I didn’t take photos before I had a smartphone, and I wasn’t a photographer before I got Instagram. I didn’t know where to look, how to frame, or where to gather the light. I was incapable of using a camera.
But through the amazingly simple mechanisms of Instagram, I was able to get software assistance for my shots and human feedback on my choices. Instagram taught me everything. It taught me to care about photos.
And now I do care, and I look at these little low-quality, brown-shifted boxes, and they look so much more boring than the wild visions in my mind.
Instagram trained the eye, surely. I cropped photos on my trip to Turkey this summer just to fit Instagram’s crop size. And then I added some special effect, whether it was a filter or tilt shift.
However, the last few months I’ve grown out of the fancy filters and extra effects; they ruin the naturalness of the picture. Lately, I’ve been posting more actively to Flickr, not out of some smugness for photography but because I had grown tired of reporting spam. I also didn’t feel the same excitement I once had for the app.
I’ll still use Instagram, sure, some days more rapidly than others. But I will keep my eye out for future changes. The company is owned by Facebook after all.