High Speed Retro: Fun with Instagram

Although I had fun playing with the Instagram ap on my iPhone during my recent UK trip, I have to admit feeling slightly apprehensive about taking the phenomenon too seriously within artistic practice. Aesthetically speaking, Instagram and it’s predecessor, Hipstamatic, seem to follow in the footsteps of the Lomo, the analog camera with numerous incarnations at the center of the Lomographic Society, which professes a motto of “Don’t think, just shoot.”

Unlike the Lomo however, Instagram produces digital images well suited for social media platforms whose users demand instant gratification. It’s easy to take a shot, apply jazzy, retro-looking filters and share the results over a variety of social networking services in seconds flat.

A recent New Yorker article has this to say about the Instagram phenomenon:

“Instagram’s “Most Popular” feed is filled with sunsets over cities and beaches and points in between. It might be said, though, that all Instagrammed photos emphasize photography as an elegiac or twilight art, one that rushes and fakes the emotion of old photographs by cutting out the wait for history entirely, and giving something just a few seconds old the texture of time. We are creating a kind of instant nostalgia for moments that never quite were.”