#instatravel, #passportlife, #wanderlust. We’ve all seen these travel hashtags permeate our Instagram feeds, usually used for glamorous shots of people doing enviable things in exotic places. Now a perspicacious person named Oliver has created a video aptly titled “Instravel — A Photogenic Mass Tourism Experience,” which is a Black Mirror-esque look into how our fixation with capturing the perfect image has homogenized our creativity.
Oliver writes that he was inspired to create the video after becoming frustrated with tourists while traveling in Rome (though also noting that he himself was one). He writes:
“During my trip, I felt that many people didn’t really enjoy the moment and were hooked to their smartphones. As if the ultimate goal of travel was to brag about it online and run after the likes and followers.
The video starts with the obligatory passport shots, followed by photos of plane wings in the clouds. The video shows that photos in front of places like the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, Machu Picchu, and Fushimi Inari-taisha in Japan, are often taken from the same angle with the same framing. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is constantly being turned into an ice cream cone, and we always seem to want to straighten it. I myself, have been guilty of taking these kinds of photos and hashtagging them to death. Be an explorer not a tourist, is a mantra more easily said than done.
The people this worst affects, in my view, are the Boyfriends of Instagram, who have to obligingly twist their bodies into weird angles to capture the perfect image for their beloved:
Oliver does point out that in researching photos for the video, he did find some inspiring and talented people — for better or worse, social media is just a tool. Still, it’s an eye opening look at how our collective behavior can be governed by our need to perform for an app like Instagram.