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Photographers, I want to hear from you
Has Instagram changed the way you engage with photography?
I want your opinion.
I’m working through some new ideas, and I hope you can give me a hand. Many of you know that social media’s effects on artmaking and attention are one of my hobbyhorses. For those of you new to, you might appreciate this:
I caught up with photographer Jason Langer a few weeks ago. Do you know his work? We talked about various things, and he left me thinking about the negative impacts a platform like Instagram has on artists, artmaking, and photography. Years ago, we flocked to IG without really questioning it, and I’ve been thinking about how photographers and artists feel about their experience all these years later.
My conversation with Jason made me realize something: Instagram has trained a generation to spend less time looking at (and seeing) the images in front of us. Instagram rewards scrolling, not looking. Well, not close, careful looking, anyway. I mentioned this to Jason, and he sent me this reply:
I would go one step further and say that our relationship with photography changed once it became scrollable. We spent more time with photographs when we could only interact with them on walls and in boxes or drawers — one at a time — or in books, page by page. Scrolling encourages looking for the next best dopamine hit.
He’s right. I’m not proud to admit it, but I find myself practically racing through my IG feed some mornings. Why? I’m not sure. It’s a habit and a bad one. On reflection, I was reminded of this David Lynch video from years ago. It’s certainly relevant:
Jason inspired me, and I want to write more about how Instagram changes our engagement with photography — as practitioners and spectators.
Photographers, if you have any thoughts — on how IG has changed how you look at pictures, make your photo work, or if social media has influenced your practice in another way — I want to hear from you. I'd like to include quotes from imagemakers about the platform's pros and cons. Please tell me what you think.
Feel free to leave me a note in the comments or email me directly. You can find me here: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks in advance for sharing your experience!
One more thing…
I’ve been meaning to read Lynch’s Catching the Big Fish for quite a few years, and I finally picked up a copy. It’s excellent and something I know many of you will appreciate — Do check it out when you have time.
Okay, that’s all for now. Take care and talk soon!
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