⟲ Re-Post

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Figure 1: A screenshot of 6 of Instagram’s latest #NoFilter images as of January 17, 2017.
Figure 1: A screenshot of 6 of Instagram’s latest #NoFilter images as of January 17, 2017.

#NoFilter and Jill Walker Rettberg’s “Filtered Reality” from Jan 17, 2017

In her chapter “Filtered Reality”, Jill Walker Rettberg discusses filters as literal, cultural, and technological methods of removal, alteration, aestheticisation, and/or visibility. In doing so, she writes about Instagram’s “built-in filters” utilised to “boost … colours, overexpose the skin to hide its imperfections or give … a retro tinge” (26-27). Interestingly, Walker Rettberg argues that selfies without these filters “can feel too authentic, too honest” (27). Filters defamiliarise and/or “distance” photos from “our lives” (26-27). Intrigued with Walker Rettberg’s argument that filters “show us images that look different than the world we are used to seeing,” I want to put her discussion in proximity to the popular Instagram hashtag #NoFilter (emphasis in original 26).

With over 177,478,244 #NoFilter tagged photos, the use of the hashtag emphasises an intentionally untouched, ‘authentic’, and/or already ‘aesthetic’ image (primarily selfies) in its ‘truest’, most authentic, and honest form (see Figure 1). However, debate arises when viewers question whether a post is actually filtered or not. This has led to audiences catching ‘fakes’ or confronting users who post inauthentic #NoFilter selfies (see Figure 2). With Walker Rettberg in mind, this hashtag and its complications prompt several questions, like:
Figure 2: A screenshot of filterfakers.com, where audiences can ‘catch’ Instagram users who use the #NoFilter hashtag to describe an image, but actually do use a filter.
Figure 2: A screenshot of filterfakers.com, where audiences can ‘catch’ Instagram users who use the #NoFilter hashtag to describe an image, but actually do use a filter.
  • How might the use of #NoFilter demonstrate understandings (and negotiations) of authenticity? Of intention? That is, how and who determine what is or is not authentic about an image? Is it by the person posting and/or by the image’s audience?
  • To what extent is #NoFilter a filter within itself? (See Will Simon’s “On Instagram, #nofilter is Just Another Filter”)

Work Cited

“Figure 1”. Instagram, n.d. Screenshot. 17 Jan. 2017.

“Figure 2”. Filter Fakers, n.d. Screenshot. 17 Jan. 2017.

Walker Rettberg, Jill. “Filtered Reality.” Seeing Ourselves through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 20-32. Springer Link. Web. 17 Jan. 2017.

Simon, Will. “On Instagram, #nofilter Is Just Another Filter.” Big Spaceship. N.p., 11 Dec. 2013. Web. 17 Jan. 2017. Sundberg, Oskar, and Per Stenius. “Filter Fakers.” Filter Fakers. Kinda Like a Big Deal™, n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2017.

 

 

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