Instagram’s regressive aesthetics

I was discussing the other day with a game user interface designer from Edinburgh. Our conversation meandering and common interest for technologies led us to talk about Instagram, and all the cool filters that they allow you to superimpose on your pictures. Well, “cool” was my personal view, my friend, on the other hand, did not seem much impressed by the technology, arguing that he preferred keeping the pristine purity of his shots. Fair enough.

Then, he raised a very interesting point, saying that “Instagram filters offer a way of regressing in the practice of photography”, a way of going back to vintage, dated aesthetics that were, only a few years ago, sharply neglected as outdated modes of representation.

Now, people seem increasingly attracted by these technologies and ways to broadcast their lives and interests. Which benefits do Instagram filters really bring to users? Is it the playfulness of the application? The ability to position oneself in a certain way in the social realm? What do these little square pictures tell about us?

What does this one Instagram picture say about me?

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