Things Don’t Seem Wonderful If You’ve Seen Them All Your Life

Here’s a wonderful cartoon drawn by John T. McCutcheon back in 1912 that’s just as true today as it was back then. It’s a great explanation for why the “vintage film” look offered by the likes of Instagram has become so popular.

(via @CenturyAgoToday via Laughing Squid)

  • The_photographer_Tom

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head regarding the “Instagram” type effects. I personally can’t see what the fuss is all about as I’m old school in that I’ve been doing photography since the late seventies and earlier, would have thrown away anything with a similar effect.

  • Michael Godek

    spot on….kind wish the vintage film thing wasn’t a fad though….makes those photographers that use the colors less impactful and almost like they’re just a part of the trend

  • Aeiou11235

    Why is the above shown cartoon meant to show “a great explanation for why the “vintage film” look offered by the likes of Instagram has become so popular”? It doesn’t make any sense. Saying so would mean that Instagram either is a great break-trough technical invention (a plane, a car, etc…) – which it isn’t – or that it is wonderfully weird (the goat hitched to a wagon) – which isn’t negative at all. The author along with the commenters so far obviously misread the cartoon by implying something negative. I just don’t find it, could someone explain? 

    As far as I understand the cartoon: it depicts the world of the grown-ups who rightfully admire the latest technical inventions of the fin-de-ciecle only to get reminded by their own little kid that there are things in the world that might not be a great break-through in technical terms but that are still admirable and shouldn’t be overlooked. I can not find any other interpretation.

    Either way: I’m photographing for 25 years now, earning my living with photography for decades, and I must say that I like Instagram and cellphone-cameras in general and even sometimes use them for my own projects. The cellphone-camera as a phenomena is a democratization of photography as it liberates the tools of production and brings it to the masses, just as many other cameras did before that (Polaroid, Kodak Brownie,…). 

    To criticize cellphone-cameras as a photographer is like criticizing the ballpoint-pen as a writer.

  • Christopher O’Driscoll

     as a photographer for over 20 years myself, today it seems any one can pick up a camera and be a photographer, such is the technological age we live in. Moreover, they dont even need to be good, technology will fix and enhance it.

    As for the cartoon, I think because of the times we live in, we no longer see the marvel in whats new, we take far too much for granted

  • 4dmaze

    Wow, there were colored movies in 1912?

  • Lukeduo

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  • funzzy anon

    Oh, please.

    Instagram is popular because most of it’s users are self-absorbed hipster douche bags who think automated cross-processing somehow makes them look intelligent and, of course, ironic.

  • MM

    Instagram is popular because it lets any throwaway digital snapshot borrow the dignity and gravitas we associate with old photos.  It doesn’t mimic the cameras that were available in the 70s and earlier; instead it mimics what happens to a snapshot when it sits around for 30-40 years.  I.e., the old photos that Instagram is copying didn’t have that look when they were new.