Hollywood Image Makers on Kim Kardashian's New Social Media Blur
The star's return to social media, with a new grainy visual style, has followers wondering what she's doing.
Kim Kardashian’s return to Instagram has the social media world in a tizzy. The reality star posted her first photo on Jan. 3 after taking a break from a steady stream of image sharing in the aftermath of being robbed during Paris Fashion Week in October.
Since then, she’s posted four blurry images and a grainy video of children and family that has The New York Times weighing in on how Kardashian is stage-managing her unreal reality a la Donald Trump and The Cut calling the video “more Kennedy than Kardashian in its carefully-curated domestic myth-making.”
A deglamourized montage of candid moments with Kanye West and the kids — first steps, juice boxes and toddler spit-up — set to Jeremih’s “Paradise,” the video reminds me a bit of Beyonce’s Lemonade in its raw truthiness and could signal a new beginning for the star.
The Instagram snaps seem to be in the same hazy nostalgic style. Of course, when it comes to style, Kardashian leads, and people, including her nearly 90 million followers, want to know the secret to the blur. For some clarity, I reached out to a few Hollywood and fashion image makers.
“If you look at her whole Instagram, she’s playing with negative space and using the whole page by posting several images in the same style,” says L.A.-based events and advertising photographer Stefanie Keenan. “She’s using Instagram more as an artistic expression, and it’s more intimate.”
"She may have felt like she needed to switch things up a bit, and she's done that," says New York-based fashion and runway photographer Jonas Gustavsson. "Her shots are slightly off-kilter in composition and angles. They look like slightly untrained-photographer family photos from the '80s. She might have a new assistant or friend shooting for her."
As for how Kardashian is creating the blurry effect, he says, "It could be one of many things. She might be shooting them on Snapchat, filtering them and then importing them into Instagram and filtering them again, thus the heavy, blurry almost grainy film look."
"She does tend to be very uniform in her approach to how she shoots and what filters she uses, so one can only assume she will be using this approach for a while. She may also have an inside track to a filter that Instagram or Snapchat will be releasing soon," says Gustavsson.
Happy Holidays pic.twitter.com/fxLFQQWJG7— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) December 27, 2016
Others wonder if she could be digitally photographing old-school film prints. "It certainly has that look. Using film is very trendy right now, for reasons that are beyond me," says Gustavsson.
"It looks to me like they were shot with a Polaroid camera and afterward re-photographed with the phone," says L.A.-based photographer and Getty lensman Donato Sardella "I’m starting to see more people carrying the old Polaroid cameras. I saw the stylist Jeanne Yang taking Polaroids at a Dior event a couple weeks ago. I think people like the old vintage look of photos from the past--that they are real and not digitally-manipulated," added Sardella.
Hubby West may be the architect behind Kardashian's new posting style. About six weeks ago, he posted 99 blurry Maison Martin Margiela look-book photos on his Instagram, some of which include his finger in the shot. His holiday photo on Twitter also had a hazy look.
To create your own Kardashian-like images, Keenan suggests using Photoshop's Gaussian Blur, followed by a purple and blue filter. “It creates an intimate feeling,” says Keenan, who likens Kardashian’s and West’s current social media visual style to that of famous photographers Terry Richardson and Nan Goldin.