Tag Archives: instagram

Single Image Sundays: Momentary

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Two unrelated moments make sense for a moment here. This is made from a photo of a faux stone figurine of a child sleeping, from Pier 1 Imports, in Greensboro, NC (taken with Hipstamatic John S. lens & Rock BW-11 film), along with a photo of a steel pole with peeling paint in the Church Street Parking Deck, in Winston-Salem, NC. I used Photoforge2 to combine the images via layers. The concept was inspired by my favorite photographer, Jerry Uelsmann.

What do you think? Have you ever combined two unrelated photographs for artistic harmony? What are some examples of this that you find inspiring? Let us hear from you in the comments!

Christie’s CEO Justifies Social Media in 5 Seconds

In an interview with Marketplace, The CEO of auction house, Christie’s, Steven Murphy, put forth one of the best justifications for businesses getting on social media there is. It stood out to me for its utter salience and logic. Here is the exchange:

Marketplace: Christie’s on Twitter? I think the world just exploded.

Murphy: Yes. Well, why not? Our customers are on Twitter. We should be too. Our clients are spending 60 percent of each day online with some screen, so we need to be there too.

Jerry Uelsmann, Untitled, 1969

Who says montages aeren’t profitable? Here’s one offered by Christie’s from my all-time favorite artist, Jerry Uelsmann

Simple as that.

On the surface, a company founded in 1766 wouldn’t seem to be the case study for social media, but if that’s where your customers are — well, that’s a pretty good justification.

Christie’s is also on Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook, among others. I think these highly visual networks are the perfect showcase for the treasures coming through Christie’s that much of the public may never have the chance to lay eyes upon. Check out their profiles for a look at some highly compelling art.

Going once, going twice….

What do you think? Do you know of other companies making strong use of social that might not “fit the mold” on the surface? Ever purchased anything at auction (besides eBay)? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Stylized Instamatic 104

Stylized Instamatic 104 by rsmithing

I dig the convergence of technology and time here in one brief second, now extended to the world and infinity. Here’s a snapshot of one of our modern photographic ancestors I modified with the amazing ToonPaint iPhone app, after shooting with Hipstamtic (a modern-retro simulator, no less). I found the camera at a sweet vintage shop called “Ideas” on Burke Street, Winston-Salem, NC.

What do you think? Do you see a connection between analog cameras and today’s mobile photography? What apps or camera discoveries have you made lately? Let us hear from you in the comments.

What Smartphone Apps Have Changed Your Life?

Has the way you live evovled by way of a smartphone app? What’s a non-standard add-on (besides maps, texting, etc.) that’s changed – hopefully for the better – the way you conduct daily life? Not necessarily saying they’re the very best, here are my immediate top three:

Instagram App1. Instagram

This app has literally changed the way I see the world and connected me with people from all over the globe through a very user-friendly interface, turning ordinary snapshots into art with the barest minimum of effort. I now see the world through “Instagram Eyes” and have gotten so much from what it offers Although the recent spam influx and terms of service update now have me exploring elsewhere, there’s no denying Instagram’s impact.

Dragon Dictation2. Dragon Dictation

This app listens to what you say and turns it into text. It’s like magic. It’s fast, intuitive, and lets you easily email, MMS, or copy and paste what you say. I’ve used it for years to handle texting and  composing blog posts, and it accurately gets the job done every single time. It’s been life-changing by by bringing my phone new functionality with incredible convenience and capability. Now that speech-to-text is built into the iPhone, I’ve been using Dragon less, but they were the ones to get it right first.

Pandora3. Pandora

This is the mobile version of the already robust website, but I mention it here because of how it’s impacted my enjoyment of music. Pandora is streaming radio where you create stations based on artists, songs or themes. It serves up related music, and gets better over time as you thumbs-up or thumbs-down what plays. I couldn’t begin tell you how much great music I’ve discovered this way. It’s a simple premise: “if you like this, then you might also like this” — and Pandora’s highly personalized  approach wins the day for me, even though I also enjoy similar services like 8Tracks. Even TheStreet.com says Pandora has “rendered terrestrial radio, on a grand scale, obsolete.” Consider how long radio has been in our lives as you consider that statement.

What do you think? What apps have made a difference in the way you do things? Let us hear from you in the comments.

The Met goes Online for the Photo-Sharing Masses

Instagram, meet your ancestors: an exhibit’s digital version bridges the generations of old school photo manipulation and our social media-fueled image sharing obsessions.

There’s an astounding display of pre-computer-era photomontage and photomanipulation now exhibiting at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City: Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop. It’s got everything from vintage trickery to surrealist expressions, all done before the advent of digital tools like Photoshop. In a beautiful irony, the exhibition is made possible by Adobe, makers of the Photoshop software.

But you don’t have visit NYC to see it…

What’s amazing to me, and what inspired this post, is that there’s an equally astounding digital representation of the works available for your browsing pleasure – more than 200 in all. Online, for free. Which is pretty darned sweet.

Faking It - Manipulated Photography before Photoshop at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's website.

Click this link at the site and enjoy.

An innocuous “Works in the Exhibition” link just above the fold at The Met’s website takes you to an incredible look at what’s inside. I call it incredible not just for the content (which is beyond incredible to me), but because it exists online for our easy perusal and sharing. I’m thrilled not only to see such amazing art here, but also to see The Met’s embracing of the digital community in order to promote the exhibit.

The site features an elegant photo slide show, complete with sharing functionality to Pinterest, Tumblr, StumbleUpon and other networks. They even offer hi-res jpegs of some of the works for extra-close viewing or downloading via fullscreen mode.

Download select images from the exhibition

There’s an app for that, of course

Perhaps you would prefer to view these works on your iPad? No problem. The free iPad app accompanying the exhibition offers easy browsing of a handful of the included works and an interactive quiz exploring the motivations and techniques.

There's an app for that.The app’s target audience seems to be the kids, and I bet this would make a fascinating case to a young creative mind about the power of photo manipulation as art and the importance of questioning what we see – with the latter becoming ever more important considering the issues raised by digital photo editing and popular notions of beauty.

More than just “fakes”

Long before Instagram or Photoshop, there was darkroom wizardry. What got me interested in the exhibit in the first place was its inclusion of amazing photomontage art from the likes of Jerry Uelsmann (my all-time top inspiration) and Angus McBean:

More than just "Fakes"

Jerry Uelsmann, “Untitled,” 1976.                       Angus McBean, “Christmas Card,” 1949,

In my opinion, the app and companion website add tremendous value to the whole endeavor, allowing people to connect and interact with historically relevant art in ways that are common these days because of experiences like Instagram, Pinterest – and especially Photoshop. Huge props to Adobe for sponsoring this.

Thanks to the Met’s generous actions in the digital realm, I’m even more inclined now to physically visit the museum, see these works in person and probably buy a catalogue in the meantime (and speaking of catalogues, check out these other more than 300 Met Museum catalogues downloadable for free).

Having been a graphic artist for many years, I’ve practically lived in Photoshop as an operating system, and working there is my favorite part of design, more so than typography or arranging layouts.

I’m happy to have signed up for a My Met membership thanks to this excellent digital representation, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of what’s to come – something I hadn’t much considered until discovering the online component of this exhibit. Props to The Met for harnessing and embracing the power of the Internet for cultural benefit. Now go visit The Met’s site, metmuseum.org and discover something cool for yourself.

What do you think? Does such open sharing increase or decrease the value of museum offerings? Or is that a non-issue in our world of mobile photography, photo-sharing networks and interconnectedness? Share your thoughts in the comments.

3 Instagram Alternatives: Beyond Facebook’s Instabillion Buy

Disturbance In The Force

Join me and together we will rule the galaxy!

Did anyone else sense a disturbance in The Force recently?

You may have heard the news: Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 BillionMoves Operations to Secret Volcano LairIgnites Hipster Outrage.

I personally am encouraged by this news, since there’s only so much Instagram’s 13-person operation is capable of, and since their monthly hosting bill alone must equal the GDP of a small country. I think having the vast resources of Facebook will ease more growing pains than it will create, and I don’t plan to change how I use either service, for now anyway.

Instagram’s New HQ (rumored)

That said, this opens up all kinds of questions about whether your Instagram content is now Facebook’s content, if Instagram will now have ads, or if the whole Instagram experience goes down the tubes.

Whatever.

I’m not so concerned, because, simply, Instagram is not the only show in town. It’s service is one of the most streamlined, accessible, and, ironically, the most connected with other networks. I think that’s ironic because it’s these other networks that offer so much of what Instagram already does: easy photo sharing, mobile apps, and interaction with like-minded folks.

These other networks might not have filters at the ready, but most of my photos don’t even use Instagram filters, since there are so many apps far more capable of turning everyday snapshots into appreciable art. And once you’ve become handy with some photo editing apps that suit your taste, here are a couple of other photo-sharing networks to consider:

If you find this useful, share it on Twitter — thanks!

Flickr

While more general-purpose and slightly more complicated to use than other networks, Flickr is a fantastic value (2 videos and 300MB worth of photos each calendar month for free accounts) and has a very robust web interface for organizing your images. You can use collections, sets, adjust privacy levels for each, and plenty more. Just like Instagram, there’s commenting, favorites (likes), followers (contacts), groups, but then there’s still more beyond that. And they have a wacky sense of humor (big points from me for that). The Flickr mobile app is also a great way to browse images and see those of your contacts.

Hopefully, this could be the business model Facebook anticipates, where the service is practically independent from its parent: much-beloved Flickr is thriving, unlike much-cursed Yahoo. It might take a little more searching to find arty pics here, but it’s worth a look if that’s your thing. If mobile art specifically is your thing, you might like…

DeviantArt

No, liking it doesn’t make you a deviant (let’s hope), but DeviantArt does offer an enthusiastic community and tons of content, all sortable and searchable depending on what your interest may be. DeviantArt is truly a social network for creatives, with a slant toward the artistic. There’s not a specific app, but that’s a non-issue, since their ultra-slick mobile-friendly version of the site gives you the same experience and functionality as the full-site version.

I’m already on Instagram; Why Reinvent the Wheel?

Good point. You don’t have to abandon ship. And I, especially, am not eager to learn a new photo-sharing interface just because of an acquisition. But one thing to consider is that unlike many other photo sharing apps or networks, these particular examples are very well-established – either in terms of how long they’ve been around, the depth of experience they offer, dedicated user base… or any combination of these and other factors that are of proven appeal to many Instagramers.

So if you think the party is over for our beloved Instagram, have a look at these other, less-likely-to-be-purchased-by-Facebook networks serving up their own style of social art.

What do you think of Facebook’s Instapurchase? Are you already on one or more of these networks? What has your experience there been like vs. Instagram? Is there another network (not app, but network) you would recommend? Let us hear from you in the comments.

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Macro view of a nail in the laundry room. Shot with my iPhone using a Photojojo macro lens and the Hipstamatic app, using its Buckhorst lens and Blanko film settings. I also raised the saturation and sharpened slightly in Photoforge 2. The untouched version of this image made the honor roll in a recent Instagram challenge, which inspired me to extend from my usual style and see what could be done within the limitations set by the contest, which indeed proved challenging, yet rewarding.