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Influencers Are Abandoning the Instagram Look (theatlantic.com)
167 points by cageface 20 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 123 comments



> In fact, many teens are going out of their way to make their photos look worse. Huji Cam, which make your images look as if they were taken with an old-school throwaway camera, has been downloaded more than 16 million times. “Adding grain to your photos is a big thing now,” says Sonia Uppal, a 20-year-old college student. “People are trying to seem candid. People post a lot of mirror selfies and photos of them lounging around.”

What I find interesting is that "making your photos look worse" isn't new at all: it's the foundation of the "vintage" vibe that filters have been emulating since the beginning. So what's actually new here is the kind of imperfections being introduced.

It makes sense: as media capture reaches maximum fidelity, creative expression increasingly involves the purposeful choice of infidelities. Imperfection has always had a place in art, but usually it involves failing to avoid a natural mistake; for modern digital media, on the other hand, it's about subtracting from perfection rather than failing to reach it.

EDIT: Thinking about this further, it's possible that I'm focusing on the wrong thing... perhaps the dominating factor is nostalgia, which just happens to involve "imperfections" in this case because the target of the nostalgia is a medium (photography) which has been undergoing an improvement in fidelity. For all I know, perhaps one day the dominating aesthetic will be driven by nostalgia for "boring" filter-free high-fidelity images!


I worked in over 10 films as a camera guy/DOP. I think what grain can really do, is to give you the feeling you are looking ONTO a picture rather than INTO a world. They might not know it, but by using this aesthetics, they say: look at the picture of me, rather than "look at my world".

Nostalghia might be a factor for sure, but the driving factor is materiality. Many of us grew up in a very material world, this included film and photography. Everybody tried their best to make the media invisible (get rid of vinyl crackle, tape saturation/noise, colour shifts of badly treated optochemical films, glitches in maladjusted VHS heads, etc.) Today it is the polar opposite. Because the digital image can be so perfect, young people feel the urge to give it materiality, they add vinyl crackle to their music, they imitate the mistakes of old technology to make what they do something you look ONTO rather than INTO.


This was a very profound perspective, thanks for sharing from your film experience.


> It makes sense: as media capture reaches maximum fidelity, creative expression increasingly involves the purposeful choice of infidelities.

This reflects what occurred in European art from the 1850s through the turn of the century: paintings becoming less “pixel perfect” as Realism [1] gave way first to Impressionism [2] and then to Expressionism [3].

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realism_(arts)

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism

[3]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expressionism


I take a slight issue with initial description of Realism in the wiki article. Realism was much more grounded in depicting real life, real people, instead of kings and wars and Jesus etc. It was much more of a socio political statement than just "painting things as life like as possible".

The paintings were still very staged and stylized. (I have an MA in Art History which really helps centering Div's with CSS)


The rise of impressionism and expressionism was because of photography actually. Photographs took the role of painters to reproduce perfectly reality.


This reminds me of a quote by Brian Eno: "Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit - all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart. The distorted guitar sound is the sound of something too loud for the medium supposed to carry it. The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them."


Popular music had its moment like this in the sixties, with albums like Sgt. Peppers— suddenly all that activity in the studio became less about reproduction, and about creating _a_ production. The final audio that was listened to by consumers was not something that had ever been performed and might not even be performable. All that filtering and multi-tracking might or might not constitute inserting "imperfections", but it's definitely creating something well above and beyond what was actually played live in front of a condenser mic.

Nowadays we take all this for granted, when even rom-coms go through extensive computer work for colour correction to change the time of day, and other digital additions/removals. But I think at the time it was a big deal.


And then, in the 70s, smooth mellow yacht-rock with perfect feathered hair and perfect multi-tracked vocal harmonies gave way to the intentionally flawed and hyper-naive sound of punk. Punk was a breath of fresh air for anybody fed up with the suffocating blandness and sterility of over-produced perfectionism. Authenticity became the thing.

Not coincidentally, these kids embracing this new style today are the children of Generation X who created punk, while millennials who favored the "Instagram style" are the children of yacht-rockin' boomers.

It's science.


Yacht Rock happened after (and during) Punk. Punk was more of a reaction against Prog Rock.

Incidentally, Generation X didn't create punk, that was the later baby boomers.


> Yacht Rock

Learned a new word today. Not that strange, considering that this term apparently wasn't coined until 2005.


Are you insinuating that The Beatles' Sgt. Peppers is anything short of perfection?


Haha, of course not.

But it's relevant that the last Beatles tour was in summer 1966, and that album came out in May 1967. The Beatles were fed up with stadium acoustics and screaming fans and whatever else, but definitely a part of it was simply the reality that Sgt. Peppers could not be performed live with the technology available at the time.

It's interesting to see how modern artists like Moby tackle this issue— basically they create their music at a computer, and then later on hire a bunch of musicians and figure out how to perform it on tour.


My understanding was that the decision was made to quit touring because they were exhausted by it, not because there were some constraints on what they could record such that it could be reproduced live. But once the live show was a non-factor, it freed the band from that onerous constraint and opened up the possibility of the more densely layered multitrack recording and overdubbing. The result: a record that sounded nothing like anything before it and elevated pop music to a true art form. Some years later, Queen would take the multitrack recording and overdubbing to a further extreme with Bohemian Rhapsody, which they actually did perform live, albeit with the help of recordings.


Are we sure the emphasis on multitrack recording is due to the Beatles no longer touring and not just due to improvements in studio technology? The first Beatles albums were recorded in mono, so there was a lot of technological innovation happening with recorded sound at the time...


We do know that the Beatles were innovators in the recording studio to a greater degree than their contemporaries. Maybe it was a perfect storm; New recording technology arrives just as talented artists with time, resources and influence are ready to embrace it.


Interestingly, The Beatles equipment at Abbey Road was years behind what other bands were doing in more advanced studios. So maybe the imperfection meme is relevant here..


They did the exact same thing with these filters honestly, they got gritty with their sound. Not a bad thing, just a style choice. Distortion, screaming into the mic, the hiss of the amp, all of that used to be combated by audio engineers working in rooms deep underground below the vibrations of street traffic. We have a cultural perspective where we are blind to that change in sound, but my grandma, who is used to Frank Sinatra's smooth voice, told me she never liked the Beatles because she thought they sounded hoarse to her ears.


He can't be.

You do mean the Hendrix version, right?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp9V3D3ufn4


I'm certainly contemplating it's short of Pet Sounds.


> Imperfection has always had a place in art, but usually it involves failing to correct a natural mistake

The question in art is more along the lines of whether you actually want to reproduce, or if you want to interpret. For the vast majority of all history this was fairly firmly on the "interpret" side of things.


Even reproduction involves a fair amount of interpretation. The same camera will yield very different results depending on the skills and priorities of its user. Framing is especially important.


This kind of thing goes back at least as far as Rousseau and seems to go in cycles. I think we're overdue for a new Kurt Cobain to come along and make guitars cool again.


I think you hit the nail on the head with the purposeful choice of infidelities.

It goes beyond photography too. For example, I like producing electronic music as a hobby, and one of my favorite VSTs is RC-20 Retro Color (https://www.xlnaudio.com/products/addictive_fx/effect/rc-20_...) which intentionally adds tape noise, wobble, flutter, and dropouts; things that audio engineers painstakingly labored over avoiding and removing only a couple of decades ago.

Yesterday's distortions and imperfections are today's character and color.


Not nostalgia I think, but a search for texture and warmth. Digital media has a very glossy, smooth, and cool look to it. How ever that feels very mannered and sterile. Imperfections like grain evoke a sense of texture to works that add interest, and noise in general is considered warm. I think people find more comfort and authenticity in those things.

I think if you look at most modernist architecture, you have a real life version of the digital look; you have the glossy, cool, and smooth aesthetic, but they have sort of an anti-human vibe to them. It might be that the influencers are just tired of the mannered look and the implications of it.


Interestingly enough this is not necessarily a inherent quality of digitally reproduced media, also photochemical film tried extremely hard to look as flawless as possible. And a lot was possible. It took colorists a lot of effort to get those colors out to look just right, similarily you could grade a movie shot on a 100k$ Arri Alexa rig to look just like old Eastman or Kodak stock. But when you do, people won't preceive it as digital anymore.

The grain however is the most important thing. What it does for me is it adds a certain distance to the thing happening. It is a constant reminder that you are looking onto a surface and not into a window. Maybe it is also about emotional distance to remind yourself: "it is just a image".


I'm surprised that the article nor comments mention Lomography. When Instagram came along, the Lomography aesthetic was a major influence. I guess it goes in cycles.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lomography


I think technical people have a bad habit of conflating fidelity with quality. There are many Hollywood tent poles that are no where near as interesting or fun as “Who Killed Captain Alex?” https://youtu.be/KEoGrbKAyKE


I'd argue that the vintage filters are why Instragram became popular in the first place. The internet wasn't short of places to share your pics at the time.


Plot twist: Instagram makes all pictures look like crap by limiting their resolution.


Re: going out of their way to make their photos look worse... make your images look as if they were taken with an old-school throwaway camera...

It's comparable to torn jeans. My mom would say, "We spent a lot of effort to keep our clothes clean and tear-free, and now you guys pre-tear them."


Basically this, but applied to visual medium: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/649039-whatever-you-now-fin...


> It makes sense: as media capture reaches maximum fidelity, creative expression increasingly involves the purposeful choice of infidelities.

Same thing with mass produced vs man-made products.


case in point: the resurgent popularity of lo-fi hip hop, which heavily uses harmonic distortions and phonographic imperfections as a sort of mood/atmosphere setter


I take my selfies with a Camera Obscura. You've probably never heard of it.


Since most phone cameras already reverse the image when shooting with the front camera, you decided to take it one further and go inverted too?


You mean you aren't faxing your phone screen to yourself?


So the over-edited atheistic is over, but the fake candid atheistic is in? But the true content stays the same - more beautiful people trying to convince others they need to buy products to become that beautiful. I've used ig since the beginning and it's only getting younger, thinner and more on the nose. A lot of my friends have serious body images because of who they follow (even their own friend circles have a weird competitiveness about it).


Yeah, two out of five "authentic" pictures showcased have almost the same weird leg-up pose that definitely didn't happen by accident.

But I guess authentic is always appreciated, but not something you have free access to if posing for pictures is your job.


Not that I want to encourage the sort of behavior described in the article, but the leg-up bit may just be a case of convergent evolution. The ladies pictures are trying to show off their shoes, which doesn't work well without a leg up if you're taking a selfie.


> more beautiful people trying to convince others they need to buy products to become that beautiful.

Pretty much, but you can score lots of swag and make a living for a little while. A friend of mine was an "influencer," and it sort of blew my mind how much money and free stuff companies would throw at her. Of course every other aspect of it was utterly toxic, from the need to constantly pose for and post suitable photos, to the relentless positivity in the comments, to the nasty feedback from people who were jealous or judgmental. It's basically just being a small-time celebrity: fun for a little while, but don't try to make a career out of it.


I think you mean aesthetic, not atheistic, unless you are suggesting that it is due to a change in their beliefs?


I’m a bona fide by birth member of this generation and I feel lightyears out of touch with it. Or maybe the way it’s described in so much reporting so often just results in an eye roll of complete jaded disinterest and mild cynicism.

Makes me ponder sometimes if the phenomenon happens across other generations or if the ever present nature of having everyone’s “stuff” so accessible online merely amplifies this sense of generational malaise.


That's pretty typical, because the "generational" stereotypes are nearly entirely nonsense. What percentage of "Generation X" actually went around wearing flannel and rolling their eyes all day? How many Boomers actually wore tie dye every day, smoked pot, and lived in free love communes?

Generational characterizations exist solely to sell books, write silly columns, and make older people feel justified when they dismiss and disrespect the younger people.


It's an American thing. Many countries don't have such named generations and corresponding stereotypes. I'm Hungarian and we do have "old people" stereotypes but no named list of generations.

When I hear this Gen X etc stuff from the US, it feels a bit like horoscopes...


For the recent generations, with some limited exceptions, it pretty much is.

The early named ones were based around major social/economic issues that influenced them as they grew up - WWI, Great Depression, WWII - and then Baby Boomers created a sort of wave pattern in the population that made for easy groupings into the future.

That wave pattern has since become much flatter, if not disappeared completely, but the idea is pretty appealing so it persists. You will occasionally see it start to break down though, for example with "Millennial" being split into young and old.


But then it would be surprising if the emergence of a new medium for everyday social interaction doesn't count as "major social/economic issue" that creates just such a wave.

So yes, I'd expect the "millenials" to be different. I agree with you though that "Gen X" etc. are just a smooth and unremarkable cultural evolution from what began with "Boomer" parents.


I used to be able to roughly group American pop music trends by decade. It was never perfect (the '60s and '70s weren't THAT different from each other, compared to all the other decades) but it was useful. In the 2000s and 2010s it really seems to have broken down though, which is evidence for your theory.


As a non-American, I'll second this. We do have older people talking about how promiscuous the new generation is (for any age "older people" and "new generation"), but that's about it. There's no generation labeling, and it does feel a lot like horoscopes.


> and make older people feel justified

I think it's mostly this.

Let's not forget though that the generational dismissal sometimes happens in both directions, eg. those tie-dyed boomers cut their hair and voted for Reagan, now they sit around and complain about the young types for not affording a home, unaware of how easy they had it and their role in wrecking the system. (These are a few of the stereotypes anyway.)


It cuts both ways. When I was younger (I'm in my 40s now) I did plenty of my own complaining. It's pretty natural for younger people to be poorer: they had less time to accumulate wealth. It's also pretty natural for generations to complain about each other. Other people pretty much universally see 20-somethings as total shitheads, because that's what they mostly are. I say this with full understanding that I too was a shithead in my 20's, and I'm still a shithead to an older, wiser person.


Stereotypes in general exist because a 'sufficiently large' percent of a population abide them. What sufficiently large means is not easy to define, but it's not like they're completely arbitrary. Look at one important thing you're doing, perhaps not consciously, in your comment. You chose to focus on physical expressions (wearing flannel, wearing tie dye, smoking pot, etc) as opposed to ideological views or values and characteristics. Reality can often get in the way of expression so by referencing it alone you substantially undercount 'adherents.'

For instance one of the stereotypes of millennials is extreme narcissism, but this doesn't necessarily manifest in everybody having some social media account where they endlessly post selfies of themselves. Though, at least in this case, the number engaged in that behavior alone probably justifies the stereotype. And by contrast boomers were most well known for, in general, a rejection of traditional views and values. The success of the civil rights movement alone testifies to the widespread nature of this change in the zeitgeist.

Really though you can perhaps see this even more clearly by looking how much the US changes its zeitgeist just about every 20 years:

- Roaring 20s - Warring 40s - Peace and Love 60s - Corporate 80s - Identity Politic 2000s - ?? 2020s

Of course there are many exceptions to these sort of characterizations - but that's what stereotypes tend to be: things that hold true, for a 'sufficiently large' chunk of a population. That of course does not preclude many people not abiding the stereotypes.


> one of the stereotypes of millennials is extreme narcissism... And by contrast boomers were most well known for...

You gotta be kidding. Narcissism was the defining characteristic of Boomers and still is.

They can’t stop taking about a music festival 50 years later for god sakes, there are literal museums[0] devoted to their nostalgic youth fashion and lifestyle choices.

And don’t get me started on their “everything has to stay the way it was when I had a young family” approach to urban planning.

[0] https://www.bethelwoodscenter.org/the-museum


> What percentage of "Generation X" actually went around wearing flannel and rolling their eyes all day?

Um, basically all of us?


> What percentage of "Generation X" actually went around wearing flannel and rolling their eyes all day

I was born in 1980 so I’m not sure I’m gen-X-er (I’m pretty sure I’m not a millennial) but I’d say that for my generation wearing a checkered shirt at some point in their youth/adolescence was a rite of passage.


I recall two flannel phases in my (1979) life - grunge and hipster


> I was born in 1980 so I’m not sure I’m gen-X-er (I’m pretty sure I’m not a millennial)

So there is the "Xennials" micro-generation, so we can be a little bit of both :-)


Heck I’m wearing flannel right now

Here, have an eye roll ;-)

and get off the lawn i don’t have because the Boomers are hogging all the housing...


> How many Boomers actually wore tie dye every day, smoked pot, and lived in free love communes?

I thought they hung out at burger joints and necked in large finned cars in drive-in theaters. (Think Grease, Back to the Future and Happy Days). Or is that the silent generation?


All those were set in the 50s, the boomers were born after the war in 1945 at the earliest (this one is fairly well delineated, compared to the other generations). So that's a previous generation.


Who are the most well-known boomer characters in the media? John Rambo and the cast of FMJ?


You might have a different taste in media from the American public, but it's surely Oprah and Trump. For fictional characters, maybe the cast of Cheers? Or Seinfeld?


Seinfeld is a boomer?! Holy crap, he is 64 years old, I thought he was an early Xer.


"hey look how prideful I am in being out of touch!"

Senators feel the same way when they brag about never having sent an email


Looking at the aesthetic, it seems like it's just another cultural shift towards faux apathy and cynicism in response to a preceding culture that tried too hard to be perfect. Just like grunge followed 80's consumerism and raw punk responded to overly produced sounds in the 70's, this is a reaction to the professional consumerization of instagram. If these looks succeed, they will be copied, taken mainstream, and made nauseating until new "young people" respond with opposite styles again. Round we go.


Like a certain group in the 80's once said "big wheel in the sky keep on turnin'"?


So much this. Someone needs to poll millennials to show this. I've never had avocado toast, and when I hear "Instagram influencer" it either comes across as "marketer"(/model) or someone who is spending way to much time online.

And let's edit our photos a different way — so they seem genuine. Oh, the irony.

And half the time all I want are shoes or clothing that fit, and often that criteria eliminates 95+% of the stock stores seem to keep these days.


> half the time all I want are shoes or clothing that fit, and often that criteria eliminates 95+% of the stock stores seem to keep these days.

I feel you: have wasted many hours the past two years in clothing stores to discover nothing fits (in ways that can't easily be corrected by tailors).

Haven't managed to buy much new clothing in the past few years because of it.


>I've never had avocado toast,

I thought that was just something older people say to explain why young people can't afford homes, while avoiding the fact the old are eating the young.

"oh you can't afford rent? , better stop with the avocado toast silly millennial"


Back in my day "avocado toast" was called bruschetta and nobody gave anybody shit for enjoying it, gosh darnit :P


I know exactly what you mean.


[flagged]


Most of those names imply other character traits, not just a sense of generational malaise


This article feels like an advertisement for Emma Chamberlain.

This whole "influencer" IG culture is like fast food - no content or substance. It does seem like we may be hitting some kind of peak as people realize that devoting one's time to following random strangers' vain photos on the internet doesn't actually increase one's well-being.


It just demonstrates in spades how out of touch the marketers, brands, etc are with reality. The "new" influencers are the teenage/early college women that are hot. That's why they have a "following". There's nothing else to it. The older ones are tripping out of the most desired demographics because they are in their late twenties. That's why the "old" style is out.


It's not just the "influencers". It's the entire media system. 99.99% of traditional media and social media are just fillers with no substance or value.

And we are nowhere close to peak. Look at the hysteria developing on traditional media and social media for the pending "royal" birth.

But then again, who am I to judge. I'm on a social media complaining about social media.


> 99.99% of traditional media and social media are just fillers with no substance or value.

I absolutely and completely disagree with you here. 99.99% media is filler? Just look over the things you read through out the day and tell me it doesn't have more substance than a picture of a girl in an obscure outfit captioned "it's cold outside today".

Today I read about game of thrones theories about newest episode, read news about a terrorist being stopped in France, upcoming events in my town, checking what people selling on facebook market and what's the current employment state in crypto world etc. etc. I can actually explain substance and value in all of these posts. Can you explain value in the instagram post? Other than some questionable social-well-being-acceptance pseudo-science?

To claim that 99.99% of all media and social media is like the absolutely absurd instagram influencer posts is just completely and utterly silly.


I wonder what you read if you think nearly all traditional media is filler with no substance or value. I pay a dollar a week for NYT and I still feel like I'm stealing from them.


I have mixed feelings about this "influencers" phenomenon. On one hand, one might say these people really don't add any value to one's life and as a result, we should design mechanisms that rids the social media of such phenomenon.

On the other hand, in a free market/world people are free to do whatever they want and follow whomever they find interesting. So, maybe it's just another "phase" of human evolution in the bigger scheme of things; one that should be experienced by a few generations in order for them to really realize what's important and what's not.

Ask yourself this: how were all these foods invented thousands of years ago? People probably died of suddenly eating something they were not supposed to consume, and through trial-and-error, they finally realized what's healthy for them and what's not. The "Influencers" thing is just like that, only this time it deals with peoples' minds rather than their bodies.


Absolutely. Every Tom, Dick, Harry, and average Joe is a self-anointed so-called life coach, fitness and nutrition expert, relationship expert, financial expert. I don't use instagram but twitter is crawling with these mediocre poseurs.


This article has cherry picked these photos, if you look at Emma Chamberlain's instagram for instance you will see many 'typical' instagram photos that you would see on a girl with millions of followers - it's just that they are occasionally interspersed by a silly photo of two.

https://www.instagram.com/_emmachamberlain

There's nothing wrong with that this of course, I have no problem with people posting whatever they want. I just think the article is overstating the shift in content.


Yep - just took a look and there is a lot of stuff there that is clearly staged and not at all "candid". Like she is sitting on a basket ball net 10ft in the air in perfect lighting from 3 separate angles, followed by another post of her and someone else wearing matching outfits and doing that vapid mouth-slightly-open distant-stare pose (again from multiple angles).

So candid. #nofilter.

It's fine - I've not got a problem with someone wanting to have their photo taken. But trying to pass that off as anything different than what has gone before seems disengenius. Sure, perhaps the style of photos have changed, but then styles and fashions have always changed in everything from clothes and houses through to pets and holidays.


So the same cycles of fashion and pop culture continue as they always have. What used to be shiny, colorful and crisp should now be dull, muted and soft. What used to be big should now be small, what used to be soft should now be hard, what used to be refined should now be raw, etc., etc. ad nauseam.

One thing we can be sure of, it will be back (before going away again only to return)


Better would be to say: “the Instagram aesthetics is changing”


more like one part of instagram isnt into the "intagram aesthetic" ig is too big for these clickbaity headlines to represent the entire platform


Are


aesthetics | iːsˈθɛtɪks, ɛsˈθɛtɪks | (US also esthetics)

plural noun [usually treated as singular]


Spending your days to appeal for likes on an imagination-based platform seems a little excessive. A great example of how a platform could be used for something great, but isn't.


One of my passions is restoring, upgrading and modifying old computers and games consoles. I'm very active on IG sharing pictures of my work - and they're generally not very good pictures! I couldn't care less about likes and followers (I have about 700 followers and my posts typically get less than 100 likes) but I have met a lot of likeminded people on there, bounced ideas off of each other and had lots of inspiration for future projects.

My posts have even lead to the odd DM conversation with a minor industry "celebrity" or two - Id Software's John Romero and the British tech journalist Jason Bradbury being two recent examples off the top of my head.

I suppose I just wanted to share an example of the platform being used for something other than shameless vanity. It's nice to know that I'm not alone in my weird hobby and there are plenty of others out there. Of course a forum might be a better place to discuss these things, but Instagram is very quick and easy.

That said, even in the retro tech circles there are the girls whose feeds are endless poses with their boobs hanging out holding an N64 controller and somehow have millions of followers...


This is literally their job in some cases. Once they have a sufficiently large following they start putting out ads and getting sponsorships. Presumably it's a form of artistic expression, although I cannot claim to truly understand the appeal of their content.

There are certainly cases where I could see it becoming a real problem, especially for younger people. However, nothing stops you from using the platform for something great! Be the change you want to see in the world.


Well people get payed enough to afford 1.5k apartments in west LA


The best use I've found for it is figuring out which of the people I know are fake, shallow and attention starved... and then avoiding those people.


Cat memes


> She says wall photos had become boring to her audience anyway, who are more interested in entertaining Instagram Stories than flat photos.

So it seems like the goofy Snapchat posts have taken over Instagram walls organically after Stories was introduced. Bad for Snap I guess.

To elaborate, Snapchat was all about My Stories, with no way to add still pictures to a wall. Now, look at Balenciaga's Instagram profile, which could as well be snapshots taken mid-Snaps.


This is the most non-story story I’ve ever read. Instagram has nearly a billion users. So there’s a segment of those users that seems to like a certain aesthetic. Great. There are millions of other users who have other aesthetic preferences.


Annoying how the article is illustrated with different Instagrammers than those cited in the article.

This Instagram thing operates at different levels, I live near a popular photography spot for selfies due to the awesome view. That isn't going to ever become unpopular. However, 5 - 10 years ago you wouldn't have had people doing selfies there with the posing that goes with it. People would have once taken a picture of the view, not a picture of themselves that just so happens to have the view in the back. This is what has changed with Instagram and social media. What was people's outlet for this casual narcissism before?


If you're uploading more landscapes than selfies I'm going to unfollow you. Few people on instagram understand themselves as photographers or visual artists and so the most interesting subject naturally is themselves since they have priority access to that.


That's just another iteration of the pendulum between candid/staged photography. It's basically been going on since the beginning of photography, but the author seems oblivious to that?



Interesting, I just realized that I am emulating 1860s pictorialism, instead of 1860s limitations in technology for vintage photos.

That's hella meta. But I can also accept being a pictorialist, as much as an impressionist isn't just emulating a vintage style but is subscribing to an entire genre.


There's definitely a niche waiting to be filled by AI-generated Instagram influencers. #thisinfluencerdoesnotexist



This article, its protagonists and the whole influencer-industrial complex is the height of vacuity.


In the right mindset, this article reads like excellent satire.


Nathan Barley.


I started on Instagram back in 2012 doing the daily photo competition with my DSLR. I lost interest after a while. Reading this article, I cannot believe the platform has turned into that.


It really hasn't, it's just one corner of it. Binned away by hashtags. The photography community is still absolutely massive. Memes are probably the biggest sector by %. Personally I only follow people I know and nat geo, so I only see these when I accidentally slip my thumb and tap one in the search page.


They are trying to be authenthic and natural, because the "Instagram influencer" became a cultural trope thats too easily recognized(a polished walking ad): they are pretending to be indie, quirky and non-mainstream - capturing the DiY aesthethic to use as prop to establish their "common man" persona.


Seems to me its mostly a case of kids being kids. How many 15 year olds are going to have "hauled DSLR cameras to the beach and mastered photo editing to get the perfect shot."

There's the usual counter culture vibe of trying to be different but if you tried for a bad pose with a bad filter that's not any different than trying for what was a "good" photo 5 years ago.

tl;dr 80s pop is out. Its all about 90s grunge.


It is expected to see changes in fashion over time. Pinterest isn’t going to die because peoples’ tastes change, and neither is Instagram.

I also expect to see changes in social network. It’s unlikely that Instagram will be on top in 10 years, although it could definitely be another app/network/format owned by Facebook.

Anectodally, I’ve only used Instagram to promote my art and to network as a hobby with other people who like photos of desolate abandoned-looking buildings. The usage of people in my network is unlikely to change based on popular tastes.


Trends are cyclical. Something is cool until everyone else does it. Then, kids are rocking Steely Dan again and dressing like extras from Seinfeld. What’s interesting here is how the physical world has been changed by the digital world. You can’t just stick that instagramable bathroom in the back of the closet like it’s a paisley tie.

But I have to agree with the comment that this feels like an ad for Emma Chamberlain, who doesn’t exactly need it, because every other post in my feed is from an Emma fan account.


I'm confused... Huji Cam looks like a rehash of the filters that have been available in IG for it's entire existence. And hasn't the "faux-fi" thing been super hip for like... over a decade now? Granted, hyper-staged photos have also been pretty popular over the last few years but I never thought the "new" style outlined in the article really went out of style.


Maybe I am missing something, but what is an "influencer" really? Last I remember these were called advertisers.


Marketing that pose as authentic is in fashion (I mean this in a Out of Topic way, no relationship with Instagram). In my segment "technical" arguments that present easy-to-believe falsehoods win customers.


To be honest, I can't really tell much of a difference between the examples they list in the article vs. the usual influencer.


Trends come and go, and here it is


I just noticed this when looking at my tabs:

The article title is "The Instagram Aesthetic Is Over".

The document's title is "Influencers Are Abandoning the Instagram Look" (`document.title`).

The document title seems more informative.


Ok, changed.


Ah, thanks. I was mainly pondering why there is a difference.


HTML doc titles are often more accurate and neutral than the visible title on a page, so this swap is something we do often. Why is that? I'm not sure. Since it's mostly the big media properties that do this, it's possible the two are written by different people with different goals.


So, basically, whatever Balenciaga has been doing for quite a while now started to catch on. Who would've thought


What a load of crap. Someone had nothing better to write than a counter argument to a non-argument.

Instagram is a good product and it's gotten to where it is now being a good and clever design as is. Making changes for the sake of being hip is what would send it to oblivion, like many competitors have done and fell.


Since you're just getting downvoted -- the article is arguing that the aesthetic of Instagram photos is changing from manicured tableaux to candids (albeit, it seems, pretty staged candids), not that the platform itself is changing.


ok, thank you for that, I admit I rolled eyes and skimmed that one.




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