Instagram is Just Paying Lip Service to Photographers


While I was posting a series of photos on Instagram, a message appeared: “This would make a great Reel.”

Would it really? So I bite, select “Try it,” and it then takes me through to a bizarre TikTok-style edit of my photos with an annoying song playing over them.

Erm, no thanks.

Instagram head Adam Mosseri said just two weeks ago: “I think we were overfocused on video in 2022… we’ve since balanced.”

Have you?

I don’t think anything has changed at Instagram since it declared itself “no longer a photo sharing app” two years ago. My feed is still mainly video and all the suggested posts from random accounts I don’t follow are always Reels and never photos.

Wary of the backlash, Mr. Mosseri, the face of Instagram, is now making a series of statements claiming the Meta-owned company “pushed too hard” into videos and most insultingly of all said, “photos will always be part of Instagram.”

It’s like someone is breaking up with you for someone else and them telling you, “But, you’ll always have a place in my heart.”

Please, you’re dumping me because your head’s been turned (in Instagram’s case, TikTok) and you want to pursue the shiny new thing.

It is my humble opinion that Instagram has absolutely no intention of rowing back on video and will continue to “rank” Reels in people’s feeds far more than photos.

Please don’t insult photographers Mr. Mosseri by paying empty lip service to us, we know where we’re not wanted. Since Instagram wants photographers to make videos so badly, then we may as well do it on its rival TikTok.

Privacy and geopolitical concerns aside, at least with TikTok everyone knows the score. There was never any option to post photos on there and, actually, there is a thriving photo community on the platform.

But still, how is it that the greatest medium of them all — photography — doesn’t have its own major social media platform in 2023? What are the alternatives?

Twitter? It’s for smart alecks and maniacal billionaires. Facebook? Maybe, not really. TikTok? It’s kind of difficult to get along with if you’re over the age of 22.

There are of course stellar photo platforms such as Vero, 500px, and Flickr… but they simply don’t have the same gravitas as when the still image was king of Instagram.

The search continues for photography’s new home on the internet, but Instagram will rue losing photography far more than photography will miss Instagram.