Once upon time there was a magic box that projected live images onto a flat surface and people were mesmerized. Live action “photography” was all the rage and it evolved. It had the power to change our lives. It told us wonderful stories. It became a massive boon to the entertainment industry and still has the power to capture our attention for hours or even days at a time.
Film is a genre onto itself and it requires a multitude of technology, training and equipment that used to be beyond the average person to attain. With advancements in technology however, and budget friendly options it seems everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to make their own videos. From family gatherings, to your kid playing in the final big game at school, everything is “game” for video. YouTube and TikTok are flooded with videos from the next person hustling to make their mark or be noticed.
In order to keep up with the “Joneses” Instagram introduced a new feature recently called “Reels” (Reels are short 30 second snippets that are heavily promoted over photography nowadays on the platform). If you are trying to grow your following or make money this is what you are being forced into whether you have the talent or inclination. If you are there for the beautiful images and the stories behind them you are going to have to look a lot harder for them.
There’s a saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” and that will never change. The power of a single moment caught in time has the ability to stay with us for the rest of our lives.
Most people are familiar with the iconic image captured of a sailor kissing a nurse in NY when the world heard the news that the war was officially over. That photo has been seen the world over and has since been immortalized in the form of statues and even Halloween costumes. It has even sparked debate and controversy. That’s a pretty powerful thing from just one moment eh?
Back to the Instagram algorithm giving preference to video, scrolling through my feed these days I can’t help but feel as if I stumbled onto amateur hour down at the local speak-easy. Grainy video effects are added to make up for the lack of quality, kids trying their best to impersonate their favourite celebrities or actors, a behind the scenes Photoshop edit on such high-speed that it makes my head spin. People awkwardly trying to dole out advice…It is not an enjoyable experience for me.
Don’t get me wrong there are some incredibly talented accounts out there making mind-blowing video content and those guys are good for a reason – it is all they do. But giving preference to one medium over another is not, in my humble opinion, a smart thing to do.
Now, I don’t use Instagram to gain notoriety or to promote a business. I have no aspirations to work with a brand and I certainly don’t knock those who do. Photography has an important place in advertising, art, music, politics and social media. By repressing photography for the new “Reels” fad is going to temporarily suppress many voices and their stories by not having the chance to be seen. It is going to hurt small businesses.
It is going to kill art.