I love mindlessly scrolling through Instagram as much as anyone… I’m not afraid to admit that. But in those hours (possibly days’ worth) of time spent browsing pictures of travel porn, you start to notice stuff. Like, the fact that a lot of accounts, especially “influencer” accounts, kind of post the same pictures. You know what I mean… there’s the “legs dangling off a cliff” trope, the “skinny, conventionally attractive girl wrapped in a Navajo blanket in front of a waterfall” cliche, or “sitting on top of a car parked next to a scenic overlook”… oh, and we can’t forget my favorite, “view from inside a tent, with the door unzipped so you can see the scenery outside”. Classic.
Insta Repeat (@insta_repeat) is an Instagram account that’s been collecting examples of all of these cliches and posting composites of them. And when you see pictures presented like that, it really does make you think. It feels like these people go to these places just to recreate a picture, not to actually enjoy a place. And is it just me, or in addition to going to the exact same places, do all of these “influencers” kind of look the same? The pictures are still pretty, but they’re a lot less impressive, and don’t really stand out when put alongside visually similar (ok, let’s be real, visually identical) images.
It’s kind of in the same vein as another favorite IG of ours, You Did Not Sleep There (@youdidnotsleepthere). That account is dedicated to all of the “influencers” who set up tents in ridiculous-but-stunning locales just for the photo op (and also to the lazy people who just Photoshop tents into pretty pictures.) Honestly, it’s freeing to realize that that “influencer” didn’t actually sleep on a glacier by a waterfall, and (in all honestly) probably spent the night in a motel after snapping that photo. Makes a person feel a bit less bad about staying in a convenient but decidedly less Instagram-worthy developed campground. You know, the kind with firewood for sale and working toilets.
Look, I get it… “influencers” don’t really have control over what performs, and have to keep posting pictures of whatever gets likes. But unless they’re just buying likes (which is possible), we as followers should try to dig deeper and find those more unique shots from different points of view and of lesser-known places.