Instagram for personal expression

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We photographers undertake personal work as a means of self expression, to satify our need to take pictures, and to give our viewers a personal sense of what we like, as opposed to commissioned work, where we take pictures to fulfil  our clients particular requirements. Admittedly we are often hired because our personal style is attractive to our clients, but that isn’t the same as the total freedom of personal work.

In 2011 Annie Leibowitz suggested that the iPhone was the new snapshot camera. Since then it has continued to evolve, to the point where many  professional photographers are using one as a business tool. Read this article. Compared to carrying a camera around, the iPhone is always with me, sometimes in flight mode if I’m ‘off duty’. I may or may not be deliberately looking for something to photograph. With Instagram (or without!), photographers of every skill level can make work that pleases them, and of course, if the picture are good, they please others as well.

My personal style is evolving to fit the various possibilities of the iPhone and apps. I automatically set the iPhone to square format when taking photos. I’m at the point where I’m ‘seeing’ the finished image in my mind when pressing the ‘shutter’ button, and most of the time, I’m expecting to apply filters, rather than delivering ‘straight’ photos. As I said in a previous post, my carry everywhere Sony camera is virtually obsolete, even if I did use it for the picture in this post! And although I keep saying that I will, I haven’t put a roll of film in my most favourite camera of all, my Leica M6 for almost a year. That’s a as much because of my current workload as anything else though.

Most traditional photographers had or have a film/developer/paper combination which gave them their particular style. Latterly, this translates to the way images are processed and put on line. Many of the great photographers have a personal style which earns their livelihood, a satisfying, but I’d imagine a difficult area for most of us mere mortals to make a living! Contrast Martin Parr with Steve McCurry – each distinctive, and consistent.

With Instagram, many of the best collections display a personal style and vision which shows the personality of the photographer.  Using the built in Instagram filters, but also other image processing software in-phone, such as Fotor and Prisma, (but carefully), photographers can develop a personal style of presenting the world that they see around them. Like playing a musical instrument, practice makes perfect, and like playing the pipe organ, remember, you don’t have to pull all of the stops out all of the time! Mix them around for the desired effect.






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