Why Instagram Doesn’t Suck.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Sep 5, 2012
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Instagram Husband (youtube.com)


The Instagram State of Mind: it’s Good for Us.

A Defense of Everyone’s Favorite Addictive Hipsterific Everyday Art + Technology Tool.

I respectfully disagree with those who would fault Instagram for “too much bad art.” It turns us all into artists—perhaps not great ones—but active ones, looking out instead of wrapped up in our own self-concern. ~ Waylon Lewis, ed.

Follow me on Instagram at @WaylonLewis

What Instagram is truly about:

I walked out of my house, casually, with my dog—only to see the most incredible lit-up fiery sky in a year, at least.

Instagram moment!

But I hadn’t brought my phone. I jogged back to my house, grabbed my phone—but you know how sunsets are—here now, faded in an instant.

So this is all I got.

A photo posted by Waylon Lewis (@waylonlewis) on

But that’s Instagram—more than just random photoporn—it gives us always an added, heightened appreciation and awareness for the present moment and the world we all share and too-briefly celebrate.

Unlike most technology, it reconnects us to Nature.



About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


20 Responses to “Why Instagram Doesn’t Suck.”

  1. shaydewey says:

    I don't use instagram much but i'd use the instant camera.

  2. oneyogini says:

    I completely agree with this and being a yoga teacher see it along the same lines as someone coming into yoga: if they come into it for fitness or to gain flexibility, I'm okay with it. They may or may not meet themselves somewhere along the way. Same with Instagram – if it brings them into pausing and observing what is at that moment because they can do something cool with it, they may or may not appreciate that moment in time or (speaking as an artist and serious amateur photographer) explore artistic expression further.

  3. Julie Ann says:

    Just like using Word turns you into an author, spell check into an editor, a band-aid into a doctor and a yoga video into a yogi.

  4. Hal says:

    The pictures in Penthouse are art because some of them get a little bit of me outside myself, if you know what I mean.

  5. Kelly says:

    This is kind of insulting to artists that have spent years studying and practicing their art with great discipline and overwhelming financial burdens. Another example of the dumbing down of America.

  6. Otis says:

    Accessibility is NOT a contributor to the “dumbing down” of America, or any part of the world for the matter. An application like Instagram is and has allowed photography to become something that connects the lives of people through personal insight displayed visually. It allows photography to become a tool that can be used by everyday people, and no longer an abstruse trade that enables a select few. It should be embraced, and professional photographers should recognize that many “instagrammers” have approached it wisely, and now have an increased respect for the art, particularily by recognizing good photography in our every day lives. I had a prior interest in photography, which was unavoidable with several photography majors as friends, and with the new wave I now find myself spending hours browsing photography galleries online and reading up on becoming a skillfull photography.

    I love poetry, and enjoy writing it. If millions of ordinary people, who formerly didn’t, began writing poetry everyday, and sharing it with other poets around the world, I would fall in love.

    There is much power in these applications. As a social studies major, I can’t help but to think about how tools like this empower communities and strengthens our ability to organize.

  7. Barbara says:

    I'm more concerned about the dismal state of art education in this country these days and it is getting worse with the funding cuts. Instagram is just a dumbed down Photoshop. A camera phone with some preset filters doesn't make you an artist. Most people want to be artists but few do the work. I agree it could be a gateway into becoming an artist but so was the stick that the Neanderthal used to scrape some shapes in the sand.

  8. tatumann says:

    I believe it was Robert Sturman, an amazingly talented photographer and frequent contributor to ej that said…"Being an artist is 10% talent and 90% being enchanted by life." (RS, I couldn't find the actual post so my apologies if I've misquoted) SO~ I say if playing with Instagram opens up a space for anyone to be more enchanted by life, encourage it.

  9. […] Why Instagram Doesn’t Suck. ~ Waylon Lewis […]

  10. Rodger says:

    Obviously the author has no idea what an artist is or what it takes to become one.

  11. RJay says:

    These “artists” here who are going on about what it takes to become an artist and denigrating Instagram and its users are kind of full of themselves. Sure there’s a lot of crap on Instagram, but there’s also a lot of truly beautiful and artistic images there too. You don’t have to go to art school and write an Artist’s Statement to have a good eye and be capable of producing art that inspires people. And you can be highly competent with a DSLR and Photoshop and still enjoy using Instagram.

  12. Janet says:

    Nobody is talking about education and artist statements here. Just discipline and practice. Using Instagram does not make you an artist anymore then boiling a hot dog makes you a chef.

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  18. Kelly T says:

    If you are confident in your art, instagram is not a threat. Rembrant is not insulted by a color by numbers painting.