KEVIN SYSTROM, a 26-year-old Stanford graduate who had recently left Google to launch his own tech start-up, was walking along a Mexican beach with his girlfriend in 2010 when she delivered some difficult news. She just couldn’t see herself ever using “Codename”, the photo-sharing app that he was working on, because her smartphone took such bad photos. A mutual friend of theirs somehow took great shots with his phone, despite its poor-quality camera, but hers always looked rubbish. He simply uses a digital filter to make his photographs look better, Systrom explained.
“Well, you guys should probably have filters too,” his girlfriend, Nicole Schuetz, said. Codename became Instagram, and on 16 July 2010 Systrom uploaded the first photo, a sandy-coloured dog and Schuetz’s sandalled foot snapped outside a taco stand in Mexico, which he then automatically enhanced with the app’s X-Pro II filter.
With the right filter, everyone can feel like a professional photographer ….
“How Instagram Transformed Our Personal Lives” (Sophie McBain, New Statesmen, July 8, 2020)
METERED PAYWALL (4 articles per month, registration required)