The genie is out of the bottle. Anyone with a phone can take pictures that look like they should be hanging in the Museum of Modern Art right next to the Ansel Adams and Irving Penn’s. Right?
Kind of right. And herein is something to try and understand about what all this new technology is doing with art and craft. Let’s look at the good news. Zillions of junky snapshots that would never be looked at of Uncle Tim or Aunt Betty or your workmates from that job five years ago are now bearable to look at due to the range of filters, cropping devices, and looks you can get digitally.
The bad news — they are still dumb snapshots of those people. Or places.
And here’s the big news. Technology gives everyone the ability to do B or B+ quality work with no work at all. But it doesn’t give them the ability to do A work. That still takes some guts and heart and soul. Some forging into the new, rather than just borrowing polish from the old.
So, what we have is the visual arts version of a dishwasher. A dishwasher is a machine that makes life better by making sure lots of dishes are really clean. Instagram is a tool that makes sure that lots of snapshots look ok. Maybe even better than ok.
Life’s better. Great. But for those who really want to push it and take it to the limit, Instagram ain’t gonna do it. Forging into the unknown, getting out into the street, messing up your mind with the stuff of life — that will.
Just ask Kodak.