Common sense may tell us that social media is detrimental to art and culture or that it cheapens communication. In reality, it just exposes artists, politicians, and philosophers to new constraints that lead to more people consuming new kinds of information.
Take for example: the New Yorker in the summer of 2012. The entire literary community was thrilled and titillated when Pulitzer-prize winning Jennifer Egan tweeted out “Black Box,” a short story expressed from the New Yorker’s twitter in stunningly beautiful 140 character bursts. It was literature 2.0.
Now there’s Instagram, creating a photographer out of everyone with a phone. And through all the foodies and teenaged selfies, Instagramers Gallery is here to help. Two art lovers and tech enthusiasts, Jorge Martinez and Phil Gonzalez, joined forces in the hopes of changing the world of digital photographer and sharing.
It’s a noisy field and not easy to get noticed in the ever-changing world of digital art. So to make a splash, they’re going to give $ 100,000 for the best Instagram of the year uploaded onto their digital gallery and judged by some well-known figures in art. It’ll be exciting to see who they select as judges considering this is the largest prize ever awarded for a digital photo.
Since this is all about connecting to one another, all users can vote. Everyday, the photo with the most likes will receive $ 1,000. While it’s not the $ 100,000, it’s more than the $ 30 I won in a digital photograph contest in high school.
They also have a physical gallery in Miami and are the first art gallery to ever bring Instagram’s content to life. Between Art Basel and Ultra Music festival, Miami is definitely the best place for a project like this—not unlike social media itself, Miami is usually underestimated town when in fact, it is responsible for so much great art and culture, like its metropolitan cousins New York City and LA.
If Miami isn’t enough, their next stop is Madrid, where they’ll open the second Instagram gallery. I can only hope New York isn’t too far behind (or that I’ll end up in Miami or Madrid in the near future?). It’s important to me to see this physical gallery eventually. Instagram takes a physical experience into a digital one and now they’re turning back into physical. Is this inclination—to turn back to physical going to catch on?
It seems so — as the Instagramers of the world have formed over three hundred local groups in sixty countries to meet and discuss photography. Either way, their efforts are so exciting, I think , because it will certainly heighten the quality and quantity of content we’re getting on Instagram– one of my favorite channels. We’re truly beginning to see a convergence of art, digital, and social media. Smile and say cheese—the future of social photography looks brighter than a flash bulb.
Rebecca Dubow graduated in May 2013 from the University of Pennsylvania with a major in English. She is now an account coordinator at New York-based OpenCommunications Omnimedia, a digital content and strategy firm. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccadubow and OpenComms @opencommsomni.