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Fully Focused: Five years of Instagram and what it has become

Columnist Lauren Bacho discusses her experience using Instagram and what she hopes to see for the future of Instagram.


This Tuesday, Instagram celebrated its fifth year anniversary. According to the New York Daily News, more than 80 million photos are shared per day. Now of course, not all of those 80 million pictures are Pulitzer Prize winning quality, but how do we sift through all of these photos to find the good ones?

Personally, I am very pro Instagram because of the ability to “instantly” post photos wherever I am. I also like being able to use my iPhone as a second medium to shoot for Instagram specifically. I usually try to post a couple of times a week at prime Instagram time to show my followers what I’m doing.

Sometimes I will post photos of me at events because I think Instagram is more about getting to know the photographer rather than their work. It’s a good way to discover photographers and find ways to access more of their work, but a profile shouldn’t necessarily have only journalistic photos on it.

However, the people who use Instagram solely to post pictures of themselves and their friends at the bar do not belong on this social media platform. I have had an Instagram since 2011, or 201 weeks ago according to my first post back in November of that year. I have seen how its users have changed and how the way people use it has changed. It has gone from a small community of photographers, commercial and journalistic based, to a mess of Facebook users looking for another social media outlet to satisfy their lack of self confidence.

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I think Instagram at its roots has a lot to offer for photographers but it is getting drowned out by all of the horrible photos being posted every single day. I have no qualms with iPhone photos when they’re taken with the idea of good photography in mind. I have written previously how to take amazing portraits with iPhones and create good lighting with them and how there are now lenses for iPhones.

If you’re posting to Instagram to explore photography or to use it as another medium for expression then more power to you. We live in a time where photography is more accessible to the average person and Instagram is almost democratizing it. However, too many people think they are a good photographer when all they’re doing is taking pictures of their lunch.

It’s up to us, the users of Instagram, to decide what is worth looking at. Unfortunately, too many people like the photos of drunk people at the bars and the dumb things that celebrities post. Instagram could change the face of photography but the mass numbers of people using it to post unnecessary photos with bad filters are keeping it from developing. I’m hoping the next five years of Instagram will turn around and bring Instagram back to the core. I hope to see young photographers changing the game, creating new styles and older photographers embracing that and learning how to take ahold of Instagram and make it a photojournalist’s haven.

Lauren Bacho is a sophomore studying photojournalism and a photo editor for The Post. Do you think Instagram is ruining photography? Find her on Instagram @running_photographer or Tweet her @Visual_Bacho or email her at  


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