‘Like countless millions of people across the world, I have an Instagram account. In fact, I have two; one for personal use and one for this blog…’
I use the platform regularly, not only to post my own snaps but also to get inspiration for places I might want to visit in the future. Although Instagram is a fantastic tool for photo sharing, a percentage of ‘influencers’ using it appear danger to be giving the rest of us a bad name.
The trouble with Paris
Recently, the fed up residents of Rue Crémieux in Paris have lodged complaints about the sheer numbers of Instagrammers loitering on their street in the hope of getting the perfect snap. This has caused a fair amount of disruption for the residents and can, I imagine, get old real quick. Parisiens are so frustrated with the constant intrusion that they’ve asked for a gate to be installed to stop people entering the street at certain times of the day.
Moving from France to Iceland, it’s been noted that Imstagrammers visiting the country have been up to all sorts of nonsense. From damaging the moss that’s so important to the eco-system, driving off-road when it’s forbidden, and teetering on the edge of cliffs to get shots, locals are understandably annoyed.
It’s one thing to form queues to take photos for likes, but it’s another thing entirely to cause damage to a natural beauty spot or completely disrespect the rules and the people of the country you’re visiting.
Kiev: Instagram Mecca
A few weeks ago, Les and I spent a week exploring Kiev. It’s an absolutely beautiful city and I took SO many photos for the blog and to share on social media and post with my articles.
It was in Kiev I noticed the first time just how many people were ‘Instagram posing’. They were doing it next to important historical buildings, by the side of the Dnieper River and along a newly opened pedestrian bridge with viewpoints across the city.
We took a walk along the new bridge in hope of seeing the sights but doing this meant dodging a slew of girls poking bare shoulders out of tops, mussing their hair, and standing in bizarre poses waiting to have their photo taken. The bridge was packed and avoiding the Instagrammers meant the rest of us were bumping into one another trying to give them space while rolling out eyes. After a while, most people stopped giving them space and simply walked between photographer and subject. #InadvertantPhotobombing
On the subject of posing in Ukraine, there was a recent outcry against an Insta influencer who was snapped posing in the 10km exclusion zone at Chernobyl. Posing in an abandoned fairground where an entire city was forced to evacuate their homes and leave behind their entire lives because of the worst nuclear accident in history is vile. What in the world made anyone think it was a good idea? Everyone makes mistakes but getting to Chernobyl requires passports, multiple checkpoints and a strict dress code. You don’t just wander in
While I understand the desire to get fantastic shots, I don’t understand the need to annoy or offend anyone. If I can’t get a good photo because somewhere is too busy then I can’t get it. I wouldn’t dream of getting in everyone’s way and disregarding them in order to do it (introvert alert…).
Anyway, I despise having my photo taken, so there’s no chance of me posing next to a monument, dressed to the nines, with that stupid pout that women seem to favour. Not me. I’m in sweat pants with my hair tied back and no makeup on because I’m on holiday. Also, I want to see a city and its scenery, not a photo of my pasty white face.
Are we missing out?
Since we got home, I’ve been wondering if the girls I saw in Kiev explored the city for anything more than a good backdrop. Did they visit the museums? Did they pay respects to the people who were killed in Independence Square in 2014? Did they even know the significance of where they were standing during their photo-shoots? I hope they did but I suspect some of them didn’t.
I’m not judging anyone’s right to do what they want on their travels, but if we can’t learn about the places we visit and appreciate their beauty, cultures and people for anything more than a photo on Instagram, is there really any point in visiting?