For so many years photography existed solely in the tangible realm of negatives and prints. There was a certain beauty about this era of photography. It was a period of time that Ed Kashi and many other photographers in the world knew and loved. As we still hold onto this very precious and timeless medium, a new paradigm has emerged : the existence of social media and more exclusively, the influence of Instagram.
Instagram is a beacon of light for the photographer. Especially for photojournalists such as Ed Kashi, it has become a way to get the word out on important issues and to promote current projects. This platform is ingenious because a great deal of people have Instagram in the palm of their hands. That’s right, many have the privilege of possessing the lovely invention of the smart phone that allows them to have access to the world whenever they see fit. A photojournalist that builds a following can reach a wide range of people from various locations to tell previously untold stories. In an interview with “wearejuxt.com,” Ed Kashi expresses that, “It’s intoxicating when you think you can put something out in the world you just created and let people immediately, not only see it, but they approve of it, or they like it.” Social media gives the photographer a certain level of power, but it also allocates control to the viewer as not only an evaluator, but also an artist and photographer as well.
While this new modern age is innovative and intriguing, there is something to be wary of when it comes to Instagram. Without the filters of credible publications not all captions can be interpreted as fact. Citizen Journalism has reached a new level of ubiquity, creating a need for the viewers to pursue a system of checks and balances to evaluate information. Although this forum is not the primary source of news, the ability to share worldwide happenings in an instant sparks the curiosity of a dynamic and global audience. This spark can then be transformed into an explosion of knowledge where people are inspired to delve a little deeper into the matter at hand.
While there are aspects of Instagram to be considered and questioned in regards to photojournalism and photography in general, it can not be disputed that Instagram has greatly altered communication as we know it. Who knew 612×612 pixel photographs could have such a monumental impact.
Written by Jessie Alcheh, Ed Kashi summer intern