Stand up straight. Tilt your head. Smile a bit more. Pose with a fat friend. Wear sunglasses. In these and other ways we try to make ourselves look better as we stand before the reflector of truth, the illustrator of occurrence that is the camera.
But what if, by some electronic spectacular, there was a surefire way for all of us, even that freshman who still looks like Frankenstein a week after Halloween, to look like the Venuses and Mitt Romneys (a natural pair) of the world? Funny you should ask, for I know just such a mechanism, and it’s available on an iPhone near you—Instagram.
Through its plethora of filters, Instagram evokes the vivid colors and tactile textures that reflect what you’re really feeling about your subject. The love between you and your girlfriend submerged in the Hefe filter will generate an army of jealous exes just like the Toaster filter can make a HUDS beef fajita fettucini look like Jenna Jameson-quality food porn—still old, but you’d go for it anyway.
Instagram allows even the most amateur photographer to be an Alfred Stieglitz or a Cindy Sherman. It represents the democracy of a once highly-labored art form—and don’t we love democracy? Instagram will eventually become a part of our heritage just like baseball, apple pie, and George Washington. Speaking of which, wouldn’t the big G look even badder if Benjamin West had used the Walden effect on “Crossing the Delaware”?
So now, I implore you to embrace your inner artist and become the photographer you never thought you could be if not for your smartphone. They say the camera adds 10 pounds, but Instagram can add anywhere from five to 50—depending on filters.
Bonus: Instagram is owned by Facebook, which was invented by a Harvard student, which we are now, so we’re basically all part-owners! Own it.