Recently Instagram has updated their app to compensate for landscape and portrait photographs. It’s been a mixed bag of reactions across the internet. Some people are loving this new flexibility, no longer flocking to apps like Squaready and Whitagram to gain a wider perspective on things. Some people believe it’s to compete with other social media platforms like my friends over at PetaPixel who recently posted an article by Paul Melcher (click here for the article) explaining this. But for the people who dedicated their lives to the square crop, squeezing as much as they can into the frame or simply adapting their shooting style to compensate for Instagram – this update sucks.
Unfortunately, if you rewind back to July where I spent a month in Japan shooting the streets I would’ve been in the last category of Instagram-users.
It’s not surprising that social media has influenced the way we think and perceive the world. Hollywood for example has been compensating for this change with on-screen text messages in films. I personally have a little section in my brain that imitates Facebook. Sometimes I scroll through my entire friends list in my mind when I’m trying to remember someone, it’s actually quite useful for storing information. But as a photographer, Instagram was something that my mind was not ready for.
Instagram influences you to see the world through a square. When I was scrawling through the streets of Tokyo I would look around and compose my shot so it could fit perfectly in a square. Without that square crop the photo looked like trash. By limiting my perspective to that square I left things out that would’ve made the photo more interesting, the smaller details, the bigger picture.
As a creative, you must train yourself to look at things in new ways. Be inspired and then use the inspiration to your own devices. But when you are constantly bombarded by information, images and trendy shots that Instagrammers all do (legs hanging off a cliff or building shots), finding new perspectives on things can be quite difficult without making a direct copy of that person’s shot.
It was at this moment that I realised I was a square…
So I decided to take a break. Put the camera down, put the iPhone down, see the world clearly for a moment without crops or constraints. Only then was I able to pick up my camera again and actually appreciate all that space that I neglected. It’s crazy how something so small as an app can massively influence your creativity and the way you think. An excess of access to creativity can be a bad thing.
oh look it fits perfectly into a square.
But now with this update, I can finally enjoy seeing the world in the way my primary school bullies told me… widescreen. All jokes aside though, I’m really loving this new update and forgetting about fitting things into a square or even having my shooting style compromised because of an app. Besides, there are some things in this world that are worth the entire view.