Instagram and Anxiety of the Photographer

Interesting editorial over at PetaPixel. It discusses the history of photography, from the late 19th century to the present, drawing parallels between artists’ early objections to photography as art and photographers objections to iPhoneography as photography.

The photographic industry was the refuge of every would-be painter, every painter too ill-endowed or too lazy to complete his studies … By invading the territories of art, [photography] has become art’s most mortal enemy.

—Charles Baudelaire, 1859

The author of the post sums it up nicely:

Modernists criticized people for their consumer behavior, and their lack of artisan skills.

In turn, the populace saw the modern artist as elitist because the average person had no language to describe the art they saw.

I see people criticizing people who participate in iPhoneography, Instagram, selfies, etc. But put in historical context, I would hope that people would realize two things. First, the roles were reversed not too long ago; second, they’re risking alienating artists and potential artists who just happen to use their iPhones as the tools. Such a shame.


Posted on October 8, 2013