Opening Shot

The Instagram campaign

Every presidential campaign produces its share of iconic images, but never before have we been able to see trail life in so many shades, vintages, and fetishistic detail. For that, thank Instagram, the free photography app—just snatched up by Facebook for $1 billion. It empowers anyone with a smartphone to snap Polaroid-size photos and make them pretty, instantly, with a range of filters, effects, and customized borders. Also thank the growing tribe of journalists who have been using the app to share images of what AP lensman Evan Vucci calls “the edges of the campaign,” from the quirky (above) to the banal (diner food). The resulting photographic record is vibrant, retro, evocative, and exhaustive. Some photojournalists have challenged the ethics of app-enabled photography, but most Instagrammers use it for fun. “It’s a celebration of photography,” Vucci says. 

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The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review.