Instagram is ruining vacation | WIRED

It appears to be in contrast to this scene I observed at Legoland in Carlsbad, California, last month.

When I go for a walk, and shoot photo parents take picturesI couldn’t help but think that Susan Sontag would love this. In her 1977 collection of essays, About photography, Sontag writes, cameras are “weapons of prey”, that they are “addictive imaginary machines.” The camera replaces the gun, she said, “the hunters have Hasselblads instead of Winchester; instead of looking through a telescope to see a rifle, they look through the viewfinder to frame an image ”.

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The technological origin of the travel selfie is far deeper than that of smartphones. Sontag points out that for the first time in history, a large number of regular people were able to leave their normal environment for short periods of time, a phenomenon that sites like are only just expanding. Proof of a ride is beginning to feel necessary. The photos provided “irrefutable proof that the trip was made, that the show was done, that the joy was there,” she wrote. Or, create illusion that fun was there.

Sontag argues that some travelers use their cameras to relieve “the anxiety that people at work feel inactive when they are on vacation and supposedly happy,” Sontag said. “They have something to do like a friendly imitation: they can take pictures.”

Even when Instagram identifies our photo moments, we use the app’s filters to travel back in time, to make our images resemble your Polaroids by transmitting them in a sense. black in a different, more nostalgic light.

“It empowers them,” said John R. Suler, professor of psychology at Rider University and author of The psychology of the digital age talk about Instagram filter users. “It allows them to be artistic. It helps them modify the emotion of a photo. It allows them to ‘beautify’ the photo, meaning they can make their selfies more compelling to create their ideal image. “

The phenomenon of taking pictures and sharing them isn’t new, but with Instagram being mobile, they both get cheaper and faster, creating instant gratification to know how our photos look like. any in the palm of the hand. With a simple interface and neat squares, we can easily organize the seemingly infinite amount of lives we receive every day, consciously and unconsciously.

Taking a picture and posting it to Instagram, with or without a cup in the frame, is the way for us all to become our own historians, capturing tangible evidence of our time on the planet.

“Instagram,” said Suler, “therefore, a tool to authenticate one’s life.”

That feeling – that we are all the stars of our own film, creating our own image, following our personal stories – has been the focus of research for the book. my second, “The Kevin Show”. The book will tell the story of Kevin Hall, an Olympic sailor, who has Dr. Joel Gold has dubbed the “Truman Expression Disorder,” a form of manic depression (bipolar disorder) in which people, during periods of mania, think they are the stars of their own reality TV show.

What Dr. Gold is referring to and Hall’s experience is particularly intense, but one can argue that mental illnesses fall into the culmination of a spectrum – higher versions of things people experience. by. Everyone can feel sad from time to time, but not everyone will be clinically depressed. One may rejoice, but not an upwards spiral.

So, what is the line between sanity and extremism, if we are all trying to create our own “show”?

As a longtime journalist and photographer, I love Instagram and the connection it gives me with friends and family when I’m traveling, or let me see their lives from perch. field at home. But who am I to judge elbow swingers and selfie sticks when, in a place like Angkor Wat, I also commit the crime of presenting a distorted reality?

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