Instagram aesthetics

Photo courtesy of Jen hu '18 | Smith offers a course on mastering the social media app Instagram.

Photo courtesy of Jen hu ’18 | Smith offers a course on mastering the social media app Instagram.

Capturing the beauty in your Belgian waffles

Tara Coughlin ‘19
Staff Writer

Smith’s dedication to excellence in its Art Department has always included an appreciation of
historical techniques as well as cutting-edge ones. This is why next semester the studio art section
of Smith’s Art Department will offer a course entitled “Instagram Aesthetics.”
Ever wanted to take photos like your favorite celebrity or capture the beautiful light shining on
that special cupcake? Then you’re in luck, because this four-credit course will be offered in the fall
of 2016 and is a wonderful introductory class for novice students wanting to explore in-depth the
complexities of Instagram.

Keeping with the standards of studio art, there is a charge for basic class
materials, including premium VSCO filters and the cost of brunch at The Green Bean. However, all
students really need are their iPhones in order to become an expert Instagram photographer.

The course will be broken down into four sections consisting of “Filtering Food,” “Group Photo
Etiquette,” “Keeping up with the Hashtags” and “Picturesque Landscapes.” The overall emphasis
of the course is to give students the proper resources needed to take photos that will gain them the
most followers and likes.
According to Associate Professor Fraser Stables, “People really underestimate the impact
lighting and filtering can have in their Instagram photos. When one’s personal identity and
perception of others can be determined through the visual arrangement of their scones and coffee,
it is crucial to have course offerings like this.”
This course will also be beneficial for students in the future when they enter the workforce. Neat
photography tricks that can make even the most banal of ham sandwiches look like a delicious
delicacy is sure to gain followers and connections in any line of work.
Classes will teach students how to use the right filter for the right photos, how to digitally “dust
off” those “Throw Back Thursday” photos, and how to use the most of the 15 seconds for videos.
Students will also get the chance to go off campus to find areas to practice their techniques. The
trail along Paradise Pond, for example, offers a great opportunity to capture the beauty of the sundappled
woods and surrounding area.
According to one studio art professor, grading will be based on the number of likes each
photo receives. “We don’t expect the first few photo assignments to have many likes given the
introductory nature of the course. But as we advance in the semester, progress will be determined
by the number of likes a photo gets.”
Students are encouraged however, not to let this daunt them. The professors understand the
nature of the course and that many students will be novices, but they guarantee that by the end of
the course they will be able to determine the difference between the Willow and Inkwell filter in
a snap!
The ambitious nature of this course reflects the department’s emphasis on hands-on learning and
technological innovations in the art community. This fellow Instagram user is certainly pushing “like” on this new course.

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