Sunday, April 15, 2012


Through the FM2 Viewfinder by Wayne-K
Through the FM2 Viewfinder, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

My daughter opened a Flickr account a while back and was posting photos taken from her mobile phone’s camera. I noticed recently her postings on Flickr ceased. Was she no longer interested in capturing her daily life in photos? No, she just transitioned to Instagram. Apparently, Flickr is for old, boring people…all the cool, young people are on Instagram.

Well, wanting to be associated with the cool, young people, I informed my family yesterday that I was going to sign up for “Instamatic.” I got a lot of strange looks in response to that proclamation. I hate to admit it, but the fact that it’s “Instagram” and not “Instamatic” automatically makes me so un-cool….and the fact that I even know what an “Instamatic” is makes me so un-young.

When it comes to my photography, it’s all about simplicity. I prefer to shoot film on a Nikon FM2 (manual focus, manual exposure) and typically with a single prime lens (usually a 50mm f/1.4). This is as simple as it gets – I don’t have to fiddle with a complicated menu system (like my DSLR), I don’t have to think about what focal length to use (like on a zoom lens), the ISO/ASA is fixed (for the roll), I don’t need to fight with an autofocus system, and I’m in complete control of the exposure.

Instagram is all about simplicity. While I used to snicker at people taking crummy photos with their camera phones (especially in low light), I can fully appreciate the photographic experience with Instagram. The process is incredibly simple and pain-free. One captures the photo on the camera phone, crops it to a 1x1 aspect ratio (square), applies one of the post-processing presets, and uploads the photo.

Instagram won’t replace Flickr for me, nor will the camera on my mobile replace my SLR. I will continue to use my SLR for serious and semi-serious work and artistic pursuits. But, when I want to capture something interesting in my day just for the fun of it, it will probably be done via the camera on my mobile phone and posted on Instagram.

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