That Instagram debate thingy: My take on it.
Short version: Hipsters, stop ruining the world.
Long version: It's not art. It'll never be. I am the last person who would say that tonal adjustments are bad. If you've seen my works, you know I use color toning and contrast enhancements quite liberally. Like here:
...but I have nothing but absolute hatred for someone who uses a crappy phone to generate artificial Velvia slides and such. If you want a Velvia slide, go shoot some Velvia. Oh wait, you don't know how to load a roll of 120 into a back? Too bad.
Contrary to popular opinion, equipment matters at any given skill level. Else, we'd have Eric Clapton playing live shows with a $100 Squire bought on Musician's Friend. Similarly, you'll make better pictures with a real camera than you will with a phone. If your aim is to create landscapes, learn composition, understand lighting, learn to use your film/ digital camera properly, understand what focal lengths are useful, what different "Looks" you get from different formats and so on. Don't be a pretend artist with a pretend camera. Same goes for any other sub genre of photography.,
There are real artists who work their asses off to get great pictures in the can and things like Hipstagram are a collective slap in their faces. Look at this image:
The first time I saw it, it took my breath away. That's an 8x10 sheet of Ektar on a field camera with extensive rise, fall, swing and shift movements. No hipster filter would come close to replicating this. So if you think you are an artist and you have genuine passion for the art, please go learn to use a real camera. And just so you know, photos like this don't happen by accident, they don't happen during "Photowalks". They happen because of careful planning and hard work. Don't believe me? Watch the making of this photo here:
Ben Horne Photography: Zion 2010 (Day 2) (via bensdmkII)
In case I've not driven the point home yet, think about this:
As of a few days ago, Instagram is now worth 12 times as much as Kodak. A hipster app that has spawned an entire collective of fauxtographers is now worth 12 times more than the founding fathers of photography. If you've ever shot a roll of REAL Kodachrome, you should feel sad now.
Think about it.