instagram pictures, viewers escape to whatever experiences, feelings, and memories are being evoked by them.
Status Updates: Photos vs. Words
When communicating in words is not easy, sometimes the task is made easier by photos. This is especially true when users are running out of characters on Twitter, or they cannot express themselves fully on Facebook. At times, showing something is better than typing it and more of an impact can be made this way. Thus, a photo that has been transformed using Instagram heightens the emotional impact. These beautiful images promote positive emotions.
According to the CEO of Instagram, and as the app’s name suggests, the idea based on which this app was envisioned, was to transform photos to instant telegrams of sorts. Instagram gave people a new way of communicating. While people still have mixed feelings about Instagram, nonetheless, it does not seem that this trend will abate any time soon.