What We Learned This Week: Instagram Tells You Who's Getting Paid to Post

By David Schonauer   Thursday June 29, 2017

Instagram’s popularity continues to grow:

As we noted in April, the photo-sharing platform could reach 1 billion users  by the end of 2017, powered by Snapchat-clone features and new archiving tools  that let users hide photos from their feeds. But Instagram’s cultural clout has led to criticism — recently, it has come under fire after celebrity “influencers” used the service to post sponsored content without adequately divulging the fact that it’s paid for, in contravention of FTC guidelines.

As PDN  noted, a study found that 93 percent of the platform’s top 50 celebrities had violated the FTC’s Instagram disclosure rules. This spring the Federal Trade Commission, the government’s consumer protection agency, announced that it had sent warning letters to 90 Instagram users and marketers, reminding them that sponsored Instagram posts must be clearly identified as sponsored or paid content.

This week we learned that Instagram is hoping to clarify who is getting paid to post with a tag that will be available to users with business profiles. The tag, reading “paid partnership with,” is supposed to appear on posts and stories when someone has paid an Instagrammer to feature a consumer product, service, or event, noted Wired. Will it solve Instagram’s image problem? It might help, but, added PDN, the service doesn’t yet have any reliable enforcement mechanism to police pay-for-play on the network.  See our report  on Instagram’s influencer problem. On the other hand, PetaPixel recently outlined  five ways for photographers to land influencer collaborations on Instagram.

In related news, this week we took note of 10th anniversary of the iPhone, spotlighting Motherboard editor Brian Merchant’s new book The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone, excerpted recently at The Verge. In addition, PetaPixel  showed how iPhone cameras have improved over the years and reported that Elle Australia is the latest magazine to feature a cover photo  shot with the iPhone 7 Plus. Meanwhile, CNN explained  how the iPhone almost never happened.

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


1. Luis Gonzalez Palma On His Series "Escenas"

Born in Guatemala in 1957, Luis González Palma  is one of the most significant photographers from Latin America working today, declared LensCulture, which recently talked with the artist about his new series “Escenas.” Each of the finished pieces in the series compiles work from several different photographs into a panoramic format encompassing people and objects, hinting “at a private narrative that floats just out of reach,” wrote Coralie Kraft. “The objects are representations of a history that does not end,” said Palma.

2. Mario Testino's Homage to Helmut Newton and the Undressed Body

Helmut Newton changed the nature of fashion photography. And so, we noted on Monday, has Mario Testino. Like Newton, Testino upended traditional notions of sexuality, eroticism and nudity: Newton was preoccupied with depicting powerful women, and Testino has cited the photographer's important influence on his own work. Now the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin is featuring the exhibition "Mario Testino: Undressed," which explores the notion of undressing in photography and the photographer's own understanding of fashion photography as art.

3. Pieter Hugo On Art and Photography's Crisis

South African photographer Pieter Hugo shot to prominence in the mid-2000s, most notably with his 2007 series “The Hyena and Other Men,” which, he noted in an interview with AnOther, has been repeatedly “appropriated” — for instance, in Beyonce’s “Girls” music video. “I never expected it to blow up like it did,” said Hugo, whose work is on view in a massive solo exhibition  at the Kunstmuseum in Wolfsburg, Germany through July 23. He said he has also learned about being pigeon holed as an African artist.

4. How Irving Penn Reinterpreted Himself

“Irving Penn wasted few days and even fewer images. Over the course of his 70-year career, he often went back to his earlier images from the pages of magazines and reprinted them in platinum, palladium and other alternative processes,” wrote Rena Silverman at The New York Times’s Lens blog. Penn, whose work is on view at the Metropolitan Museum in New York through July 30, was inspired to experiment with alternate processes after discovering early work by Edward Steichen, noted Silverman.

5. Marc Lemoine's "Sad Heart," Made From eBay Home Movies

Nostalgia is a tricky thing: It can be a simple yearning for the past, but, as we noted  on Thursday, it isn't merely a memory. The word nostalgia is derived in part from an ancient Greek word for "homecoming" and another for "pain" or "ache." Nostalgia is an emotion, and often an unreliable one that can lead us to focus on some memories while overlooking others. Nostalgia, we noted, is the poignancy at the heart of photographer Marc Lemoine's short film Sad Heart of Mine. Set to the music of post-rock band Caspian, the film was created with home-movie footage sourced from eBay.
At top: from Peter Hugo


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