These days anyone can have an online portfolio and pretend to be a photographer. Cameras are cheap and easy to use. Any smartphone has filters and image editing functions and the Instagram app provides even more tools. So who can blame you if you think that authentic art is only in galleries and not on Instagram? Some people believe that a professional photographer shouldn’t mingle with amateurs on online platforms. Well, times have changed and with them the photographers.
The power of digital photography
Whether they adapt to technological changes or not, great photographers remain great photographers. Henri Cartier Bresson isn’t famous for his gear but for his philosophy and his art of capturing the moment. He used a Leica and a 50 mm lens for almost all his pictures. Still, digital photography has opened many doors and new perspectives and artistic visions can be brought to life.
Technology isn’t a bad thing if you know how to use it wisely. You can take better photographs in low light conditions thanks to cameras with high ISO. You can create panoramas, the double exposure effect, and photograph people and objects in motion up to incredible speeds. Also, you can travel the world with light gear and photograph the stars and the smallest insects. Modern photographers have many more tools to work with and it’s nothing wrong with that.
The Internet facilitates fast communications and connects people around the world. Applications like Instagram allow you to admire the work of Steve McCurry even if you’ll never afford to go to one of his exhibitions. Moreover, they allow him to be seen by almost three million people and that’s a great thing for a photographer. He can discuss with his viewers, receive feedback, and understand how much his work influences people from different cultures. Instagram isn’t just a display panel, it’s also a place to do research and get in touch with your public.
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For a beginner, finding the inner voice as a photographer is very difficult. You constantly wonder if you’re good enough, if your technical skills meet the expectations, and if your subjects are interesting. Access to galleries and exhibitions is limited. For beginners, Instagram is a meeting point, a virtual and free space where they can receive feedback. Of course, popularity on Instagram doesn’t guarantee success in the real world. At the same time, having few followers on Instagram doesn’t mean that your pictures are bad. But you might receive one or two opinions that will help you grow as a photographer.
Instagram may be an opportunity or a waste of time. It all depends on how you use IG and how you understand it to benefit from the use of it. Use it to showcase your portfolio and gather feedback. It can also be used to connect with other photographers and talk about your art. Use it to follow the masters and learn from them. For a photographer, Instagram shouldn’t be entertainment and shouldn’t take you more than one hour per week. It’s just a useful tool, don’t give it control over your life. Cover photo by Luke van Zyl on Unsplash
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