Will Social Networks Change Photography?

NYU – New Presence Journalism Intern

If someone asked whether you would want one million “followers” or one million “likes” on Instagram, what would you choose? An artist might choose neither.

The reason for the world’s sudden crave for social networks is tied to our innate desire for attention. In life, we do not often get as much appreciation and compliments. However, a picture on Instagram may receive up to a hundred likes.

Such likes have become our compliments. As a result, today people are posting anything to get their “digital appreciation”. But for the artist on Instagram, this presents a problem of integrity, since now photography is being used as a medium for attention rather than as a medium for art. As the world’s second most popular social network behind Facebook, with Instagram, the act of sharing pictures is becoming more commonplace, but also less meaningful due to the addition of additional captions and “likes”. Photography has now become “social photography”.

Perhaps as a reaction, the app VSCOcam (Visual Supply Company) was created to bring back the focus of beauty and art to photography. VSCO is “not interested in creating another social network,” but hopes to showcase photography without comments, “likes”, and without soliciting huge numbers of followers.

Societal pressures and lack of recognition and appreciation has driven social media to dominate our lives. For this reason, VSCOcam will never rival Instagram in terms of popularity and downloads. However, VSCO showcases the lost art of photography online without being “social photography”. In a world of “likes” and “followers”, VSCO is a quiet, comforting place for artists and photographers.

INSTAGRAM

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VSCOCam

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published: 17. 1. 2016