It’s been an insane week at work. Spare moments were spent wrestling with viruses and server headaches. As such, no camera time.
Friday, however, I had things mostly locked down and I took the family out for pizza (before returning yet again to work to follow up on a few things, and then spend a little more time at home logged in to a web server to wrap up—argh). While there, I snapped this photo of the Wife and Little Bird.
This is what makes it all worth while.
I first shot the photo with Instagram, the service which recently made the news thanks to a billion-dollar acquisition by Facebook. I’d been waiting for Instagram on Android for a while, and the Instagram version of this photo has a subtle filter applied.
I’m mixed on Instagram. For the social aspect, Instagram is far more active than picplz and Lightbox. From the first day I saw more activity on Instagram than any photo on the other services, despite all three of them having the ability to post photos to Twitter and Facebook.
Lightbox seems to have made improvements since I last used it a year ago, but I haven’t done more than play with it a little. picplz has better filter handling than Instagram in terms of seeing what a filter might do before the user clicks on it, though it has fewer filters available (the second half of picplz’s filters are the same as the first half, only with borders removed). That’s not a complaint, mind, as it cuts down on confusion and overuse.
I also don’t like that Instagram doesn’t post to Flickr. They seem to want photos to stay on Instagram and be shared from there, driving all traffic through their site. Yes, that’s how business works, but neither Lightbox nor picplz seem to have a problem with granting me ownership of my own photos. In fact, picplz even allows me to upload my photos directly to my Dropbox account.
So I’m torn. Instagram nails the social aspect, but it sucks having to repost photos to other services. Maybe Facebook will force some stupid changes on Instagram and make my decision for me.
In the meantime, people, lay off with the filters. Yes, some of the filters can make some photos look great. However, slapping a burned-out red filter over a shite photo of nothing doesn’t make it look old and kitschy, it makes it look like an even bigger pile of shite. There’s a reason the photography world has moved on.
I realize Instagram is trying to reproduce the old feel of the Polaroid instant cameras. This is why they have the square crop, too. Yet if you shot the same photo with an actual Polaroid instant camera, you’d say “Wow, this is garbage.” Why is it hip to post a digital reproduction of the same garbage to Twitter?
Candids are great. Shoot your food, shoot random objects on your desk, shoot nothing, knock yourself out. Part of the instant appeal is instant sharing. Just keep in mind, while not everything has to be art, not every candid needs a filter.
About Mike Oliveri
Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. His Bram Stoker Award-winning first novel, Deadliest of the Species, was just reprinted by Evileye Books.