It’s strange how something can go from unawareness to loathing with enough saturation. I was never a fan of filters but I can see why people liked Instagram. It was an easy way to give photos a classic retro feel with warm tones and richer shadows. Some photos filtered through it are nice. But the sum effect of seeing every 10th image run through Instagram is feeling like I just took a time machine back to the 80’s and not in a good way.
Not only is running photos taken on a megapixel camera built into an iPhone through filters that make them look like Florida vacation snapshots from 1979 stupid, but collectively it’s ugly.
Making the occasional music video look like it was shot on an 80’s video camera and then played with a bad signal over an old television is cool. Making every video look that way is ugly and a technoaesthetic breakdown that kills everything that has been accomplished since then.
The occasional 8 bit pixel tribute is cool, but not when every game is an 8 bit pixel tribute. Because 8 bit is limited and so is Instagram. Older technologies limit your range of color and the trueness of the image. It’s one thing to stylize the occasional image that way, but when you stylize every image, it’s not styling anymore, it’s the default look. It’s like everyone getting big hair, not as an ironic affectation, but because the affectation has become the style.
You can still get away with black and white photos because our black and white can do everything it’s supposed to. But Instagram everywhere turns photos into smears of color that date back to a look when image fidelity was problematic.
Imagine 20 years from now everyone is running their 100 megapixel 3D hologram photos through a filter that makes them look like oversaturated noisy iPhone photos from 2012. Wouldn’t that be ugly and stupid?