Work in progress: The aesthetics of Instagram photography

"Find your own filter":  The Aesthetics of Instagram Photography

I'm presenting work in progress, a research article co-written by Lev Manovich, at CUNY DHI: Building a Digital Humanities Community at The City University of New York, at The City University of New York, The Graduate Center, November 10, 2015. 

In this article, we discuss photography on Instagram, focusing on the aesthetic qualities. While working on earlier research projects dealing with photography on Instagram, such as Selfiecity (2013-2014) and The Exceptional and the Everyday: 144 Hours in Kyiv (2014), we have found out that many Instagram users have a distinct visual style that makes their galleries look coherent, polished, and "professional," while many other users don't seem to have their own style. Some pay close attention to HOW their photographs look, whereas others appear to be concerned only about WHAT is depicted in their photographs.

What does that mean? Is this something new and unique to Instagram and social media photography in general? Can we really speak of "style" as a result of conscious and educated aesthetic choices, or it's just asimplistic manipulation with randomly selected built-in filter? How the appearance of these Instagram styles relate to earlier developments in history of photography? Is "Instagram killing the art of photography" or rather "Here comes the new photographer" again?