The Instagram Generation

I’d never really gotten into Instagram until recently. I actually preferred using Hipstamatic in my iPhone days for that dose of old school style shot. The whole social network thing of Instagram was actually what I thought put me off. Now, having used it for the last week or so I realise it’s something very different altogether.

Let me start of by saying, I like the product Instagram. I like that style of photography, I have an actual film Holga, Holga digital lenses and own a lensbaby so the stuff Instagram tries to mimic I’ve dabbled with the inspiration for these styles in proper photography and it’s a side of photography I really enjoy.

As I said at the start, I always felt it was the social network side of Instagram that put me off, yet another thing to keep up with along with Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Flickr and whatever else is popular this week. I’m a long term Flickr user, I have a Facebook page for my photography, and did I really need another social outlet?

In the end, I don’t so much as find myself using Instagram to make connections but as a tool to output to other social networks thanks to its Flickr, Facebook and Twitter connections. It does Tumblr too but I’ve never really got Tumblr, what it’s about or how to use it properly. Used in this fashion, I quite like Instagram.

Typically though, I’m downloading some of my proper photographic shots in smaller sizes to Dropbox and hauling these into Instagram to play with and post up altered versions of proper photographic DSLR shots. It’s maybe not the way everybody likes to use it but it works for me. I do take the occasional shot with the phone camera, the Samsung Galaxy S3 has an excellent camera but it’s not something I do a lot.

So, shall we get to the real problem with Instagram?

In as such as it’s a mobile app, it runs on phones. Phones we will usually have with us at all times. Phones equipped with a camera ready to snap everything and anything.

And there it is.

That’s the reason why Instagram is flooded with pictures of Starbucks coffee, crisp bags, all day breakfasts, etc… So you’ve gone into one of a million cloned coffee shops that are all the rage in the UK just now, bought an overpriced mug of hot stuff, what in that chain of events makes you think, “Oh, I’ll take a pic of that, make it look vintage and show it to the world?” Seriously, who do you actually think cares you’ve bought a coffee or are eating a packet of Walkers cheese and onion? There’s little or no photographic merit in these things, no matter how many filters and borders you apply. It’s the equivalent of sending a Tweet such as “Eating my dinner lol” and we all know how uncool that is, right kids?

Instagram encourages lazy photography, it’s giving a false impression that anything can look “arty” with a filter applied and WTF is this obsession with Instagramming food and drink? Is it because people sit in these places trying to look cool with their Smartphone in hand and feel the need to look like they are doing something interesting?

A crap photograph will always be a crap photograph. You could Instagram a crap pic to death, it’ll still be an unpolished turd once you’ve finished with it. Start with a decent pic and then see what you can get, I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the results and who want’s a photo feed full of trips to Starbucks to remember in a few years time?

I’d love it if Instagram had a coffee detection alogorithm.

“It looks like you’re trying to upload a picture of your coffee, are you sure you want to do this?”


“Are you really sure, you’ve uploaded 30 similar pics this month and all your Facebook mates are beginning to think you’re a bit of a prick?”


“Well, don’t blame me if you’ve got no friends to import into the next big social network…”

Think once, think twice, think, don’t Instagram your fucking coffee!


6 responses

  1. mostlymonochrome

    So true, Facebook is full of useless pictures of food and drink.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:17 pm

  2. Hilariously well stated! I do believe you made my day ’cause I’m smiling unceasingly.

    So thanks! I needed that.

    But here’s my true confession: Last night I actually made the time to check out more than one-hundred vintage candy wrappers. Just because. Not for any other reason than that I came across this really interesting site and just couldn’t resist. And some of the wrappers were… gasp… duplicates.

    So go figure. I don’t know what came over me to do that, but I did it. I did the unthinkable.

    Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea culpa.

    August 28, 2012 at 10:44 pm

  3. Reader

    The thing is who are you to tell anybody what they can and can’t photograph. Do people want to see bunches of starts or the moon every day, yet there they are. Each to their own. The Internet is full of big moon pictures that are about as exciting as your proverbial coffee cup.

    August 29, 2012 at 8:11 am

    • I’d have had more respect if you’d have the balls to include your real identity in that reply. As it stands your just a faceless arse who photographs coffee…

      Yeah, each to their own but seriously, coffee… moon… one of those is awesome the other is mundane. Instagram a mundane pic and it’s an Instagrammed mundane pic.

      I suggest if you don’t like my “own” then you stop looking at my stuff or reading my opinions, or better still, why not identify yourself and lets have a proper discussion about it?

      I don’t claim to tell anyone what they can and can’t photograph, I can’t stand seascape pics bit I don’t have a problem with that as it’s proper photography, something somebody has had to work at to get the result, it’s not my bag but I respect those who do it as it takes a bit of thought and dedication to do, photographing coffee with your phone on the other hand does not.

      August 29, 2012 at 8:27 am

  4. Reader

    OK, i’m off – a reader lost.

    Shame really as your blog was good at one point and you clearly are a good photographer. I would say the day you sent out that post slating another photographer. All your subscribers got a copy in their inbox yet you did not have the balls to keep it on the site!

    That was about the time things took a turn for the worse in my book . Yes I’m allowed opinion as well – this site is public and the message ended up in my inbox.

    Anyway, best of luck with your future endeavors. I wish you every success.

    August 29, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    • Well, that post quite simply was a mistake. I’m more than aware every subscriber got a copy of that but rather than compound what I decided to be an error of judgement I removed the post which is surely better than keeping it going, no? Everyone has done things in the heat of the moment which is times of clarity they wish they hadn’t, at least I published that with my name on it, anyone who saw it could have commented and I would have responded, you hide behind the typical web anonymity.

      However, thank you for the comments on my photographic ability and thanks for your”best of luck” too. Feel free to contact me if you ever want to discuss person to person rather than on here.

      August 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm

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