Is Social Media Ruining Our Photography?

The ways we present our photographs to the world have significantly changed over the last decade, with social media platforms like Instagram becoming the primary destinations for a ton of photographers. They bring pitfalls with them, however, and they could be seriously damaging our creative work. This excellent video essay discusses the issues we should be aware of.

Coming to you from Matt Day, this insightful video essay discusses how social media can be negatively influencing our work. The major difference in showcasing our portfolios on social media over a website or in prints is that platforms like Instagram give us feedback from our followers in the form of likes or other similar functions. This can encourage a bit of a vicious circle that chokes our creativity: we unconsciously skew our work to the trends that garner the most approval in the form of likes, we get those little dopamine hits, and we continue to create more work that panders to them. This is partially why we see such a huge amount of very similar images. It is well worth taking the time to consider if you are falling prey to this. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Day. 

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8 Comments

David Pavlich's picture

I'm of the group that photographs things with a real print in mind for the final outcome. Others enjoy the trappings of places like IG. I don't know that it's ruining photography since I still see a lot of really nice work here and other photo sites. And I'll admit right up front, I haven't watched the video yet. Just reacting to the title.

Chris Crafford's picture

I believe that social media on phones has significantly impacted photography with so much "me too" type imagery with limited creativity and variation. Making prints of your work for example will help you as photographer learn more than viewing your work on a phone screen. Find other forums to get feedback on your work and stay away from the very skewed world of streams like Instagram.

jim hughes's picture

IMHO the really damaging, long term trend has been the enormous oversupply of imagery in general. Everyone's drowning in it. Everyone's adding to it. No one needs it on a wall anymore.

derek j's picture

i dont really see how something other people are doing can impact things that im doing.

Tom Reichner's picture

I agree with you.

I already have the kind of image I want to create firmly fixed in my mind's eye. My artistic vision is not affected by what other people "like" or dislike.

I will continue to create the type of imagery that I am intrinsically inspired to create, regardless of whether or not it will garner a lot of "likes" on Instagram or receive a high rating here on Fstopppers.

Ivan Lantsov's picture

if need much validation you not good!

Fred Teifeld's picture

CORRECT!

peter matthews's picture

In my experience its not helpful. So many now producing and sharing images of limited quality ,very high ISO, super quick AI edits getting 000s of likes. I kid you not, someone actually offered me 'Likes' as payment??? When did 'Likes' become currency?
I have a large corporate client that is now resposting IG. images that they've encourage people to tag them on. No one gets paid but both get 'Likes'.Its a Ponzi scheme.