I’m all for phone photography - the power to easily create sometimes striking images from a mobile device. The ability of virtually anyone with a phone to document and share their lives is truly remarkable. ..But I am over the unnecessary use of Instagram in professional journalism. I’m over it.
I have no argument with the merits of using Instagram for personal use, for artwork, or even for hire when top users have been contracted to use their profiles to promote brands. What I dislike is the use in professional settings. In the context of professional journalism, does anyone think these cropped filtered photos will stand the test of time? (Do they even stand up now?)
On Monday Time Magazine’s director of photography, Kira Pollack, sent out 5 photographers to cover Hurricane Sandy with Instagram. One image was even selected for one of the three covers this week. (more Instagram photos featured in Time’s Lightbox)
photo by: Benjamin Lowy (sourced from PetaPixel article)
"The information is there. It’s accurate information journalistically," she emphasizes. "The decision to cover it on Instagram wasn’t an aesthetic decision. It was about having a direct feed, about getting these pictures quickly by five photographers in three different regions." (Kira Pollack in Foliomag.com article)
”It’s wasn’t like, ‘Oh, this is a trend, let’s assign this on Instagram.’ It was about how quickly can we get pictures to our readers.” (Kira Pollack in Forbes article)
Not buying it Kira….
I agree 100% it wasn’t a question of aesthetics. An image of equal or greater aesthetic (with proper resolution) could have been created by a professional camera. It’s not “accurate information” ! filtered images break the moral code of photojournalism. I don’t buy the time excuse either, images were sorted then edited (and must have been approved!!) before they were uploaded. Lets be honest you DID do it because of the trend…because you can gain great amounts of shares and followers on social media. Its a business and larger audiences lead to a healthier bottom line..let’s call it what it is.
Not to mention the articles you are quoted in talking about why Instagram is the right tool for the job. Again promoting trend over the importance of the actual topic….a devastating hurricane.
I’m putting it out to my followers. What is your take on this? Should a news outlet be covering a natural disaster with Instagram? Leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org to speak in detail.
…Is there any place in professional journalism for Instagram?