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Behind the Filters: Instagram

Even to the most technologically clueless, shamelessly backward dinosaur (see: Me), Instagram would be no stranger. Instagram is an application that allow users to apply a digital filter over an image to render a vintage, polaroid-like quality, and share it immediately with an online community. Signs of Instagram addiction is everywhere. From the lunch buddy with her insatiable appetite to share her meal plans with the world, to the Starbucks regular whose Instagram feed is a visual lookbook of the coffeehouse’s menu.

While filters do lend a hand in creating beautiful images, the best photos stand out mostly because of the moment they capture. Here I share with you some of my favourite Instagrammed moments and the story behind them.

Image

First love, first date. As if he wasn’t already feeling on cloud nine, the photographer’s girlfriend caught him off guard with her first declaration of love on the sandy beaches. What better way to lock this moment of happiness than with an instant click on Instagram. After all, how many of us actually have a professional camera on standby when caught in such a candid, tender moment.

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From boys to men, truly. Behind this lens was a proud mother silently shedding a tear, knowing that the boy that had once gripped her hand tightly in fear of the big bad world, was now the one protecting her. No matter that the faces were too distant to distinguish the soldiers from one another; the knowledge that her son was among the swell of ranks was sufficient.

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Lemonade, Lemonade! Scarlet’s very first enterprise where in her eyes, the profit was fun and the cost was none. The glee captured so aptly in this shot was an indication of how inconsequential the monetary returns mattered to a child. (A grand total of 65c was earned from that day). Again, it was a mother’s pride, and perhaps some mild amusement, behind this particular lens.

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Of course, what is instagram without the salaciously named “food porn”. This photo differs particularly from the rest because of its blatant absence of attentive plating or fancy dishes. To the photographer, this was worth capturing solely because it was cooked by his mother. Home is where the heart is, and love is the food that mother prepares.`

Far too often, Instagram has been pitted against professional cameras. With filters that work magic instantaneously, it is no wonder that it has become the subject of begrudge for photographers who spend hours coaxing a beautiful picture out of Photoshop. This little dedication aptly sums up my dilemma:

“Instagram”

Instagram oh Instagram

The wonders I see

The filters the magic

All here for free

On Iphone or

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Ipad

now Android too,

Vintage or vignette

and polaroid, how cool!

From cakes to coffee

From sunrise to set

From travels and scenes

To even fat cats

my old friend the camera

isn’t too pleased

he misses the world

which he now rarely sees

I sigh in despair

for torn as I am

The camera’s my first

but love I do, my Instagram!

Yet rather than see the two as competitors, why not see them as complementary instead. For one, Instagram will never be able to replace DSLRs in a professional shoot due to the grainy quality of resized images Also, an iPhone or iPad provides less maneuvering room when it comes to exposure settings, shutter speed, depth of field, and all the other atoms of photography that collectively optimizes the composition of the image. While filters are able to somewhat mimic these settings, they are ultimately preset and cannot be changed.

On the other hand, despite the compromise in quality, it is much handier to whip out a phone than it is to carry a clunky DSLR. The numerous knobs on a DSLR may prove cumbersome when capturing a candid shot; by the time you have aligned the stars the opportune frame might have slipped away.

So professionals, lay down your tripods. Instagrammers, hold the filter. Cease fire. May the two be used in tandem to document the inconspicuous and sweetest moments of life.

By: Jacquelyn Soh

Editor: Cherie Anne Lian


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