I love Instagram and all the other photo filter apps I have on my iPhone, but I worry that reality gets enhanced, manipulated and modified every time I use one in subtle, no-going-back ways. I’m torn, because this photo was taken on a magical evening with friends at a beachfront house they were renting on the South Carolina coast. Yes, the ocean roared and rumbled in at twilight making me wish I could live there forever and be rocked to sleep on its broad, capable chest. The clouds in that big, big sky were cinematic starlets, their lighting just so. And the Instagram fake frame captured and contained that special moment on the porch with friends, Champagne in hand, conversation out of control. So maybe it’s not exactly what I was seeing, but I think the argument could be made that it’s exactly what I was feeling. As long as I can keep the two things separate in my own mind and remember that reality is sometimes gritty and not always pretty.

5 Responses to “Instant Photo Gratification”

  1. Di says:

    But don’t you think that it’s like history, it’s like an opinion, it’s like the story we tell about our experience of a moment … the photograph can only be an attempt at capturing that moment. I’m not sure we need to keep reality ever-present?

    I have this idea that all reality gets ‘enhanced, manipulated and modified’, everyone sees, feels, tastes, and reports a thing differently.

    For you, this photograph captures what you were feeling, and what you saw… or chose to frame, at a given moment. Looking at it will always give that beautiful memory.

    When I look at it, as when I read the writing of another, I bring my interpretation, my feeling. I would say, don’t worry. It’s a beautiful photograph of a moment that was beautiful and that, sometimes, is the most important thing for me.

    I’m putting together a photography book, with some text, and I have already fought my way through the inevitable angst about what this book will be like. I finally realised that it can only be an attempt to capture my feeling for the place, my way of seeing it, my interpretation and, by crikey, I better not try and make anything else of it.

    I don’t know if this makes sense though …

    Love the photo, just by the way. Love it, and the description of the atmosphere on that lovely evening you had by the beach.

  2. nikki says:

    Of course you’re right…I just sometimes feel like I’m cheating a little bit.

  3. I agree with Di and I agree with you too. I don’t use Instagram and don’t have photo editing software beyond the basic stuff that lets me crop and adjust brightness, contrast, tone. I admire the cinematic quality of Instagrams and the way people manipulate the photos to make them seem dreamlike, like a memory. The feeling a photo evokes is important and the filters and apps can make that easier to capture. BUT because of Instagram and similar programs, almost no one does “real” photos anymore. Reality is the pale imitation of our “virtual life.” The gap between the life we really live and the life we post online seems to be getting ever wider. I’m not sure that’s a good thing. We are all becoming like celebrities who appear “smaller” and “more ordinary” when you meet them in real life. Do we want that disconnect in our own lives?

  4. Donna M says:

    I went to Venice last year, and I must admit that one of my first impressions was how much it looked like Disney. It wasn’t until I interacted with the people that the realness, the specialness of the place, hit me. So like the enhanced photographs, I think enhanced, fabricated experiences tend to shape our expectations and our ability to fully appreciate. It’s weird.

  5. nikki says:

    I know exactly what you mean!

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