by The Writer

The Inflated Price of Pictures…

Instagram is a social network where you can share pictures that have been doctored to look pretty sweet.  Seems anyone can create instant works of art worthy of a thousand words.  Facebook and Pinterest pages, are spread with Instagram photos, enticing people to ‘get to know each’ other visually, and share their lives, with updates about, events you weren’t invited to, or being late for a dentist appointment you care nothing about.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Facebook… much; I see the necessity of it, but I’ll save that rant for another post.

The task of developing a photo used to take longer than an average work day, and required equipment that would take up most of your living room.  Pinhole cameras, made in the 4th & 5th century weren’t able to ‘capture’ real life until the invention of silver nitrate and silver chloride in the 19th century.  The process of ‘developing’ took about a couple of decades to perfect, resulting in an average waiting time of a few hours.  And the mail delivery system allowed deliver of a freshly developed photo within days.  The whole ‘photography’ ordeal was reserved for people with the time, energy and interest, making photos a beautiful composition of art and science.

One hundred years later, with smartphones, taking a photo, developing a photo and sending a photo, takes less than one minute, and that includes the picture travelling to a satellite in outer-space and back!  One minute! While I agree that this is a technical marvel, I can’t help but feel it’s also a middle finger to real photographers and photo-journalists.  I think my issue with Facebook and Instagram is that most of the posts and updates are lame, and the ‘artsy’ pictures of new shoes and take-out meals don’t really interest me.  I recognize the ‘art’ in a meal, or the ‘beauty’ in shoes, but don’t Instagram it, add a couple of filters and a lame caption for me to see–What is it you want me to feel when I look upon your ‘work of art’?  Boredom? Disinterest?  Jealousy?

The upside to all this is that Instagram acts like a gateway drug, and can lead people to their true creative endeavour, but a lot of misled folks will be left strung out and high on a ‘gram’.  I don’t mind reading up on people and seeing images of how life is going.  But now that pictures have become the new currency, it seems ‘Instagram inflation’ has deemed regular words worthless.  No longer is a picture worth 1 000 words;  it seems more value is placed on pictures than words despite being ‘doctored’, and of course, as a writer, this saddens me.  I take comfort in knowing…

Words don’t lie. People Pictures do.