New Yorker Photographer on Instagram Experiment: My Kid Could Make That

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The artist Instagrams real film.Photo: Martin Schoeller/Instagram

As with every social network that takes over the world (however briefly — hello, Pinterest!), media companies are fooling around with Instagram. Even a legendary magazine like The New Yorker, whose old-fashioned reputation favors the printed words to images and the Internet, is using the Facebook-owned photo-filtering app, a favorite of small-time foodies and big-time rappers. How and why remains to be seen: With just around 2,000 followers, the magazine decided to hand its account over from the PR department to real photographers who will rotate control, like an insider version of Sweden's Twitter.

First up was Martin Schoeller, whose recognizable portraits have turned up in the magazine since 1999. As for why he got to be the Guinea pig, "I have no idea," the photographer told Daily Intel.

"I'm not that up on this new media technology myself, so I haven't been on Instagram before," Schoeller said after his trial period. "I'm not even on Facebook." (New Yorker PR director Alexa Cassanos said, "He's been a longtime staff photographer for us, so we thought it would be appropriate for him to do the Instagram takeover. We were hoping it would be a fun thing and a little different.")

Schoeller said he "enjoyed it in the sense that I felt like a photo student again, having a fresh outlook on my environment," but was too busy taking real photographs to really focus on the app. "I was just snapping away without overthinking it," he said.

"The problem with this Instagram is that I could hand the phone over to my 3-year-old son and he could come up with a good picture," Schoeller said. "Maybe I should've come up with a concept instead of just using it how everyone else uses it, with no meaning or depth."

Over about a week, he took eighteen pictures and the account gained around 2,000 followers. Cassanos said the next photographer in line will be announced soon, and that those being considered "have some Instagram experience."

"I'm glad people are taking an interest in photography," Schoeller stressed. "I just don't think those pictures are important or should be given much thought."