The Professional Instagramer

That headline was hard to type … as a journalist, I find much of what I see on Instagram as not-journailsm. It’s art, some of it amazingly good, but the filtering and intentional degradation of images bothers me when it’s put forth as journalism. And I know I should now yell, “YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!” But that’s the way I see it.

So when the British Journal of Photography does a serious piece about photojournalists using Instagram, I read it. Thoroughly.

But it doesn’t change my mind. I see issues with both the truthfulness and the accuracy of these images. I also wonder what the heck the business model is for working professionals.

Ed Kashi wonders whether Instagram is yet another fad that “further feeds the devaluation of our craft and continues to contribute to the destruction of this field as a viable way to make a living”. His concerns come on the heels of the release of his Photojournalisms iPad app, which failed to gain interest from users. “I am willing to explore these new models of distribution, but it’s a crap shoot and requires a lot of trial and error. We’re also facing the audience’s expectation of not having to pay for content. I don’t mean to be negative, but it’s a slog. I guess this all makes me feel like asking, ‘so this is what it’s come to?'”

Towards the end there, he hits on something that should ring true for al journalists – this is another way of acclimating our audience to free content. And that is a very large problem.

Mark E. Johnson

1 Response

  1. Ive made money from Instagram. After the Village Voice stole and published one of my images I called and got paid. I bet the guy with the Empire State Building shooting photos got paid too.

    Not sure if it acclimates the audience to free content, but what does it say about the industry when a news organization blatantly steals and only pays up when they’re caught?

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