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Photo by Griffin Overbye

Not just for photographers

Instagram allows cell phone cameras to replace expensive high-tech equipment

by Katie Braman, staff writer

Photo by Griffin Overbye
Photo by Griffin Overbye

Most people think that being a successful photographer requires expensive equipment. However, famous photographer Ansel Adams, known for his artistic landscapes had a different view.

“When people ask what equipment I use, I tell them my eyes,” said Adams.

You can be a photographer using your eyes, your smartphone camera and Instagram. For people who like to post pictures on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, there is another app to consider.

Simple and quick, Instagram is a fun way to share pictures with friends, family and followers. The process is as easy as 1-2- 3. First, you can take a picture on your mobile device or select a picture from your camera roll. Second, you can crop the photo if you wish and also apply one of 20 special effects that are available. Third, you can put a caption on your photo and then post it.

Photo by Griffin Overbye
Photo by Griffin Overbye

The whole process is complete in a matter of seconds! Once a photo is posted, followers can “like” the picture and make a comment on it.

Launched in 2010, and by the end of its first year it had 1 million users. In April 2012, there were 30 million users. In late February 2013, Instagram announced that there were more than 100 million active users.

Some of the most popular users of Instagram are National Geographic (username”natgeo”), NASA (“nasagoddard”), Nike, Starbucks and The Today Show (“todayshow”).

Many businesses and organizations use Instagram to highlight events, programs or products. Several websites have a link to their In- stagram page on the home screen of their website.

Instagram is a tool for communication, but it can also be used to create art especially by using its special effects.

Instagram is available in the App Store for free. The company focuses on iPhone and Android users to continue to develop its product. Instagram users can make a public account which allows anyone to view posted pictures or a private account which the user can determine who can see posted photos.

Instagram allows you to search for other users and look for photos on a certain topic. There is also a popular page that has the most re- cent photos and it also helps you find users that you might want to follow.

Photo by Griffin Overbye
Photo by Griffin Overbye

The Minnehaha Photography Club demonstrated that Instagram can make art. Their exhibit in September featured more than 200 hundred photos.

“We wanted it to be inviting to as many people as possible,” said art teacher and photography club adviser Nate Stromberg.

The exhibit showcased high quality photographs and the various ways that students explored Instagram.

“The new iPhone cameras are unbelievable and are better than cameras were a few years ago” said Stromberg.

Club members are aware of Instagram’s status in the art world.

“A lot of critics in the art world have been put Instagram down,” said junior Griffin Overbye. “There is a controversy as to whether it really spoils the photo and makes it difficult to tell the meaning of true art.”

Instagram was created with basic communication in mind. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the cofounders of Instagram, gave it its name by combining the words “instant” and “telegram.”

The use of Instagram goes beyond posting personal photographs. It is widely being used in business and industry. Popular brands like Vineyard Vines and Vera Bradley post creative, eye-catching photos to entice their followers to purchase their products.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum are two museums that use Instagram to promote their exhibits and special events. In 2011, London’s East Gallery at Brick Lane hosted the first ever Instagram exhibit in the United Kingdom. The U.S. was not far behind when the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio also had an Instagram exhibition in the fall of 2012.

Given its popularity and acceptance in so many different aspects of our culture, Instagram is here to stay. Instagram is art.

Like an art exhibit, “it is a great way of showing people some of the photography that I have done and it helps me get it out for the public to see,” said Overbye.

You don’t have to be Annie Leibovitz or Ansel Adams to check out Instagram. One thing is for sure, it will bring out the photographer in you.

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