Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Demise of Creativity

So Easy, Anyone Can Do It

(Instagram app used on the right)

The big tech news lately seems to be that Facebook just agreed to purchase Instagram for 1 billion dollars. That, of course, is big news for Kevin Systrom, the originator of Instagram, but disappointing news on another front: creativity.
Props to Systrom for developing an app for mobile phones that would allow users to "modify" photos taken by using saturated colors, Polaroid-type borders, dark vignettes and even "mistakes" like light flares (so common with early point and shoot cameras that came in a cardboard box). The purpose, of course, was to make photography "fast, beautiful and fun," according to Systrom. That it did.
Available to users for the first time in March of 2010, it took Instagram the rest of that year to garner one million users, but since then, use has exploded with more than 30 million accounts. This, of course, is what made it a valuable asset to the growing Zuckerman juggernaut. It has outperformed early entries in the field like Hipstamatic, Camerabag and Picplz to become one of the coolest apps on the internet.
But ehre's the rub for me:
Anyone can be a creative photographer...WITH NO TALENT WHATSOEVER! There is no need to learn about aperture and light meters, shutter speeds or color saturation. In a simple step, anyone can publish great photos like the amended one of a church on the island of Santorini (featured in EVERY advertisement about Greece). There is simply no challenge.
And another thing: as photography becomes more prevalent and available to anyone, the capacity for memory fades, according to Susan Sontag in her book On Photography. We pay no attention to details, just point and shoot, caring more for the scrapbook than we do for remembering details of the time and place. In short, we've become the stereotypical tourist: snapping away with no regard for the "moment." (we'll relive it later!)
One might even say that this is yet another symptom of the "McDonaldization" of America in which everything comes without effort, quickly, and with even less thought about the process. Creativity is becoming a lost art.
Systrom is the exception...the rest of us are the embodiment of this loss.


At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's actually one of the reasons we've never had a video camera. I have a couple of short videos on my phone, but I always thought if I was recording a birthday party (for example) - I'd be spending my time looking through the lens. Not actually being part of the moment. I do love my camera's fun to take the kids out and capture moments.


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