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What We Learned This Week: Instagram's "Sensitive" Blurs and New Booking Feature

By David Schonauer   Friday March 31, 2017


Instagram made big moves this week.

And one of them might change how you get photography jobs.

The Facebook-owned platform announced it would add an option allowing clients to “book” businesses from inside the app, without having to reach out directly — for instance,  noted Bloomberg, a person could book a haircut appointment by going to a salon’s Instagram page. The new feature, set to roll out in the next couple months, will give Instagram's more than 1 million active advertisers a more concrete way to measure the impact of their accounts, said James Quarles, the app's head of business. "When someone books an appointment, that's not a 'like' or a 'follow,' that's actual action," he said.

But PetaPixel  was more more interested in the feature’s potential for commercial and wedding photographers, who could now book consultations and new clients through the app. “Instagram may soon become a solid revenue stream for talented photographers,” noted PP.

In other news, Instagram announced that in an attempt to “foster a safer, kinder community,” the app would begin blurring content it considers “sensitive” and requiring that users click through the blur to actually see the image. The Verge  characterized the new feature as a sort of hazy middle ground of censorship.

As we noted  on Tuesday, the move comes as Google faces an advertising boycott launched after brands found their advertising next to objectionable and in some cases extremist content. Meanwhile, noted DIY Photography, Facebook became embroiled in another controversy when it banned a photographer who created a project featuring naked mannequins.

Here are some of the other photo stories we spotlighted this week:

1. The Strange Lives of Captive Polar Bears


Do polar bears belong in captivity? That’s the question pondered by Taiwanese photographer Sheng Wen Lo’s series “White Bear.” Lo spent three years photographing captive polar bears in 25 zoos and other enclosures in Europe and China. The work, noted National Geographic, “exposes the welfare of animals within artificial habitats by observing their behavior.” “I am interested in human-animal relationships in different aspects, and captive animal programs is one them,” Lo told It’s Nice That.


2. Repurposing Historical Colombian Photos

When Bogotá’s biggest tabloid newspaper went out of business, a treasure trove of archival news photos fell into the hands of Colombian artist Andres Orjuela. The result is his series “Archivo Muerto,” on view at Foam Talent | New York  through April 16. Orjuela “repurposes” the images using various types of modification, including  a hand-coloring technique, to underscore their unreliability as historical documents and challenge our assumptions about the truth, noted Alexander Strecker at LensCulture.


3. Photographing Real Women in Recovery


Once she got sober, New York City-based fine-art photographer Rocio De Alba  began noticing women trying to stop drinking or using drugs everywhere she looked — on the news, in film documentaries, and in photo essays. But none of them looked like the women De Alba met in her recovery meetings, noted The New York Times, which spoke with the photographer about “There is a Crack in Everything,” her series of environmental portraits showing a variety of women in recovery for at least 10 years.


4. Don Hunstein, Who Photographed Dylan and Others


Don Hunstein, a staff photographer for Columbia Records whose images of Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Leonard Bernstein, Miles Davis, and other noted musicians were better known than he was, died in Manhattan on March 18 at age 88. The cause was Alzheimer’s Disease, reported The New York Times. “There was nothing metaphysical about what I did,” he said in his 2013 retrospective Keeping Time: The Photographs of Don Hunstein.


5. These Photos Show Butts the Respect They Deserve


The heart wants what it wants, and, we noted, so does the butt. In its recent "Love & Sex" issue, Fader magazine included a story called "What a Butt Wants," which is a guide to butts featuring insights from a masseuse, an acupuncturist, a personal trainer, and an esthetician, along with "the clothes that make every rear look best." To pull off the buttacular layout, the magazine turned to New York-based photographer Caroline Tompkins, who created what The Huffington Post  called a "sex-positive" series.
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At top: From Caroline Tompkins

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