If there’s one thing Instagram has done better than any other platform, tool, or cultural phenomenon that I know if, it's this: It’s brought attention and recognition to some really talented photographers. It’s also helped create a new awareness, and appreciation, for photography.
But the biggest problem with Instagram is the screen. Instagram simply can’t do most photos justice because the screens on phones, iPads and computers are just too small. Screens also reflect light and alter certain colors. The difference between viewing a great photo on an iPhone and seeing a full-sized print blown up on a wall is like listening to a crappy thin mp3, vs. a vinyl recording. It’s a substantially reduced experience.
With that in mind, I just came across Archive-e, a site that offers museum/gallery quality fine art prints, and the selection is phenomenal. They are definitely heavy on the surf/coastal vibe imagery, which is right in my wheelhouse, but there's work from classic American photographers like Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans too. The work that catches my eye though is from contemporary photographers who I've admired for some time, photographers like Morgan Maassen and Wayne Levin, and also the timeless images from some of my favorites like Ron Stoner and Ron Church.
Many of these images, and photographers, you’ve probably seen on Instagram.
You don’t have to stroll into a gallery to find great art, and you don’t have to admire it in the palm of your hand either. Grab a big photo, put it on your wall and let it set a mood for an entire room. Over time you might find yourself drifting into it, gazing at it while lost in thought. Perhaps you won’t even realize it at the time, but you’ll start appreciating the image in a new sublime way. It may even become something of a creative touchstone your eyes and mind wander towards to find calm. And that’s something that just won’t happen on Instagram.