Pat McGuire wrote in post #16279352
I'm not obsessed with gear at all ( I know you didn't suggest that but I want to make that point clear ). Likewise I don't have any derision for people who use instagram or any other tool as it happens.
What I personally feel about a photograph is what I was talking about. The process matters to me. Be it a quick edit on a PC or a long time spent in a darkroom. Otherwise to an extent we could just write a programme for a computer to make images and send that out to our gigs/shoots. The results might be brilliant, but then where is the Art?
End results do matter of course. However it's the human element that does it for me ( again a personal thing ). The idea that someone envisioned an image, maybe spent some time thinking on it. Then worked it using their own "presets" rather than an idea of one made by a bit of software.
Tools are what we are talking about here. So to that end what is more artistic/valuable, A mass produced item or something that is hand made?
I did some film stuff, loved it, now I use digital because it's less messy and I can see my images sooner. But I still work my pictures in the same way as I did in a darkroom. Same kind of workflow. If I had the space for a darkroom in my house I'd shoot film too just to make sure I can still do it.
Again just a personal taste issue here, but I know a lot of people who only use "tools" and presets in PS or LR and their images are good, but they are just blandly good based on the tools they used. Apart from framing and focussing ( with a DSLR and a good lens ) all they have done is pretty much what anyone with an eye and a spare finger can do. They don't learn anything and neither do I by looking at the image.
I understand what you are saying, but if I see a photo that I like, then I like it. If someone tells me a few minutes or so afterward that the photograph is one of those Instagram things, I'm not going to suddenly like it less.
Photography is an oddity. Unless a freakishly gifted person, it's highly unlikely that someone who has never touched a musical instrument is going to sit down at a piano and accidently compose a great piece of music. Yet, with photography, one can create a good photograph without having had to first develop an even rudimentary level of technical and physiological skills.
Yes, the process of photography for my own photography matters, but no, the process involved with others' is largely a backstory, should it actually be known, which is most often not the case.
So where's the art?
The art is in the framing, the decision to point the camera in such a way as to produce a compelling composition; the understanding of the lights and shadow involved, the use of geometry and lines, and the timing of the shutter release. And during processing, it's knowing what and how much to apply to best enhance the image inline with the desired vision. It is a consistency, born out by thoughtful editing not just of the piece but also of pieces displayed. It is the deliberate, even when great luck might still be involved.
To be sure, for most folks, Instagram is a consumer device used to quickly dress up snapshots, and in this sense, that's fine…there's no artistic pretense involved.
Nevertheless, the commercial appeal of Instagram doesn't mean that photographers cannot use it, as with any other tool, to achieve their aims. And if I like the end result, I'm not going to turn around and give the photographer a demerit for using Instagram.
As an industry, photography, from its start, has sought to simplify the process, as clearly illustrated by the development of auto-focus and auto exposure.
And for many serious or professional photographers, this has caused a sort of internal rift, whereby they want to benefit from the latest technologies, especially if it offers greater efficiency and assurance, while at the same time still wanting to keep their craft outside the reach of the masses.
Instagram further undercuts this already tenuous divide, and while certain elements of it might be trendy, as could the whole excessive photographic surge we are experiencing in part because of social media, it doesn't mean that Instagram, as a concept and tool, should be dismissed entirely (and I realize that the OP has made it clear that he does not shun it altogether).