Instagram breaks records during Hurricane Sandy

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As we suspected in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, the storm and its aftermath became the most-Instagrammed news event ever with more than 800,000 photos posted.

Gizmodo blogger Sam Biddle argues that it's unethical for people to use tragic events as fodder for their Instagram photos. He says it

"...becomes a gross, crass way for people to shellack their poor taste and poorer judgment across the face of tragedy. The reality of a natural disaster is shocking and compelling enough without augmenting its color. A flooded supermarket or a demolished apartment don’t need boosted contrast. They stand on their own."

Time Magazine clearly disagrees. Photo director Kira Pollack sent five photojournalists out to cover the storm via the magazine's Instagram feed, Jeff Bercovici reports.

The resulting photo gallery was one of the most-viewed ever.

One of the Instagram photos shot for Time Magazine by
Ben Lowy, who worked with Hipstamatic on a lens named after him.

We've written a lot about Instagram previously, including the debate about whether photojournalists should be using filters. Personally I tend to agree with UC-Berkeley professor Richard Koci Hernandez, who said "Photographic truth doesn’t reside in the camera, or in an app, but in the heart and mind of the image-maker."

If you think filtered-photography services like Instagram and Hipstamatic are controversial now, just wait. Nick Bilton reports Twitter will update its mobile apps to include photo-filtering technology in coming months.

Instagram, meanwhile, is growing in other ways as well. Until now a mobile-only service, it will soon roll out its own Web interface with user profile pages and the ability to follow, like and comment via the website.

Earlier: Instagram users were posting 10 pictures of the storm every secondWhat journalists should know about Instagram

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    Jeff Sonderman

    Jeff Sonderman is the deputy director of the American Press Institute, helping to lead its use of research, tools, events, and strategic insights to advance and sustain journalism.


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