When Instagram claimed rights to all photos shot using its processing/ sharing app, I deleted my account within seconds. It didn’t matter that they backtracked on their new policy later that day, I decided that as a mere processing and sharing tool it wasn’t worth the hassle. I spend/ waste more than enough social networking time on Facebook, tumblr, model mayhem, soundcloud, and WordPress to have another virtual mouth to feed. It is way too much narcissism as is, and so far only one of those sites (Facebook) gives me any regular work. Not to mention there are many other photo filter apps out there that don’t exaggerate their importance.
Now, on my phone home screen, I have a “picture frame” containing my instagrammed photos of my children. They are quite lovely but the gallery no longer grows. In the last two months, I made the concious choice to fall back in love with my ancient (3 years old) Nikon D700, and forced myself to do all the personal photos with it rather than leaving it up to the phone to fill that gap. I was better with this other device that weighed more, required more thought to use correctly, and took significantly more time to process in the computer, but in the end the effort seems to pay off.
At this point, some might say “why don’t you just photography with all the devices at your disposal?” For myself, I need some parameters to my shooting. I am not the kind of person always shooting, capturing every boring moment of my day. I can’t convince myself a phone shot is good enough when I could have done it better with the D700 or view camera, but it is so easy to convince oneself when they rely on the phone camera at all times.
I have no doubt that there are phoneographers making great work, many of whom wouldn’t be doing any photography at all if not for the convenience and freedom allowed by apps. And there are definitely many photos that simply cannot be shot by the average person without their phone- shots in stores, at concerts, inside small objects, etc. But the psychology of shooting is greatly affected by what tool the photographer uses, and settling for convenience is a poor motivation for making art the best you can.