Thursday, April 4, 2013

Filter, or no filter?

by Linda

(mouse over to see original)

According to an article I recently read, the filter I use on Instagram says more about me than the picture does. You can read it HERE

First glance at this article showed a pie chart of the age groups that use Instagram. It seems that no one under 18 or over 54 uses Instagram and the biggest use comes from 18-34 year old group. pfft. That was as far as I got...the first time.

The next time I read this article I looked at the statistics regarding the number of active users, the number of photos a day and the number of comments and likes. These numbers looked reasonable to me so I went on to the top ten Instagram filters and what it means if you use them. This is where I once again thought pfft and quit reading.

But thoughts were swirling in my pea brain about it so I went in for another look. I wanted to know who Marketo was and where they got their information. Marketo is a marketing research firm. There are 3 different citations for this article and upon closer examination I discovered that 2 were legitimate and probably reliable - Instagram Press Center, and PEW Internet & Life Project (another marketing research firm) The third one I thought was a little sketchy. Sketchy because it is called "Populargram" and they base their data on the "popular" or "explore" page on Instagram. I could not determine who wrote the descriptions of the filters, perhaps the writer of the article?

If you've ever visited the "popular" (or explore) page on Instagram you've probably wondered, as I do, how the heck are these pictures getting there and why do they get so many "likes"?!?

Pictures of people with their tongues hanging out, different colors and styles of hair, painted fingernails holding the polish bottle, screencaps and Spongebob can be found here. Given that the majority of users are 18-34 years old, and I would say within that group the younger ages post the most pictures, it makes sense these pictures are popular.

Instagram is a social network and kids live in the minute, right now, this second, yesterday is so over. They want to show all their friends what is happening in front of them RIGHT NOW!  Pictures of lunch with captions that read "dude, I can totally see Jesus in my big mac!" will probably make it to the popular page.

There really is more to Instagram than this. There really is art there. There really is a lot of people creating beautiful work using non-Instagram filters and they are not "tech-challenged amateurs who still can't work their smartphones or tech-savvy frauds..." as Marketo describes no filter users. Not to mention, there are some awesome apps that can do amazing things to a photo.

There are groups that showcase the real art on Instagram, groups like @mobileartistry, @sky_painters and others. You can see beautiful work there, and you can see more beautiful and creative work done with iPhones and Androids outside of Instagram on flickr. Life in Lofi, Mobile Photography and Imagery (this is the flickr group associated with the App Whisperer, a great place to learn about mobile artists, contests, apps and find out which apps are currently free!), Serious Mobile, Through the Lens of an iPhone, and of course, Mortal Muses has a Mobile Monday group with some great photos. There are many more.

With tongue-in-cheek and a grain of salt, I read the article one more time and figured out what the picture above says about me. (the edited one, the original says B-O-R-I-N-G!)

"she Snapseedped because she was having a hard time keeping her head above Water My Photo and was DistressedFX because she couldn't see the Lenslight at the end of the tunnel. because she added the Amaro filter in Instagram She is a "night owl...and may be a shut-in or a party animal but either way she can never seem to take a poorly lit photo. Luckily Amaro saves the day, making those dark pics from the bar up to 3% lighter"

Freud would be so proud!

Instagram is a fun place, a good place to look, learn and interact. The Focusing on Life gallery on Instagram is filled with beautiful images. You can see the feed from it at the bottom of this page. Follow us on Instagram @focusing_on_life and check out our Instagram gallery #focusingonlife while you're there. Sorry but you probably won't see Spongebob there!

“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” ~Ansel Adams


Carol said...

Great post Linda! I love the way you have told the story of reading the article. I have done that so many times _=- dismissed something and then gone back to find a gem. Thanks for all the artistry sites too. Fun!

Sarah Huizenga said...

Thank you for this post. I always struggle with Instragram for some of these reasons. I prefer art as opposed to popular.

terriporter said...

Love this post, Linda! I confess to being a bit of an "app junkie" but sometimes I just want my photo to shine through without much done to it. And I completely agree that there is some amazing art on Instagram to be found. Love the "mouseover" to show how much can actually be done to a photo with some of these apps. So much fun!

Dotti said...

I think you're right, Linda. In reality it's pretty hard to pigeon-hole IG'ers. I don't fit any of those demographics and I've seen plenty of true art posted by the people I follow. But then, I'm not in the 18-34 set. Interesting post, Linda. Thanks for sharing.

CarolHart said...

Great post and you have me curious enough to go read the article. I do use apps a lot, though not on every single image. I don' t use the IG filters so I guess that makes me a tech-savvy fraud! Too funny.

kelly said...

interesting post linda! and you are so right on...lots of really wonderful artists sharing their work on IG. for me, i got started with IG as a way to capture my everyday life. one of the things i loved then and still love is the ease of IG. snap a shot, apply a filter and boom. fun way to capture my everyday. and always right with me vs. my 'big' camera. certainly not creating any art in the traditional sense, but love using it all the same. and then somewhere along the way, i found this wonderful community of people and now i love IG even more for that reason. said...

I love IG more and more it's a great way to connect with like minded souls and the work is fantastic thanks for sharing this ....

stephmull said...

I love what you did with your photo and the filters! True art if you ask me! And can I just say you make me smile from ear to ear!!

Kim Stevens said...

I had a hard time reading the rest of your post, I just got stuck on the mouse over, most fun I've had all day, so thanks for that! great post!

Comfypjs said...

WOW! That is amazing how different the photo looks with the filter. I love it!

Roxi -Coppercurls Designs said...

That photo is to die for! And since I can't see the original on the ipad I finally got my laptop out today out of curiosity and DANG GIRL! What did you use to make the reflection? Is there an an app called water my photo I'm guessing? I will be researching that one. I've come to love the artsy IGers that I follow. I started this year as an easy way to do a photo a day with Project 365 and it has helped me tremendously in the artistic photography category.

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