Some thoughts from Farmboy Fine Arts President & CEO Todd Towers.

THE IMAGE JUNKIES.

For me, and many others, searching online for content that inspires is a daily drill, a habit, seemingly an addiction.

I find myself drifting off in mid conversation with people when a new facebook or instagram alert comes through. I love images. I love inspiration. When I was in art school, before instagram, pinterest and countless other avenues, I looked for inspiring images at the bookstore, magazine counter and movies. But now I need not look any further than my smart phone.

But is the visual digestion of thousands of images every day a good thing. Is it even healthy?

Honestly, I am not sure. But I find myself wondering more and more as I see so many people in deep concentration, focused on a tiny screen and on very little else around them. And I am just as bad as those I have witnessed; hourly, minute-by-minute reviewing image after image on my phone.

And now I have just read that instagram (a company that was purchased by facebook for $715 billion last April) is now on the way to inserting advertising into its currently pristinely ad-free, image filled app-of-goodness.

It’s an obvious transition. After all, a company valued at $500 million (instagram’s estimated value prior to sale) with no revenue needs to make itself “whole” at some point. I guess those 150 million subscribers posting every millisecond are a prime opportunity to sell something to someone.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Business is business. I’m just concerned we are all loosing touch with the contemplative side of looking at images. The process of sitting with a tactile or tangible image, in a real setting (such as a painting in a room) and allowing that image in its much larger context to speak to you over a longer period of time. To inspire you.

I am not sure the path we are on (to consume as many images as we can per day and to communicate as many emotions as possible through those images) is truly beneficial. This pace doesn’t seem to better visual content, art and ultimately human kind (is that too lofty a goal?). I am not saying it’s right or wrong, but it’s certainly worth contemplating.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to check my instagram account…

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