Having just upgraded to the 5D, I’m looking to sell my Canon 20D with 28-90mm and 70-210mm lenses. So far I’ve just listed it locally on Craigslist, but wanted to open it up here in case anyone’s interested. Camera’s in great working condition, so are the lenses. I’ll probably put it up on ebay if I don’t sell it within the next few weeks.
This is a really good essay by Amanda Petrusich about the ways Instagram lets users “age” their digital camera phone shots with filters that mimic the look of various analog photo printing effects. I totally understand why people would look at this and think “ugh, too easy, cheap nostalgia,” etc. I am not a photographer anymore, but I have a degree in photography from Parsons School of Design, and I finished the program just as digital was being introduced to the curriculum, so I have a lot of first-hand experience with printing photographs. I could easily play the snob card here, but I can’t – though I really loved the printing side of photography and enjoyed the analog aspects of the craft that allowed for happy unrepeatable accidents that could yield great effects and unique objects, I just can’t get mad at people using Instagram or Photoshop to simulate these effects.
This is why: I just can’t see the difference between these automatic filters and effects pedals for guitars and other instruments. Effects pedals - particularly digital effects pedals – do more or less the same thing, and simulate analog sounds that could be achieved in homemade ways, like with the flanger effect. I am very pro-effects pedals in music, and don’t think anyone is wrong to use these shortcuts. The really good artists usually get creative with the pedals anyway, combining them in interesting ways or modifying them to get a precise signature sound.
Instagram gives its users the same freedom to juice up otherwise bland or ugly camera phone photos in the same way entry-level Danelectro pedals can make blah, mediocre chords played on a cheap guitar with unremarkable tone sound a bit better than it would otherwise. The problem with Instragram isn’t that it propagates cheap nostalgia but that it doesn’t yet offer users the fine control to adjust and mutate its out-of-the-box effects. I mean, yeah, you can do that stuff in Photoshop and other digital photo programs, but not in this particular mass-market app.
“I went on to flickr and it was just thousands of pieces of shit, and I just couldn’t believe it. And it’s just all conventional, it’s all cliches, it’s just one visual convention after another.”—Stephen Shore