As a company, Facebook has quite a prudish mentality when it comes to art and creative works in general. This is why we have campaigns like "Free The Nipple," because Instagram doesn't really seem to appreciate art. What's worse is Instagram is now targeting images they consider "fake," which includes composites and works of a surreal nature.
One could quite effectively argue that this latest move from Instagram is censorship. It may not be intentional; however, the people behind this decision must have understood the implications of this action. As a platform that is predominantly for images and photographs, I find it difficult to believe that they didn't realize how this would impact artists and creatives.
If you click on the above post, you'll see how and why Instagram is hiding this particular image from mixsociety_. The changes made to this image aren't even that extreme: the colors have been adjusted for creative effect, and that's pretty much it from a "factual" standpoint. If this is all that it takes for Instagram to want to hide an image, then it looks as though plenty more creatives and artists will be affected.
Art Isn't Necessarily Factual
The fact that anyone needs to point this out to Instagram demonstrates just how out of touch Instagram has become from the creative industry and community. Artists that produce wonderful and incredible pieces don't generally operate by trying to be factually correct. That's not how the art world operates. Facebook has become a terrible place to post video content, and now, Instagram is becoming a terrible place to post artwork. The worst thing about this is the fact that as usual, there's very little to no discourse from Instagram to the community.
Art is an expression of our imaginations, and our imaginations are not really supposed to be limited by facts. The Birth of Venus isn't factual, neither is Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, but we celebrate those works because of how impactful they are. If it was up to Instagram, those masterpieces would be hidden away for not being factual. It's simply incredible to me that a platform that's was specifically developed for photography is censoring works of art because they don't qualify as being a "true."
The worst thing about this is the fact that this will more than likely stick. It's extremely unlikely that Instagram will change its mind on this move and ultimately, it's going to hurt creatives and artists. Photographers like Erik Almas are one of my all-time favorites, and he produces incredible composite works. Many of his images would not qualify as factually correct based on Instagram's standards and could be at risk of being hidden away.
Of course, I'm hoping that this is merely an overreaction from me, and this is not something that's going to harm people who put time and effort into their art. Unfortunately, I'm not entirely optimistic about this move from Instagram.
Photoshopping an Image Is Not a Bad Thing
If you think that Photoshopping an image is a bad thing, then it's probably because you don't know enough about the subject. I understand that I'm preaching to the choir over here, but even within the photography community, there's this undertone of disdain against Photoshop. Getting it "right" in camera is not a real thing.
Over the last few years, there seems to be this sentiment building against Photoshop, that somehow an artist that produces an image using Photoshop is "cheating." Works that take a great deal of effort to produce get casually dropped into the "oh yeah, but that's Photoshopped" folder as if they're not meant to be valued. The same individuals who comment in such a way are probably not capable of producing something similar anyway. They treat Photoshop as though it's tracing paper, as though there's some template people are using to create all the works they have. Click a button, and art just appears. The skill and dedication required to be able to produce incredible works of art in Photoshop are genuinely beyond me, but I appreciate the effort and talent required.
I can understand that there may be situations where people have taken things a little too far with Photoshop. A classic example is where someone is retouched to a point where they no longer look like they actually do, and to some extent, I somewhat agree with this. Having said that, why is retouching demonized, but applying and wearing makeup is completely reasonable? Why is a heavy filter on Instagram that makes you look different completely acceptable, but Photoshopping is terrible?
Instagram itself offers you the tools to make your images look false and fall into the non-factual category. Even still, this hypocritical manner in which Instagram is operating in is nothing more than virtue-signaling .
I understand that we've all probably seen an image where the edits have taken a wrong turn. Compositing the milky way into an image shot at midday is probably not going to get the best of reactions. My favorite one to dislike is where a huge moon is added into an image. I get that there are plenty of unsightly and badly Photoshopped images out there that we wouldn't consider art. The thing is, we can't use those "bad" images as examples or a way to prevent the works of the many talented people that use similar tools.
In my view, I think Instagram has taken action just because they want to seem like they're doing something as opposed to doing something that actually benefits the community.
This is just another step for Instagram to find its way atop the pile of mediocrity that it itself has been cultivating.