Instagram is a funny place to be. I’m often out and about, at “Instagrammable” places like cool restaurants and coffee shops. It never fails, there’s always someone with their phone out, in the midst of generating an Instagram post (although sometimes it’s just moi).
The Vancouver Art Gallery was no exception. I’ve always loved photos of people looking at art (<— click to view photographer Mark Blower’s stunning project of this subject)… but I had no idea how blatantly staged the Instagram versions could be. People were everywhere with their cell phones: angling, directing, retaking… all while not really noticing the art. It appeared to be all for the ‘Gram. It probably didn’t help that the art in question was the insanely Instagrammable Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg exhibit. I mean, that’s what brought me there too, after all.
However, I wanted a natural photo of me genuinely appreciating art. I told my husband this, but he was too busy actually looking at art to indulge me.
After a while and no signs of paparazzi, I had to take matters into my own hands.
And, after a few veiled threats, he finally put himself behind the lens as I puttered around the gallery. Yay!
This, however… totally staged (and yes, we’re a very classy couple, particularly at places like art galleries):
Boobies aside. I realize a lot can go into constructing the perfect Instagram shot – and I’m absolutely guilty of that as well. But I was a little saddened to see the sheer number of people who were deliberately simulating the act of looking at art, just for that coveted photo. Really? You paid admission just to get likes? This is art, it’s meant to be appreciated, not merely a backdrop for your narcissism.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about documenting my life, and desire those same shareable shots as well. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with an #art #selfie… as long as you go for the photo-op, and stay for the experience.
And Like it.