Maybe it's something like this...throughout our life we build up a catalog of what I might call "image prototypes" based on things we see around us, primarily in our younger years. Those prototypes somehow have special importance for us, and when we see something that matches them, buttons get pushed in our brains.
So for those of us with image prototypes of dog-eared, faded old family prints, otherwise goofball Instagram filters invoke something fundamental, and totally unearned by the new images themselves.
Haven't quite got in pinned down, but this is important stuff for photographers because like it or not the images we present are constantly being cross referenced by viewers to things way down in their psychological foundations.
Maybe I need to read up on Jungian Archetypes. Also memes.
I think those are really good observations, Bill. As an artist that leans towards a photo-journalistic sensibility when it comes to realism, this fact disappoints me, but it may be true. Will people go to a portrait photographer and tell them to make the images look like polaroids or old snapshots? Probably.
Crank up that fuzziness. Can you increase the scratches more? I'd really like my complexion to look more cyan? Do you think that is enough vignetting? How about a water stain in the corner?
I think this junk tends to dumb-down and overshadow the job of a good portrait photographer.
Maybe we can fix this by pushing the awkward family photos meme/
as a way to remind people that lots of crinkled and faded photos suck.