How Instagram’s Filters Came About

The Fader has published an interview with Instagram founder Kevin Systrom that reveals how Systrom first got into photography, and how the service’s now-ubiquitous filters came about:

[…] my teacher handed me this plastic Holga camera and said, “You’re going to use this and learn to deal with imperfection.” I remember developing the first roll and the feeling I got from the vignetting and the light leaks that came from the blurry plastic lens. That transformed the way I looked at photography—from trying to replicate reality into taking a scene and creating some kind of interpretation of its mood.

Instagram started as a mobile check-in app, but after creating his first filter (XProII), Systrom realized they could do more with the concept. He then began creating new looks and spending a couple hours at a time trying to mimic the look of different photos.

Oversaturated: Is Instagram’s Popularity Changing Photography? (via A Photo Editor)

Image credit: 2011.02.10 Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom by Gerard’s World

  • Kelli

    Cue the parade of “Instagram is for lame faux-photographer wannabe hipster” comments!

    Personally, I think Instagram is a lot of fun, and that’s all that matters to me.

  • Anonymous

    Instagram is for lame faux-photographer wannabe hipsters.

    Follow me on Instagram, user name clancycoop. Kidding.


  • speedmaster

    Great link, thanks!

  • Allan White

    Well played!

    The only photography trend I really abhor is overuse of HDR techniques. Those just look awful. We’ll look back on that in 10 years like we look at heavy star/tint/grad filters from the ’70s.

  • edFox

    10 years? haha.. try like 10 months!