As many have anticipated, this issue is about Is Instagram Killing Photography? But like all important questions, the answer is neither yes or no. It’s not that simple.
I immediately think of the Buggles song Video Killed the Radio Star. When a new technology arrives there are always the naysayers and the gloom and doom about the end of the world as we know it.
And I will say that I think that MTV had a dumbing down effect on music and a whole generation that preferred the videos to just listening to the music. Sometimes technology can have a negative effect on art. Maybe music videos killed radio as the Buggles song suggests.
Even now there’s hardly a rap video without mostly naked women and bling galore. Many a video has killed a number of good songs. And then when you watch an Elvis Costello video from the 1980s, you will see him intentionally not lip-sync. Very bold on his part.
Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? This is a question that does not have a definite answer. Much of the photography on Instagram is NOT art. But nevertheless, the photos are often imitated. They are reproductions of reproductions. Ad infinitum.
So yes, I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent here in describing a parallel situation to what social media has turned photography into. Or maybe not. And it should be noted that with the advent of the Brownie and Instamatic cameras, many thought that reflected the death of photography.
The death of photography has been greatly exaggerated.