Tag Archives: photography

What Your Favorite #Instagram #Filter Says About You

Normal — You’re an actual photographer. Just kidding. You actual have #NoFilter, brah.

Amaro — Your nostalgia is European, a supercool pretentiousness that’s incomparably aloof, just like that great regard you hold for places that you’ve never been.

Mayfair — You like it when people consider you an artist, and lucky for you, you’re smart enough to realize that a little added shadow and saturation looks dramatic enough to half-do the job for you.

Rise — You refuse to believe that any good music has been released since 1978, even though you yourself weren’t born until 1987.

Hudson — You’re self-conscious because you’re worried that your friends are going to figure out that all you do is use the Mayfair filter, so you feel the need to switch it up.

Valencia — You own a different flannel shirt for ever hair in your beard, which is one for every song ever written by the Decemberists.

X-Pro II — You listened to more rap metal growing up than you’re comfortable admitting, which is why you’re still a sucker for anything with a totally awesome “X-” in front of it.

Sierra — You have a dog, or some other pet that you won’t stop taking photos of.

Willow — You feel like you’re supposed to be using Instagram for things but you’re too self-conscious and afraid that you’re not doing something right simply because you don’t “get it,” so you default to black-and-white so you feel like you’re doing something (even though you’re not).

Lo-Fi — Garage rock bands and the Elephant Six Collective were just as good to you in art school as they are today.

Earlybird — You’ve lived your entire life basking in sun-soaked sepia, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sutro — You care less about pictures and more about telling the world about the totally cool concert / restaurant / tourist trap vacation spot you’re currently at.

Toaster — You’re a Cylon.

Brannan — You’re a challenge-seeker, always looking for something new, so congratulations, you got this far in the filter list, instead of settling for the moderately-less-shadowed Mayfair. So maybe you’re a little darker, too.

Inkwell — You’re trying even harder than that Willow guy to figure what the hell this whole Instagram thing is supposed to be about, so you dig deeper into the filter list, hoping that later filters are cool like deep album cuts.

Walden — You still quote Transcendentalists in your Facebook profile.

Hefe — You’re the boss. Of Instagram, anyway.

Nashville — You’ve never been down South, and you’ve never owned a Polaroid camera, but you think it’s cool when other people have.

1977 — You don’t even care that punk’s not dead, you just want find a filter that no one else is gonna use ’cause you don’t wanna be like all them other poseurs.

Kelvin — You’re rough around the edges, enough that you probably do things like write lists of What Your Favorite Instagram Filter Says About You when you’re not already busy bitching about Thought Catalog.

Redaguerrotyping

She had tattoos of photographs. It was the first thing I noticed. And they weren’t Polaroids either. But her body art was framed like pictures, mostly in landscape, collage’d across her calf like a scrapbook. Frozen slivers of light and time, divided by the rule of thirds. You could tell that whoever took the originals knew a thing or two about composition. Or was it the artist who arranged the images in just that way? I thought perhaps that they were photographs that she had taken as a child with a cardboard Kodak camera. The pictures came out sloppy, clumsy, but the memories were true. In this way they were immortalized with the Lichtensteinian precision of a needle by a steady hand. These instants that once left their scars within her, now scarred her from without. Sure, the details of the moments may have changed as she looked back at them, but they were frozen now the way she knew them, the way she wanted them to be. If the pictures changed in the translation from celluloid to ink, did the moments change, too? Did her memories, or more, like a butterfly in time? Did the essence, or the purpose of the pictures change? Once they were honest and real, specific instants of light, captured and kept and then brought back to life in a chemical bath. Now in this new medium, they had become something else entirely. Did the tattoo artist play the role of translator, or adaptor? Both rely heavily on interpretation — it becomes his perception of her moments, of her memories. Of her life. The back of her leg had become a strip of film, unrolled and exposed, and I couldn’t help but wonder where the negatives were, and what they looked like in their sepia tinge. I tried to read their story the way that I read comics, a sequential narrative postulated in the panels, but she walked away too quickly and so the page was turned. I finished my lunch and went back to work.

Disjunction Junction

I’d like to say that the picture surprised me, but that sentiment would get us off to a bad start. It would make me sound dishonest, and that lack of trust is hardly the kind of thing on which to build a healthy relationship (we’ve got to at least get past the introductions before I start lying to your face, and there’ll be plenty of time for that). No, the centerpiece of Carey’s opening was really more vapid than anything else. Sure, it was violent and surrealist, and this was all good and shocking at the exact moment that I laid eyes on the frame, but after that, it just felt stodgy. Mundane. I went from “Oh my God!” to “oh,” in less time than it took to blink. It was just the kind of thing you’d expect her to do.

“I really wanted to do something personal this time,” she explained at the gallery. “There’s such a disjunction between the artist and the art, and I wanted to find a way to bridge that gap.” Disjunction? Who says that? “Even with self-portraiture, there’s this like, disconnect, because you frame the shot, but the camera actually takes it—but it’s automated, ya know? It’s a machine—and then you have to develop the film, and I wanted to find some unity in the process, and explore what it means to be an artist in a post-analog society.”

She went on to explain that the whole idea came about when she accidentally cut herself in the dark room. She was struck by the idea of a photograph that literally bleeds, so after the film was developed, she decided to make it happen. From what I understand, she made a solution of epoxy and her own blood and applied it directly onto the finished photograph with a paint brush. She then sealed the picture in an airtight frame just as it begin to congeal; rather than allow the mixture to harden, she wanted to capture it while it was still fresh and alive and actively bleeding. Apparently, this now qualified her as a multimedia artist.

The picture, she said, was intended to illuminate the violent discordance between youth and adulthood at the onset of puberty. The childish subject of the photograph epoxy-bled from dozens of small holes on its back, while long green grass blades penetrated its rough, synthetic skin. This was supposed to be phallic in some way, something about nature and rape and nurturing matriarchal conceptions in an otherwise patriarchal something something. I don’t know.

I decided to ask the question that I think was on everybody’s mind: “So…why’d you take a picture of a Chia Pet?”

Afterward, I apologized, and told her that I’d had too much of that free champagne they were passing around so readily. This was a lie, of course; I didn’t have a single thing to drink the entire night. Mainly because I didn’t want to sleep with her again, but I lied about that part, too.