Not only is Instagram a full-fledged social network—with users sharing and commenting on one another’s images—but users can post Instagram images on other networks like Twitter, where photos are becoming as important as text as a mode of communication. “Pictures are the quickest way to grasp information,” says Wikimedia Foundation researcher and avid Instagrammer Parul Vora. “There’s a reason our brains have evolved to be more than 30 percent visual cortex.” The 17 preprogrammed Instagram filters are the secret sauce, cleverly AnAlyzing designed to distract the eye from amateur compositional defects by word choice exaggerating colour saturation or introducing flair. “The human desire to As you read, consider get noticed is now very much connected to the technological capacity to make why Jonathon Keats chose phrases like eye something noticeable,” says Andrew Clarke, head of strategy at ad agency candy or secret sauce. Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, where he’s currently orchestrating the U.S. Make inferences about relaunch of Nokia. Filters can make mediocre shots look good and good what such phrases can shots look great, which helps engage strangers. More important, filters alter tell you about Keats. the mood, visually adding layers of meaning. (The ’70s Instamatic colour gamut exudes nostalgia—even for people born in 1993.) You’re sharing not just what you see but also how you feel about it, a crucial element of visual communication previously accessible only to pros with pricey equipment. On assignment in Afghanistan to document the troops’ daily life, New York Times photographer Damon Winter observed the ubiquity of smartphone photography among the soldiers—so he chose to take his pictures with Hipstamatic on his iPhone. Unencumbered by a specialized digital camera, he was able to make social connections with the enlisted men and women and capture more casual, unguarded moments. His choice was validated when a series of these images were awarded third prize by Pictures of the Year International in February. Hipstamatic was just a one-time tool for Winter. But the convenience of iPhonography has proven decisive for reporters like the Times’s Ashley Parker, who supplements her writing on the presidential campaign by posting pics to Instagram. Through these channels, breaking news is folded into the social life of Instagrammers, adding to the communal experience shared at a distance—another upshot of George Eastman’s vision. Eastman’s company ultimately lost that innovative streak. In 1974, a Kodak engineer named Steve Sasson built the world’s first portable digital camera by cobbling together parts scavenged from a Super-8 and a cassette player. Baffled colleagues asked, “Why would you want to look at photos on a TV?” A company that once led a visual revolution got stuck in the status quo and today stands for nostalgia: an app developer called Taplayer now offers a filter that makes Breaking news is folded into the social life of Instagrammers, adding to digital pics look like they were shot with the communal experience, as in this photo taken at a basketball game. a Brownie. NEL The Pocket Camera Moment and The Mobile Photo Explosion 101