I have a photographer friend who consistently gets flagged on Instagram for posting images which violate Instagram’s terms of usage. The reasoning: he photographs mostly nudes.
Now, the philosophical and legal argument might get long and convoluted quickly. Sure, he has freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but ultimately, you give them up when you agree to use a particular platform. Which often leaves me wondering why he doesn’t move to a platform which is more inclusive (or perhaps more inclusive of the types of images he makes).
The way I’ve told this story makes it sound like an insulated instance between one photographer and Instagram. But that is not entirely the case. I know hundreds of photographers and can recount this narrative dozens of times.
This zealous censorship is also present on Meta’s other platforms, including Facebook. Add to this a flood of ads, and it makes for a social media experience we all engage in, but don’t entirely love.
Over the last few months, Twitter seemed like a very viable alternative as a place to share photography. But, for anyone who has been on Twitter recently, Twitter is all chaos ever since you-know-who bought it.
Sure, I could list dozens of other apps, but for the social aspect of social media to work, there needs to be a community already present. No one wants to talk into the wind. Additionally, for a photography social media app to work, the navigation to share imagery needs to be simple and at the forefront of the app.
Tumblr Addresses Problems of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
Recently, Tumblr announced that it would now allow “…a broader range of expression, creativity, and art on Tumblr, including content depicting the human form (yes, that includes the naked human form)”. What they won’t allow is, “nudity, mature subject matter, or sexual themes”.
But hear me out, perhaps Tumblr is the next big, happy middle ground for all of us? Most of us who grew up on the internet likely already have community there. The platform, for the most part, is intuitive and advertisement free. And almost equally importantly, the navigation to share images is not only very streamlined, but in fact, the platform itself forefronts image-based media.
The thing with any platform is that it can change at the whim of those who run it. In fact, as demonstrated, that has been the case multiple times over. Recently, I have only lurked around a bit on Tumblr myself, but it is an option for those looking for something else. It might be a bit too early to have a more concrete opinion, but is this option akin to returning to that ex we broke up with once upon a time, or will it cause a rush of all the memories and reasons of why we left in the first place?
I don’t actually know. But, sometimes, people do change, and it’s often worth giving them that second chance to see how they’ve grown.