Instagram & the Photographic Object

…you take your pristine high-tech photo and damage it, messing up its tonal balance, vignetting it, discoloring it. Why would anyone want to do that? Well, simple novelty, but novelty passes. The filters (like those on Hipstamatic and other photo apps) also compensate for an amateur shutterbug’s spotty craftsmanship, shifting emphasis from the composition and content to the treatment. But the real draw goes deeper than that. Instagram is tapping the sense—a sense that has almost been lost—that a photograph is itself a precious object….

More in Christopher Bonanos, “Instantly OldNew York Magazine (April 13, 2012).

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