If You Think All Travel Bloggers' Instagram Photos Look The Same, It's Cause They Are
Do you have an Instagram strategy for followers, curating your feed to death? Or do you prefer to keep it real on social media?
We've all seen these shots on Instagram. The two feet dangling off the edge of a cliff. The person sitting alone in front of a body of water. The girl tossing her hair in front of a wild landscape. The person standing at the end of a dock.
One account has made a project of collating photos from different travel bloggers and putting them together in collages.
@insta_repeat is a project of a 27-year-old female filmmaker and artist living in Alaska, who has chosen to remain anonymous. She told Photoshelter that living in Alaska has caused her to be bombarded with images from so-called "adventurers" and "explorers" from all over the world.
"The specific spark of the idea for the account came from the abundance of canoe images," she tells Photoshelter. "Every time I saw one of those canoe photographs on Instagram it reminded me of this compilation idea until actually got around to making the account."
Everyone and their grandma is now armed with a smartphone, so coming up with something wholly original is practically impossible. Instagrammers chasing for likes are quick to catch onto what kind of content works on the platform, and humans are simply drawn to certain kinds of images — the ones with pops of colour, symmetry, etc. This kind of Instagram strategy for followers leads to mimicry (intentional or otherwise), which leads to everyone's feeds looking, well, the same.
Though @insta_repeat has only curated images from a specific genre, Instagrammers from other genres (e.g. home, beauty, fashion, etc.) are also guilty of publishing formulaic images. @insta_repeat chose to target these "adventure" accounts in particular because of the free and creative lifestyle they often advocated. "It’s this genre of adventurous and creative living, tagged with phrases like 'liveauthentic' and 'exploretocreate' that seems so ironic and thus an interesting target to me," she tells Photoshelter.
@insta_repeat tags each photographer in her collages to give them credit, and most of them have been able to take this in their stride. "Roasted. Keep it coming," commented photographer Alex Guiry, whose photo of a person rowing in a canoe was featured in one of the collages.
Others haven't been as able to laugh at themselves. They've blocked @insta_repeat, and already, some of her posts have been reported and removed.
So should we stop taking photos that look like everyone else's? No more feet shots over a cliff? No more lone-person-wistfully-standing-on-the-edge-of-a-centred-pier photos?
I don't think so. I mean, these are still all gorgeous photos in their own right, and I'd probably double-tap some of them if they appeared on my feed. But let's not delude ourselves into thinking we're reinventing the wheel with photographs that are derivative and formulaic.
If there's anything we should all take away from the @insta_repeat account, it's that we're probably more basic than we think. Even @insta_repost admits that she's guilty of taking a centred canoe photo on one occasion. Stop taking yourself so seriously and just own up to it — we all have our basic moments. #LiveLaughLove #TakeMeBack #Wanderlusting