Subjects and Styles in Instagram Photography (Part 2)
This is the second part of Lev Manovich's book "Instagram and Contemporary Image." All book parts are being published on manovich.net as they are completed. (Writing started 12/2015.)
"Subjects and Styles in Instagram Photography - Part 1":
Book Text: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Creative Commons license. Images copyright belongs to their respective authors.
Millions of people around the world today use digital tools and platforms to create and share sophisticated cultural artifacts. This book focuses on one such platform: Instagram. It places Instagram image culture within a rich cultural and historical context, including history of photography, cinema, graphic design, and social media, contemporary design trends, music video, and k-pop. At the same it uses Instagram as a window into the identities of first truly global generation connected by common social media platforms, programming languages, and visual aesthetics. The book also demonstrates how humanistic close reading and computational analysis of large datasets can work together by drawing on the work in Manovich's lab with 16 million Instagram photos shared in 17 large cities worldwide since 2012.
The second part focuses on the “professional” and “designed” photo types. Both are examples of what Alise Tifentale calls “competitive photography.” The difference is whom the authors compete with for likes and followers. The authors of professional photos aim for “good photo” aesthetics established in the second part of the 20th century, so they compete with other authors and lovers of such “classic” aesthetics including many commercial photographers. The authors of “designed” photos associate themselves with more contemporary/hip/cool/urban/slow lifestyles and corresponding aesthetics, so this is their peer group on Instagram. I analyze aesthetics and content of designed photography to show how talented young creators word wide explore the affordances and limitations of Instagram medium.