It would be easy to slip into seeing the instantly shared photographic self-portrait, along with snaps of things bought and consumed, as a register of a complete surrender to commercial image culture: the preening necessary to emulate commodified beauty ideals, the apeing of celebrities, the internalising of values of professional self-presentation, the erasure of experience and memory through an obsession with moment-to-moment recording, and the distribution of the results on websites that mine images and metadata for commercial value. Yet the daily practice of photography gives people detailed knowledge about the way standard images of beauty and fame are produced; they learn considerable sophistication in the making of images and scepticism about their effects. The artifice of commercial imagery is understood through practical emulation. Most selfies are pastiche and many tip into parody. With this increase in awareness potentially comes a shift in power: from the paparazzi to their prey; and from the uncles, corporate and otherwise, to their nieces and nephews.
But having an Instagram account is like having an abundance of money in a dead currency. So much nostalgia and meaning have been shoveled at us that the aesthetic has lost much of its ability to affect. Merely making your photos evocative of photo scarcity doesn’t make them actually scarce or make others covet them. There’s a deep mismatch between the aesthetic language of Instagram and the affordances of the network. Despite all the manufactured nostalgia, your photo disappears down the stream, largely unnoticed.

Pics and It Didn’t Happen – The New Inquiry (via thisistheverge)

Sidenote: Seems like the permanence of images (Flickr) vs (Instagram) the impermanence of images (Snapchat) is on a lot of people’s minds today. It’s a huge divide and proponents are both sides are drawing lines in the sand.  

I’m having a hard time switching between my ‘nice’ camera vs my phone, going back into my camera roll for images I took months ago - images that deserve some reflection, between keeping around ‘ugly’ images that I had taken just in the moment (receipts, dimly lit bar funnies, ugly food shots, jokes) and nice shots when I travel or am on photowalks, between synching everything into Dropbox, Drive, or Facebook vs keeping images on my hard drive, between storing the increasing visual detritus that I accumulate and have little use other than links on Twitter or Tumblr —  the floaty world between communication, documenting, curating and self-expression… I’m not even going to get into how I want to edit my past; services like Timehop only increases the feeling that I not only have to maintain my current digital image, but also now I need to get a handle on my past.

I’m having a hard time. Anyone who thinks photosharing is solved is nuts. We’re just getting started - because The Image is still the single best medium to get meaning - whether it’s narratives or moments or reactions or commentary - across in the digital world, it means that we’ll continue to generate more images: the problem is how to make sense of it all.

Some recent writings I’ve noticed:



Many too many words will be written about Facebook’s $1bn acquisition of Instagram today, but these are mine…


First up, hearty congratulations to the Instagram team. I’ve long held them as one of the most successful examples of a “minimum viable product” — there are many things…

As always, Simon gives a well thought out take on the tech news. But two bits: #1 - Doing “things the right way” often gives a free pass to stubborn product decisions that misses the forest for the trees and #2 - Facebook isn’t Yahoo and in some ways Flickr sold too soon, both elements that hampered the creativity to kickass (it took years to develop but there was a slow burn).



When Mike and I started Instagram nearly two years ago, we set out to change and improve the way the world communicates and shares. We’ve had an amazing time watching Instagram grow into a vibrant community of people from all around the globe. Today, we couldn’t be happier to announce that…

Quick thoughts:

  • Makes sense (given photos is +60% of FB’s traffic even a couple of years back)
  • How will product integration work? Easy steps: people tagging, albums + #sets, FB only sign-in / identity port
  • Has FB gotten so big that it makes sense to have standalone features as apps (web and mobile)? Photos, messaging are the first two: what about news, music, etc. I would think YES.
  • Branding: Curious to see if anything (at all will change). Please don’t Frankenstein this one.
  • Are filters still a fad or are they here to stay? I’ve been on the fence about this one, and a lot of techies scoff at filters… but I”ll admit to being wrong on this one.
  • Sign of froth? Perhaps - but photosharing is now in the DNA of the web and I don’t see the need to share moments and expression going away.

Kudos to the team. I remember when Instagram was still Burbn (played around with that one some when my friend Shanan got me onto it). Eerily reminds me off how Flickr was Game NeverEnding with a photosharing component in the old days and moved to what users really wanted. Killer product, team, and development focus.