Lileks on the Horror of Instagram

I don’t normally comment on clearly not-long-for-this-world aesthetic fads, because that would require me to care about them, and I have very little room for Caring About Things after I’m done damning the Proggies and congratulating my own cleverness. But the Internet’s reigning King of Nostalgia is able to marshal sound and solid arguments against the lameness:

This isn’t even about using the filters that crappify the image; I’ve used 70s filters, but only when I take a picture of something that looks like it’s straight out of the 70s.

Otherwise: no. 1) It’s anchronistic. It takes something contemporary and makes it look as if it’s old, which it cannot possibly be. That computer, that dog, that iPod, these things did not exist then, so a faded picture of the items makes no sense. 2) the faded look is not a result of an aesthetic choice. It’s just the product of time and decay. The only reason it sums up some vague sense of nostalgia is because you’ve been told that’s what old photos looked like. They didn’t look like that at first. In fact they were quite colorful, and didn’t look as if they’d been dipped in urine for a week. 3) It puts distance between the viewer and the image. A good black-and-white photos from the early 60s, say, connects immediately, and if you’re aware of the passage of time, it’s because of the clothing or the setting. A faded picture makes you aware of the passage of time because of the condition of the image, not its content.

Nostalgia may be experienced legitimately. It should never be manufactured.


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