Instagram is it denaturing the photograph?
Disney in all its parks since 2015, Coachella in the spring , Milan since the beginning of the summer, bans on the sale and use of selfie poles are multiplying and could appeal to others. If this can make you smile, some authorities see the selfie poles as a real scourge polluting the tourist places. This testifies above all to a new era in which we evolve, a certain narcissism in which it is imperative to put forward on social networks including Instagram. Photography is no longer seen as an art, but as a means of putting oneself forward, so is Instagram distorting photography ?
Does photography want to be narcissistic?
It is difficult to define the photograph or even to give it an original meaning. Let us take again some writings of André Bazin, one of the founders of Cahiers du cinéma . He spoke of “essential objectivity of photography”, that is to say that for the first time nothing is interposed between an object and its representation, the objective is substituted for the human eye. Out, if we start from this principle, the Man is not supposed to see himself, except reflection, he observes the world. Photography would be a way to freeze a scene that is observed. The philosopher Roland Barthes adds that photography is proof that the scene has existed and it is perhaps there, the key to our growing narcissism.
Instagram, the permanent highlight
Through photos, short videos and “stories”, Instagram allows you to put your life on the stage. The holidays can be seen as a highlight, the perfect time to show friends how exciting life can be. The selfie allows us to prove or justify that we are in such a place and that we have lived a particular moment. As 1 & 1 explains on her blog , Instagram’s goal is to search for popularity. The user is therefore in the permanent search for a development by using the image as proof, to finally join the thought of Roland Barthes.
An opposition between artistic photography and the proof of lived experience
The opposition is not always simple and sometimes even these two principles merge. Yet we still distinguish today the photography enthusiast of the person taking a selfie. The difference ? In one case the subject is the place observed, in the other the person being in the observed place. Even without necessarily taking a selfie, social networks have pushed to change the subject of photography, making “me” not the photographer but the heart of the message of photography. It is finally what disturbs the passionates of photography, we are no longer in the capture of the present moment but in a proof of its existence. There is therefore a denunciation not wanting to enjoy but want to be admired.
Social networks have changed the use of photography by developing this desire to put forward. Yet Roland Barthes, 30 years before social networks, had already detected the ability of photography to prove that a scene had existed. Finally social networks have only highlighted a peculiarity of photography but certainly in the service of narcissism.