Flickr//Susanne Nilsson

Is Instagram the Future of Art?

As technology continues to pervade all aspects of our day to day life and augment our experience of reality, Boar Arts consider both the potential and the limitations of Instagram as an artistic platform.

For: ‘Nothing short of Art’

Instagram and other social media platforms is an inescapable part of modern life. Launched in October 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, it has become hugely popular, with over 700 million users. people tend to be far more selective about what they put on Instagram. The significant amount of editing that goes into an Instagram post means that it could be considered an art form in the modern day.


Instagram offers users a great deal of potential; accounts can be personal, business related or a celebration of someone or something. For many users, the time and commitment that go into making the perfect Instagram post, as well as the accompanying caption, means that a certain amount of creativity and flair is needed. Ultimately, Instagram means that you can express yourself and your passions in a creative manner, and transform regular photos into works of art. Having your account on ‘public’ also invites people you’ve never met to share your passions, spreading ideas and appreciation for the art of photography.

users have to think outside the box and embrace new ideas

The word ‘aesthetic’ is thrown around a lot in relation to Instagram. A feed’s ‘aesthetic’ is improved by the use of themed photos and filters. Users are encouraged to consider the colouring, theme and lighting of their images in order to achieve the best ‘aesthetic’. In order to achieve the maximum number of likes, users have to think outside the box and embrace new ideas and ways to take a photo, encouraging perfection and high quality photography.


It is easy to see the difference between an ‘aesthetic’ and carefully-crafted account and one that has had minimal attention paid to it. The fact that photo and video-editing tools and features are so accessible and free to use allows everyone to have the opportunity to demonstrate their individuality and creativity. It has also means that more people are taking photography up and are considering elements such as ‘lighting’ and ‘angles’ when taking a photo. In short, the use of colour, lighting and arrangement on certain Instagram feeds means that they can be thought of as nothing short of art.

Hana Irene Ali


Against: ‘A tool of cultural capital’

Instagram is undoubtedly the future of photography; an incredibly accessible and instant route into the world of art. However, the manner in which we display art upon social media sites, as a means of fashioning an identity, is a reflection of the insecurities which our culture instils. These Instagram posts devalue the very art which they claim to be celebrating.

 Pablo Picasso once said, ‘art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life’, but is this true when those who observe such art are constantly looking for the perfect angle and caption, neglecting any emotional connection?

the number of likes on a post is not a reflection of the worth of the piece of art

 Instagram, and the false identity construction which it facilitates, is a perfect example of the narcissism of our online, social culture. Art has become less an object of deep admiration, and more a tool of cultural capital; the sheer notion of ‘art’ is used to showcase our own conception of our identity, rather than celebrate the specific significance of the piece itself.

Rather than providing a collaborative community of art-enthusiasts working in tandem, Instagram has largely been used to puff out our chests. It has become immersed in a dense web of patronage, in which the number of likes on a post is not a reflection of the worth of the piece of art, but rather a product of the ‘connectedness’ of the Instagrammer; how much they support other people’s accounts and therefore, how much of a return they can gather.

Art is about engaging, emotionally and critically, with a piece

The presentation of art on Instagram neglects the significance of the piece, and reduces it to merely a tool of identity construction. The possibility of posting a trendy picture of a work of art, with the hope of gaining over 100 likes, stands in the way of the immersive and reflective experience which art gifts. Art is about engaging, emotionally and critically, with a piece. It can raise a great variety of emotions; from melancholy to serenity and even outrage. Art is provocative, mind-blowing and can often be unsettling, but under platforms like Instagram it is at risk of becoming the equivalent to an accessory, used to illustrate our hip lifestyle and cultured worldview, without a consideration for its history or its deeper message.

Whilst Instagram is slowly negating what makes art so very special, that is not to deny that is has provided greater accessibility, especially for the younger generation, into the world of art-appreciation. However, Instagram should not be considered a constructive medium. The expression of art in this manner has proven to be shallow and to neglect the true value of art, to the very extent that art galleries as famous as the Louvre, can be seen riddled with selfie-sticks, and pieces as famous as Venus de Milo, become simply a background, a curiosity, to the main attraction of Instagram, ourselves.

George Alldred


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