Just three years ago, the word "Instagram" was unheard of. Now, it's nearly impossible to log on to Facebook or Twitter without seeing a mass of photos that have been- yep, you guessed it- "Instagrammed."
Like other social networking applications, Instagram rose to fame relatively quickly. Founded in early 2010, it reached a million users by that December. As of April 2012, there are over 30 million users. But what exactly is Instagram?
Instagram is essentially a cross between Photoshop and Facebook. Like Photoshop, the app's focus is solely on photography, and it offers a limitless number of effects. However, it's also a social media device. Instagram offers the ability to share any photo with anyone, at any given time. Want to upload a new profile picture to facebook? Done. Sending a funny picture to a pal? Easy. Uploading an artsy photo as your iPhone's background? Simple.
What's unique about Instagram however, is that it allows anyone to take professional-looking photos for free- no fancy equipment required. Now, amateur photographers can take photos that appear to be done professionally, without hiring someone to do it for them. In fact, most Instagram photos are taken directly from an iPhone or Android phone, skipping the digital camera entirely. Usaing effects like "Sierra", "Inkwell", and "1977", users can transform a simple snapshot into a work of art.
With all of this in mind, it's obvious that Instagram has left its mark on photography. But has its tremendous impact helped or hurt the world of professional photography? On one hand, apps like Instagram have made more people become interested in photography. On the contrary however, the simplicity and professional-looking quality of Instagram means that there is less need for camera equipment and professional photographers.
One way or another, Instagram is changing the world... one photograph at a time.