Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

The VSCO Look

Conor McClure mostly agrees with my pick for the best iPhone photo editor, but not without caveats:

VSCO Cam is the best photo editing app by far, but only if you’re trying to achieve the VSCO look, which is incredibly popular these days. It probably won’t be forever.

I disagree with this. VSCO Cam is extremely versatile and often provides very natural results. While there is a “look” that is easy to create with VSCO Cam — the faded, muted look — I think it’s easy enough to avoid creating that look. There are undoubtably trends in photo editing, much like anything else, but the app is good enough and broad enough to allow for flexibility.

But, after all is said and done with trends, the best photos inarguably win, regardless of the way in which they were edited. Not to toot my own horn too much, but I think some photos will withstand the test of time simply because they continue to tell a story. The choice of editing process may influence that to an extent, but I don’t think it ties a photo’s resonance to a specific time period.

Then again, perhaps all editing and photographic processes since the dawn of photography have an expiration date. Consider the historical posed studio shot, or the introduction of colour: these are both dated to the available technology to create the photos. Digital photo enhancement has allowed all sorts of new choices to be made, and I’m not sure there’s enough of a historical basis from which trends can be drawn.

I’m torn on this. It might be the champagne speaking, but I’m still trying to work this one out. If anything, McClure’s post made me think about this stuff a little more thoroughly.