Instagram, the free iPhone photography app that's grown like a weed, has a lot of both fans and critics. Some critics allege that the app's photo filters ruin perfectly good images and will be looked back at later in the photographer's life with regret. Surely there are some great photos on Instagram though, right? I've seen some great stuff posted by others in my experience using it. I wish I was a better photographer myself so I knew how to use the app better.
One group of fans in London believe they've learned to use the app very well and they've gone from geographically nearby to each other, to having regular in-person meetups to what's now perhaps the next logical step: their own gallery art show. Here at ReadWriteWeb we love democratized publishing online and we love art, so we had to take a look at MyWorldShared - a gallery show of Instagram photos that opens in London on October 22nd.
"My World Shared captures the concept of Instagram," the group says, "to record in images our world around us, our lives, our outlook, our views, and share that view with the rest of the world. It is an individual view, but one that others can relate to, like postcards from a friend."
Instead of postcards from exotic far-away places though, Instagram photos are often taken from right nearby your home. You've always got your phone on you. If you see something visually interesting - why not record it in a snapshot? It's an interesting intersection of ideas: Unusual sights, but in the usual places, perhaps with a slight tweak of a color filter and often of things that other people pass by regularly. It's a system of visual interpretation that anyone (who has an iPhone) can participate in.
Is this some kind of symbol of today's celebration of mediocre, unconsidered, shallow, frivolously decorated amateur art? Not if it's curated well! If most of the content on Instagram brings joy to no one but the people who post it - so be it. But the large body of images that the app makes easy to create are clearly leading to some great photos.
Why not put the best of it in a gallery? There are certainly Instagram users here in my home town of Portland whose work I would enjoy seeing printed large and on a wall.
I don't know if MyWorldShared is the first Instagram art show but I'm sure it won't be the last.