“Instagram is not photography… It is not a photograph unless you print it (on paper).” I first heard this idea from André Herman. This sort of photographic traditionalism or conservatism employs a subtle metaphysic. How could this be true? It is true in the sense that before photography not every portrait was considered a painting. A certain intent and symbolism is required to transform a portrait into a painting.
Yet there is more than just a classical metaphysical distinction between a portrait and a painting, and a mobile snap and a photograph, respectively. Social media and consciousness of an audience is always in the background. A mobile snap cannot be divorced from branding, marketing and technology as well as the quotidian Zeitgeist of the Internet.
A photograph will lack the enumerated background of a mobile snap but invites the pantheon of traditional critique and avant garde institutions.
When I create a photograph, given that I learned photography in the 1990s, I am always comparing it to the masters. My photographs are always already – to use the Heideggerian phrase – not good enough.
When I Instagram, big data analytics comes into play. I can always do better through social media optimizations. It doesn’t have to be art.
Betty 1998 by Gerhard Richter