There is no substitute for a "photographer's eye". I frequently go walking round London with a young lady who has a lower-spec iPhone camera but a much better eye than mine. We will often be right next to each other and take the "same" photo, but hers will almost always (ok, always!) be nicer than mine. No amount of filtering can change that. Composition and spotting something interesting is what makes a photo special, irrespective of the buggering around you do afterwards.
But that doesn't stop professional photographers from moaning like stuck pigs:
But every time I see one of these "news images" -- subtly altered to resemble images taken on vintage film stock or using expensive lenses and filters -- I feel cheated. And so should you.I've just, as a confirmed Instagram user, denied that this is the case. I can take hundreds of photos and post them, the filter having lifted the from the banal to the merely mediocre. But to take a true masterpiece, you have to be in the right light, you have to have an eye, you have to still be a good photographer or be very lucky to take a good photo. And, in fact, because Instagram is a one-trick pony, all you can do with it is apply one of a set of filters. I'd actually argue that Instagram makes it more difficult to take a good photo, because of its inherent limitations.
The app photographer hasn't spent years learning his or her trade, imagining the scene, waiting for the light to fall just right, swapping lenses and switching angles. They haven't spent hours in the dark room, leaning over trays of noxious chemicals until the early hours of the morning.
Nor did they have to spend a huge chunk of their income on the latest digital equipment ($5,999 of my hard-earned cash just went on ordering a new Nikon D4) to ensure they stay on top of their game.
The app photographer merely has to click a software button and 10 seconds later is rewarded with a masterpiece.
Professional photographers whingeing about Instagram remind me of the furore when it became apparent to professional journalists that bloggers were writing rings around them. It's easy to write about something after the event, but it's a rare blogger who actually breaks a story. It does happen, and it's probably happening more than ever, but in truth, it's probably less than 1% of all news. Not to be sneezed at, but journalists are still largely breaking the news.
Similarly, a good photographer with a less capable camera and no post-production faffing will always beat a ham-fisted cunt like me, no matter what toys I have. But for me, the hope is that I'll put out something that will raise a smile or lift spirits or something. I'm not looking to change the world. The pros will always have the edge, and people like Nick Stern should really loosen their ties before the blood flow to their brains cuts off completely.