Over 10 million people have created artful iPhonography with Instagram, but they’ve never seen their masterpieces any bigger than a Postagram postcard. But now, thanks to a peculiar synergy between the mediums and a secret algorithm, CanvasPop has found a way to blow up Instagrams and print them as beautiful canvas paintings. See, Instagram’s filters reduce graininess and so does the texture of canvas. This means that even at 20″ by 20″, almost 10x their size on the iPhone, $60 CanvasPop prints look wall-worthy.
CanvasPop is an expert at image upsizing, having been spun out of DNA 11 which printed blowups of DNA strands. CanvasPop launched 2 years ago to help emancipate low-resolution photos from mobile devices and social network. It accepts even the tiniest, noisiest images including old Facebook photos and those taken with the iPhone 3G. These are run through its algorithm that smooths pixelated edges, and the canvas they’re printed on further obscures any imperfections.
Co-founder Adrian Salamunovic tells me CanvasPop saw Postagram and Prinstagram developing an Instagram ecosystem, and thought it could contribute something unique. Since those companies don’t have its technology and they print on paper, they’re restricted to producing stickers, small photo books, and posters tiled with little images.
Built on the Instagram API, users can visit the CanvasPop website and authenticate with their Instagram account. They then choose their images, select print sizes ($30 for 12″ by 12″ or $60 for 20″ by 20′), and soon their prints are delivered to their door. The print CanvasPop sent me looked sharp from any farther than a few inches away. My only complaint was that it was packaged so securely to prevent damage in transit that it took me a few minutes to pull it free.
Instagram has unlocked a generation of artists, helping people discover and capture the subtle beauty of the world around them. It seems tragic that once posted, Instagrams disappear down our social media streams and are rarely appreciated again. CanvasPop gives these works of art enduring life, and lets us express ourselves offline as vividly as we can on.