50 shades of Sepia : About instagram and other photo editing tools.


This photo was not taken with instagram.

I have post-edited it with pixlr-o-matic, one of my favourite free desktop applications for easy photo editing.  It’s available on iphone and android also, or simply online.  Photoscape is another one, with many great features.  There are so many!

When I first started editing digital photos, I was just thrilled, like everyone, that I could correct red eyes, crop or reframe my shot and maybe add some contrast or adjust brightness.

Gradually, more software became available to the broad public allowing for easy editing like the complete colour scheme, with filters and lay-ons, frames and gadgets.

Some cameras would have these filters integrated and finally, with the introduction of smartphone applications everybody had access and began filtering like crazy. Snap! and your photo has the warmth and the depth of a vintage shot, snap! and it’s quirky like a hipster Lomograph

But. A word of caution.
My mother was a learned photographer – and we had the best birthday parties when my friends developed their own black and white shots in our sealed bathroom as the improvised darkroom– and once she commented on my heavily processed family shots:

“Cross processing effect, huh ? Yeah, love the punchy colours, just make sure you keep the originals, you might get over it one day.”

She told me how, during her apprenticeship, she and other young photographers would experiment with different chemicals in the lab, and the results were always interesting, and sometimes bizarrely more beautiful than the original photo. Either way, these experiments were reserved to the professionals.  This was back in the 1960s

I am certainly not an iPhone fangirl but i absolutely love how the instagram application now makes millions of people around the world use a camera on a daily basis. They see or seek motives with the intent to expose them, connect and comment – and somehow create art, one square at a time.

But, like my mother predicted, sometimes, there comes a moment were all those warm yellow faces,  the shades of sepia and vintage, they are just not doing it for me anymore. Then I am glad I listened to her and kept the original shots. Maybe now i want the glare of a cinema effect, or a pale, faux b&w photo instead? Not a problem.

Of course there are apps now that allow you to revert the effects – even for photos of others. But I highly recommend to snap with no filter applied and POST-effect on a copy rather than tinting an everlasting memory in the filter of the season.

ps : i am @nikkichrome on instagram and yes, that is a 4 leaf clover. my lucky boy. x


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