social photography after instagram

carriage trade gallery is having its annual fundraiser, which for the past several years has been a show of cell phone photos called "Social Photography"; installment IV opens Nov. 12. I donated (i.e. bought a photo) last year and enjoyed seeing the exhibit.

Possibly the premise is dating as cell phones become smart phones and 3 x 4 inch standard sizes with point-and-hope-for-the-best aesthetics have given way to extra megapixels and more especially Instagram, where every lousy shot can be doctored with "arty filters" to look like a masterpiece.

Instagram is the elephant in the room of Social Photography IV, because of (a) The Kids (who left Facebook for it, in droves, and stayed after Facebook bought it, also in droves) and (b) Richard Prince, who put Instagram front and center in the white cube environment this year. Read Vulture's obsequious review, artnet's criticism, and ArtFCity's follow-up.

Is Instagram social photography? Yes. Is it a wildly successful model compared to say, Flickr's storage bin approach? Yes, it has supermodels artifying themselves and getting mad likes. You might hate this and want nothing to do with it, but you have to acknowledge it's the new normal for passing around photos.