I find it a jukebox of narcissism.
I don’t understand why freelancers are required to reveal their talents on such such a low-rent property to media concierges. Instagram has become the playground of bored and distracted millenials. Yet for some ungodly reason marketing chiefs across the world feel some kind of obligation to bow before these individuals.
Apparently at least one writer at Fstoppers feels the same way. He gives three reasons it sucks.
First off he suggests that it wasn’t made for photographers. “Its crop proportions are not optimized for photographers to best share their work.” No kidding.
Frankly the damn site wasn’t made for cameras. It was made for smartphones. It was made for the innate tendency of holding your phone in portrait mode. Photos in landscape mode look tired on the platform. So much cropping and adjusting.
The best place to put your photos is on Flickr or 500px. Put in on your WordPress portfolio. Heck use Adobe’s portfolio. It’s great. We have got to get people that care about photography to utilize and share their best work on platforms that love your photographs.
Another reason to stay off the site is that Instagram is a popularity contest. Great photos do not necessarily get traction. How can they when they have to compete with skateboarders, bikini models and fashion marketing. As Fstoppers says:
Rather than editorial or even commercial spaces and publications being curated by highly-trained and artistic eyes, the most successful Instagram posts and accounts usually follow some sort of unoriginal trend or theme. What’s popular on Instagram photographically is not necessarily the most original or artistically the best.
There are a good many photographers competing for attention with the general masses of crappy videos and smartphone snaps. Nothing wrong with that at all. But your best work showing off your composition and editing prowess is hardly going to be featured against content that is geared toward maximizing clicks.
And here is the kicker: when you post a photo to Instagram you are sharing your rights to said image. You still own that image or video but Instagram can use it as it sees fit.
Hey man, you gave up that right when you decided to use there platform. Instagram is basically using your content, good or bad, to populate their feed to deliver advertisements. That is the only reason Instagram exists. To make money on other people’s content. See for yourself:
We do not claim ownership of your content, but you grant us a license to use it. Nothing is changing about your rights in your content. We do not claim ownership of your content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, when you share, post, or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights (like photos or videos) on or in connection with our Service, you hereby grant to us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings). You can end this license anytime by deleting your content or account. However, content will continue to appear if you shared it with others and they have not deleted it.
The hell are we thinking? Oh, you want to be an influencer. Yes the 1% is raking in the bucks by selling out their followers to promote crap. Yay. I have no problem with that. At all. I hope people need folklifts to lift their cash into the bank. Just don’t pretend that Instagram is some great photographer’s oasis and that it benefits the vast majority of photographic creators.
Fstoppers asks if the platform should be boycotted. Sure, along with You Tube, Twitter, Facebook and Google. All are monopolistic platforms that wield entirely too much power in our culture.
As photographers and creatives, maybe it’s time to boycott this social media platform. Its culture has given way to influencers and professional Instagrammers who, most of the time, merely exploit an algorithm and follow popular rules to gain fame and attention. It’s not compatible to professional photographers or aspiring professionals creating a living.
Fstoppers commenters are typically against anything that would deny exposure, principles be damned. Personally I utilize the platform but certainly not for exposing my photography.