“If you could be an Instagram filter, which one would you be?” The original Semi-Repeller asked me, but not before first eloquently expressing her interest in Lo-Fi, “It’s bright but also dark, like my insides.”
I could have answered straight away (X-Pro, durrr), but I didn’t. I had to think about what was being asked me of me. I mean really, being asked of me. If I could so accurately identify why I loved X-Pro in an analytical nod to my own personal tendencies, what would that mean? Have we really arrived at a place that allows us to express things about ourselves more wholly by way of an Instagram filter? That’s nuts.
I remembered an uncomfortably accurate article that Hair Pin had published over a year ago assessing what the popular ’90s American Girl Dolls said about their owners and that when it clicked: free therapy.
Do I love X-Pro because it makes my shoes look shinier? Skin darker? The sky above me bluer? Perhaps. But figure the below filter-psychoanalyzation your new-age horoscope, tactfully carving your personality for you, readily appraising what you don’t yet know, perhaps just doing it slightly more accurately with less an emphasis on helping you find (conventional) true love.
Amaro, Hudson, Walden: You, like God (and Henry David Thoreau), enjoy bringing the light–be it into a room, an idea, a conversation, an empty bulb. Your inclinations tend to leave you photographing in the dark, ambitiously awaiting the moments your self procured enlightenment will garner tangible results.
Evidently, you like SAT words too.
Rise, Sierra: Your tint sways more toward brown and yet you don’t accomplish a poignant vintage feel–not the way Earlybird, Brennan or Sutro may, at least. You’re neither here nor there, this nor that. Cryptic, blase and without much heartfelt intent. You are to every reporter trying to write a story on you, a bona-fide nightmare.
X-Pro, Hefe: X-Pro II and Hefe users work from the same camp, bat for the same team, and consistently (albeit unapologetically) indulge in the gateway drug to filtering. It’s a sunny day wherever you live and dammit, Instagram should know. Maybe this will be the day your photo makes it to the popular page, instigating an onslaught of comments that range from “I make $50 a day working from home and usually I don’t share my secrets but today I will,” to “follow for follow? Like for like?” On the rare occasion you may also get, “this scenic view is pussy ass shit.”
Lo-Fi: You’re dark around the surface, bright on your interior–a complex creature with an affinity for criminal TV (Special Victims Unit is already sociopathic child’s play,) but on a completely unrelated note, you also make footwear (and professional photos not taken with an iPhone but filtered anyway,) look great.
Earlybird, Sutro, Brennan: You drink so much coffee your body is becoming immune to the caffeine. A filtered photo isn’t worth your health though (most of the time,) so why don’t you step away from the pot, and focus your attention on the neat series of sharpened pencils sitting on your desk. They’ll look nice in your vintage filter–because that’s what you are, Earlybird, Sutro and Brennan–and speak quite accurately to whatever inklings of the pre-wi-fi life you are trying to preserve by filtering your photos back in time to 1952.
Inkwell: “Not all those who wander are lost.” “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” “Your love is a drug.” “Vaginas are the new penises.” You enjoy filtering a good quote, don’t you? After having spent the majority of your formulative years in the 90s, how could you not? Thank you for so accurately reminding me what some of my deceased AIM away messages looked like.
Valencia: Your subtlety is obvious, disposition admired. You don’t like to, nay, need to show off your photography skills but there is an air of arrogance about you. You stick your nose up at double filterers (screen shots changed everything,) and bask quite deeply in the self-indulgent glory of never having to prove yourself on Instagram.
Nashville: Borders just aren’t what they used to be and you, Nashville, without your highbrow border offer very little. Your effects are decent and amicable: a blue tint with hints of orange hurt no one and sometimes even create the illusion of tan skin but in the grand scheme of filters, no one wants to travel so far across the options when Walden can do your job three times faster and slightly better. You’re kind of like Vogue before Diana Vreeland stepped in.
Toaster, 1977: 1977 user, you face similar woes to those of an Earlybird enthusiast. Though I wasn’t alive in 1977, my mother was and the photos of her teenage-hood suggest more of a Toaster tint than a pale pink one that effectively does nothing conducive to any of my photos. As for you, toaster users, try putting your food pics in Lo-Fi, tell me how it feels.
Kelvin: Are you a Mets fan? Do you eat orange Lifesavers? Filter your photos in Kelvin? You’re a certifiable underdog rooter. Redeeming qualities of your filter of choice include an interesting border but that doesn’t matter considering what was just tackled in the Nashville discussion. Your effort at championing a vomit colored lens will likely see no victory. I did love the shot of your bulldog, Nancy though.
No photo, no filter, The Instagram Lurkers: We see you passively liking other peoples photos and yet when we click your username: nothing. You’re following about 300 people, have no more than 60 followers and the extreme heights of your judgmental nature are more apparent that Jon Hamm’s salami. Yes, you’re afraid to post a picture because people might think of you what you think of them. Tisk, tisk.
And if you’re one of the select few that leave your photos in “Normal,” see: hashtag no filter, I reckon it’s time you revert back to Facebook. You’re cannibalizing the art of cannibalized photography.