Howdy, APUG folks. I posted this over on Rangefinder Forum, where I've typically been a more active user, but having moved out of RF photography for the most part, this seemed like a better place to put it. This is actually my first post here on APUG, but from my interaction with folks here (exclusively through the Classifieds up until now), it seems like a nice place to be. I'm just going to paste the entire post as I originally wrote it. Happy to be here!
I know that dreaded app is anathema for a lot of folks on here. My own opinion of it is that it's fine. I use it myself for the occasional picture, and I've seen some folks who do great work with it. I've also seen plenty of pictures of cats and people's brunch on it as well, but to be perfectly honest, I've seen pictures of the same things taken with a Leica MP and a 50mm f/1.4 Summilux ASPH. I don't think there's any harm in finding new ways to spark people's interest in photography, and the technology that Instagram has developed to enable the sharing of those photos is superb, far better than any other photo sharing software I've seen in the last 5+ years.
Having said all that, my intention with this post is a little different. I'd like to talk about how Instagram changed the way I view that extremely polarising picture format: the square. I was never a big fan of the square. I always seemed to see things wide. I'm not that keen on portrait orientation, either, to be honest. My affinity for composition seemed to suit the wider formats very well, whether it be 24x36, 6x4.5, 6x7, or 4x5. I had a Mamiya C330 for a little while, which was my first dance with the square, and I got a few pictures out of it that I was happy with, but I sold it when I picked up a Pentax 6x7, and didn't really miss it.
Now, however, I've got a solid year or so of using Instagram under my belt, and it has completely changed the way I approach the square format. I've developed a much bigger appreciation for it, and find that it presents new and interesting composition challenges that I no longer feel when working with more rectangular formats. As a result, I did something the other day I didn't think I ever would. I bought a Hasselblad 500c/m and a full compliment of lenses. Perusing around on Flickr, I find myself more inspired by the work I see others doing with the Hasselblad than anything I've seen from the Leica crowd lately. I know it's just personal taste, and maybe I'm drinking the Hasselblad Kool Aid, but I'm looking forward to shooting with it.
So there you go. Instagram can't be all that bad if it can foster interest in more creative growth with real "serious photography", can it? I used to work at a video game studio where we made games called Guitar Hero and Rock Band, which, for those who don't have kids or don't know anyone who does, are games designed to simulate the experience of playing music in a band with real instruments. Imagine if the idea of karaoke was extended beyond singing into playing the guitar, bass, and drums, and then turned into something you do for a high score. We used to have to defend it all the time to "real musicians" who would get all huffy that we were making light of the hard work it takes to learn an instrument. "Why don't you just get a real guitar?" was the line we'd hear the most. However, in the time I worked there, I met countless kids who would enthusiastically tell us about how they had gotten their first guitar/bass/drum set for their birthday or for Christmas or whatever, and it was playing our games that inspired them to start making music in earnest. That's kind of how I see the relationship between Instagram and "real photography". Think of it as a gateway drug. Maybe only 5-10% of people will pursue photography more seriously after having a lot of fun with Instagram, and I think that's a good thing.
Welcome to APUG! Hope you will stick around.
I shoot with Pentax 35mm, Leica 35mm, Hasselblad 6x6, and 5x7. So there's a big variety to what I do.
Honestly, square or rectangular, I just usually print the pictures the way it feels right to print them. Sometimes I crop square negs to become rectangular, and vice versa, but it's always the content of the picture that dictates what I do, and with our prints we must support the content to the very best of our ability. Cropping can be a very powerful tool for this.
Having used Instagram a fair bit for about a year, I got tired of everything being square, and even found an app called Squaready, which allowed me to fill out above and below horizontal shots, and to each side of vertical ones, with black or white, or any other color, to make it square, so that the Instagram uploader wouldn't automatically crop them for me.
To each their own. But I agree that anything that has the power to inspire new photographers is a good thing. I'm glad you found something to inspire you!
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
Welcome to APUG!
With wise tongue this doth speak!
Originally Posted by maclaine
For decades Hasselblad advertised that square was the perfect format. It still is.
Nothing wrong with instant photos and sharing, au contraire, but what I personally find sad, is that modern great technology is used to achieve results that looks crap (using bad filters to deliberately make maybe otherwise quite good photos look like sh*t).
The Hasselblad Kool Aid is the sweetest kind ;)
Funny, but I often switch between formats..square, 5x4, 35mm and 6x12. I almost never crop my 6x6's, just sometimes I see as a square, in fact I never really crop anything...just go with the flow. Also welcome to the forums, hope to see some of your images.
Thanks for the welcome, folks. I added my Flickr page to my signature, for anyone who is curious. Not too much up there in the way of square stuff just yet, but give me a few weeks and some should start popping up. :)
Originally Posted by jglass