A realization: Instagram filters are the new rose colored glasses. Just like the metaphorical spectacles of old, the app offers a different way of looking at the world – the bright side in fact.
Akin to the pink hued proverb, Instagram cops a lot of criticism for creating a romanticized worldview. My question is, why do we problematize this? Adding a little fantasy to our worldview could actually be the key to creating authentic experiences.
We tend to associate sepia tones with nostalgia. Over exposed, light leaked photographs are reminiscent of the kaleidoscopic properties of memory – oscillating between moments and images in a blink. In our childhood we saw through the same eyes as we do now. With hindsight, the mind’s eye distorts the scale, saturates the colors, blurs some things and enhances others.
Instagram mirrors the visual quality of memory. Therein lies the danger. We humans have a habit of living in the past tense – we try to preserve our memories even as we live them. Nowhere is this more evident than life on the road. Every monument you see is backlit by flickering attempts to souvenir the moment with flash photography. Like alchemists, we try to make our memories into something solid that we can hold on to.
This is the inherent problem of photography: how do we capture the moment without living outside of it? I guess you could say that apps like Instagram blur the lines between documenting and living.
This can be tragic. It can also be life affirming. If we are always looking to document the beauty of the moment, is it less likely that we will let that moment pass us by?