Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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Clive Thompson, who I usually really dig, has an unexpected (for me at least) take on Instagram. He likes it (which I also do), but specifically he thinks the filters encourage people to look at things with a more critical/artistic eye. Makes me think about a few things: 1) I think Thompson’s point is true of photography generally. When people have a camera they look at everything as a possible photo and that changes the way things look. 2) It makes me think of Daniel Kahneman’s research around remembering self versus experiencing self and how Instagram encourages optimization around memory instead of experience and 3) My favorite comment about Instagram was from someone (can’t remember whom), who said that the app makes everyone seem like they’re living in this weird depressed state. I agree.

With all that said, I do like Instagram … So take it all with a grain of salt.

January 9, 2012 // This post is about: , , ,


  • Leland Maschmeyer says:

    If you’re curious about Clive’s take. You should read about John Ruskin (particularly “The Elements of Drawing”) and his life mission to teach everyone how to draw. The book is practical and eloquent. Drawing, for Ruskin, was a predigital Instagram. It tought people to see rather than look.

  • Maninder Bali says:

    read these essays (http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2011/05/14/the-faux-vintage-photo-full-essay-parts-i-ii-and-iii/) and this phrase kinda stuck with me. NOSTALGIA FOR THE PRESENT.

    Like Instagram was just the opposite of this depressed state – a way to add some charm and value to our mundane everyday.

  • Rob Day says:

    Full disclosure, I have Android so I have not been an “instantgramer” However, with that said, I get to sit back and watch the social flurry of everyone else’s use with a somewhat objective eye. My main thought relative to your post is that anything that ‘institutionalizes’ ‘makes a process for’ ‘factory-izes???’ making art actually makes the product not art. At worse – I think it undermines the art itself.

    Having everyone click a button to make a pic sepia or b/w does not add charm in my opinion. I feel is disingenuous and forced. Notwithstanding these thoughts in regards to art etc. I think it is a fun ‘toy’ if you will in the digital photo taking world. I think people should view that way an enjoy it.

    I read Clive’s piece and I do see his point. I can even see instagram helping some creative people express themselves in a digital age. However, the majority I see is Steff with Tomm smiling in Sepia and thinking its a better piece than if it were in color. Even his back hoe examples sounds a bit contrived.

    Last point, I want to make clear this is one man’s opinion in an argument that remains unsettled since digital photography and editing came about so take it for that and that only.

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