The rise in popularity of social media in this day and age has had a profound impact on the photography field. It drastically changes the function, purpose, and style of photography being taken when pictures are snapped with social media platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook in mind.
Not only has it changed the overall theme of pure photography, it has also impacted the number of people that identify as a photographer, and what exactly that somewhat amorphous term means. Being a “photographer” is no longer a limited and exclusive title, only given to those who can afford expensive equipment or high-quality artistic training. It is now one that spans the masses, which anyone who takes a picture on their mobile device and edits or filters can claim as their own. In this way, the high quality of iPhone photographs has made iPhone photography drastically more accessible. Those without expensive cameras and a range of lenses are able to take quality photographs and capture beautiful landscapes and moments in high definition, without the barrier of expense.
Although the positive aspect of social media is easy accessibility to photography, there are also some drawbacks. Before the rise of social media photography, it was, of course, considered more of an exclusive art-form as opposed to a popularized one. It was one that was considered difficult to master, and accessible to only those with training. This created a high-art genre of photography that was quite exclusive, with only a limited few being able with appropriate equipment and training being able to label themselves as photographers.
In many ways, people view the above scenarios not in a negative mindset. There is, of course, the argument that photography should be created for printing and displaying, opposed to projection on screens. However, the simple argument to this point is that perhaps photography created for screens and social media is in fact a different genre altogether. This concept which, as previously mentioned, boasts a completely different style and function.
The compromise of admitting that they are two different forms entirely grants them both their exclusive spaces to live and grow. This permits space for the high-art form of photography, and the upper-case “P” Photographers, to continue with their livelihoods and creation. This also allows space for the lower-case “p” Instagram photographers to continue on their way, taking iPhone-quality photos that are geared toward followers and social engagement.