Among the many discussions of where photojournalism is headed, one common theme is what happens when anyone can take a high quality photo, will there still be a need for photojournalists? So what I want to focus on here is Instagram; only a sliver of what’s happening in modern photography.
It’s hard to predict the future, and even if our formats change, photojournalists will always be needed. What is most important is to embrace the change.
Instagram is complicated in that it in no way is replacing photojournalism, but instead is a way to enhance it. Still, not all Instagram photos enhance photojournalism. An instagram doesn’t work without the mind of an actual photographer behind it.
Today, National Geographic has an Instagram, making their already popular images more popular. This is an example of embracing the change. They’re showing sneak peeks of what they’re shooting in the field, often without using Instagram’s filters. This never would have been possible in the film days. It’s not hurting their craft, and not saying that every Instagrammer slapping filters on their food and sunset shots will be the next National Geographic photographer. (Although, who knows?) But the point is, Instagram isn’t so bad, it’s part of shaping how news fits into social media, and part of shaping photojournalists in the modern world.