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If you haven’t been living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard of something called Instagram. If you have been living under a rock, let me fill you in. Instagram is a smartphone app that lets you apply filters to your photos, and share them with your friends. These filters crop the pictures you take into a square á la Polaroid. They also change the hue. That’s all it does. It makes pictures look terrible, and hundreds of millions of people use it.

The biggest problem that I have with Instagram is that it is simple and unintuitive. All one has to do while “instagramming” is select presets and add hashtags that do absolutely nothing for the photo. This takes no skill whatsoever. There’s no manual mode, nor are there ways to stand out creatively. This lack of options just raises the self-esteem of “instagrammers” who think that the photos they take are art simply because they are on Instagram. It’s the “I do art” mentality that is destroying this planet from the inside out.

On top of that, many of the pictures that go through Instagram are so trivial that the content is void of meaning. Personally, I don’t enjoy seeing pictures of pets, feet, or food with a color palette somewhere between puke and shit.

The sad truth is that Instagram is a great way to share photographs, but the processing of images and results of that processing make it a joke in the world of photography. Instagram is fairly useful for journalists or other photographers who have to juggle a complex array of tools. But these 5% are in the vast minority of users who know how to properly use Instagram. With great power comes great responsibility.

Many of the presets on Instagram give images the appearances of looking “hip.” They add cheesy vignettes and fake-looking borders reminiscent of Polaroids, blur certain parts of images, give tints to the images, and more. What’s sad is that this actually appeals to the vast majority of people, numbering hundred of millions. Instagram is the epitome of superficial, modern conformity. Why do you want to take pictures that look exactly like millions of pictures that other people around the world are taking? Be unique.

When you take pictures with Instagram, your perception of life becomes warped. You start to see the world in terms of photographable and nonphotographable. Your painted toenails suddenly become something more than painted toenails. This is especially problematic because you end up getting the least out of life. You are stuck trying to present your life as an artificial, picture-perfect world, hence the unnecessary and usually bizarre effects. Your toes become your gateway into the world of “art”. Is it just me, or does this sound incredibly stupid? Instagram is basically Autotune in the visual world, distorting your creations and making them seem fake.

Real hipsters use real Polaroid cameras. Wannabe-hipster, 16-year olds with no knowledge of old-school photography use Instagram.

I’m not trying to say that you need a “real camera” to take good pictures. But what I am trying to say is that you don’t need to add horrible looking effects to uncreative pictures to make them look creative. There’s a better solution: take creative pictures and don’t put a horrible filter over it.

Seriously, it reduces photography to garbage. Don’t use it.

Schaffer is a member of the class of 2016.

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