Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
A year ago, Fast Company checked in on Instagram, the immensely popular photo-sharing app, nine months after its launch and called its growth “staggering.” That was before Facebook acquired it, this past April, and then, in May, Instagram hit the 50 million users mark. The lesson here? People really love taking and sharing pictures. And they also love filtering them.
But there has been digital photo backlash, especially against those filters that make your photo of your friends drinking beer in the park look like it was taken in 1970. (Even though you were negative ten years old in 1970.) It was only a matter of time before all that angry blacklash was filtered (pun intended) into an app. And now it’s here! Welcome, Normalize.
The creator of Normalize, Joe Macirowski, doesn’t quite bill it as a way to fix your oh-so-obnoxiously filtered Instagram photos in the iTunes store. Instead, he says:
Normalize is the no-button solution to bad photos. No “Exposure” of “Contrast” sliders. No graphs. No color wheels. No confusing controls whatsoever. This isn’t like other “auto enhance” apps.
Whether filtered by another app or shot and turned out yellow or too dark, Normalize turns a photo back into what it’s supposed to look like.
I would venture to point out that if you’re using Instagram, namely the filters, whether or not you are a hipster, you probably don’t find them “regrettable.” Maybe we will all download this app when we are 50? But never mind.
The other interesting thing, of course, is that Normalize is just another app like the rest of ’em — i.e. you/we are still not doing any of the real work! It’s still digital smart phone photography! Another excerpt from the app description:
Normalize is the fast, easy way to bring new life to dull photos! The image-improving techniques used by this user-friendly application make colors more vibrant and hard to see details stand out like never before.
That sounds suspiciously like a filter of its own kind to me.
At this point, Buzzfeed has probably the most interesting take on Normalize, as they’ve discovered how well it works on actual vintage photos. Witness the updating of Andy Warhol, above.
Still, with our old photos getting updated to look new and our new ones being filtered to look old, it’s all getting very confusing. Too bad we can’t write the date a picture was taken directly on the back of it, like my grandmother still does in looping script.
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
What is the relation between possessing a person, possessing their image, and dispossessing their progeny
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.
We cannot be indifferent to the long-lasting effects of photography. The photographs at the center of Lanier v. Harvard are relentless in making Renty and Delia Taylor work and perform as slaves. The pain inflicted on them has not ceased. Photography has the capacity to propagate harm, and we have the moral obligation to interrupt…