Editing our pictures is a common occurrence in modern society. Since the new update from Instagram, it is easier now more than ever to edit your photos to highlight a certain appeal whether it be a stellar sunset, or the shadows in the distance… there’s a filter for that. I am just as guilty as the next person, of taking a photo and doing a little something extra to make it my own. However, there is an app developer who wants to challenge this idea. The definition of a filter as described by Rettberg associates itself with removing of impurities or unwanted content. And the app that Joe Macirowski developed does exactly that. His app, Normalize, is supposed to restore photos to what they are ‘supposed to look like.’
He states that, “Instagram certainly isn’t new, and it’s actually an app I enjoy, but every now and again, I encounter a picture in the “real world” (AKA, any site outside of Instragram) where someone decides it’s a good idea to use it when trying to take a picture of something they’re legitimately trying to show,” Macirowski wrote. “Something had to be done.” There fore he developed Normalize. But as the article about the app shows it does in fact have some flaws. As shown in this picture of a filtered sunset, the graininess is removed but the color balance is thrown off because of the temperature and saturation of the photo.
Obviously, this isn’t the way a sunset is ‘supposed to look like’ but it’s a form of expression. It is not up to us to characterize how someone else’s photo is supposed to look on Instagram, but rather it is the freedom of expression from that particular Instagram user.
Instead of forgetting about filters and there ever changing presence on Instagram it is important to appreciate there existence. “Filters can get worn out or clogged up over time, letting more particles through than before, or altering the flow of the water, air, rays or words, mages, numbers and behaviours that pass through them. We can change, clean, adapt, resist or remove filters. But most of the time we simply take them for granted, not even noticing that they are there,” (Rettberg, 22). By using a filter, or choosing not to use a filter we are establishing a language through terministic screens.