Pre-Distressed Photos

 

Great article today by Randall Armor on PetaPixel entitled Who’s Your Dada? This isn't just another stupid Instagram rant He makes the comparison of photo filters to pre-distressed jeans.

Jeans used to be a journey, not a destination; a promise, not a product. In the way they shrank, faded, and eventually ripped and disintegrated, they reflected the accumulation of our life’s adventures, our authentic experience.

But like so much else in our post-modern smorgasbord of infinite choice and empty meaning, fashion jeans have traded the journey for the destination, the promise for the product. We want our jeans, and perhaps by extension ourselves, to look like they’ve been somewhere without the inconvenience of actually having to go there. We want them to look that way NOW and at whatever cost. With our fashion jeans, we are buying our own back story.

That’s how I have always regarded the manufactured character of Instagram and its kissin’ cousins. Authenticity seems to have become aspirational instead of just a state of being that exists for no other reason than that it can’t exist any other way. Sound familiar?

I'm not against Instagram and other photo apps of its kind, but I do intentionally avoid trying to make a photo appear to be aged when it's brand new. I'm not a fan of fake light leaks on digital photos or the yellowing that comes from years of chemical breakdown creeping into photos of something that happened last week.

I started shooting with film again this week. I'm anxious to see how they turn out, but a large part of the excitement has to do with the process. There's something different about loading the film into the back of a camera and winding each frame forward. Choosing aperture and shutter speed with a chart or a meter. There is an intentionality and an unknown about the process that you can see in the prints. But you see, that's just it. These prints are the result of this process.

I prefer that photos retain the character of the camera and process that produced them. l have to also mention that I do use Instagram and VSCOCam and need to ask you to overlook the occasional slip up if you catch me posting a photo that looks a little too pre-distressed...