Are you insta-ready?June 10, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C
On Monday evening we had booked tickets to enter the ticketed area of Parc Guell. We'd briefly visited the Parc on Saturday afternoon but realised that we would have to come back in order to see all we really wanted to.
For me, Parc Guell was important as it was the iconic images of the two ginger-bread house style buildings and the curved mosaic wall that had been my image of Barcelona for as long as I could remember. I needed to see it from all the best angles in order to recreate the shot I'd seen time and time again on postcards and travel guides. This brings me neatly to my main theme of insta-readiness.
Let's start at the beginning. Since the dawn of the handheld camera, it rapidly became the norm for people to take holiday snaps and capture a snapshot in time of themselves in a place of significance. As a photographer I've always seen the importance of documenting moments, recording them for the sake of history and for the recollection of memories in later life. Then came the phone camera and at around the same time social media and the dreaded 'selfie'. Whilst selfies are still popular, since the advent of Instagram, a new form of photography appears to have emerged and it's an obsession with getting an insta-worthy shot. This can't be just a standard snap of you stood in front of a landmark nor a handheld selfie. Oh no. A lot of thought goes into an Instagram shoot. Follow any of the big instagrammers and you'll know this, as often they'll provide behind the scenes videos and shots detailing how they got 'the money shot'. As a side note, the term 'money shot' is a term coined by the film industry and is the shot that really makes the film and therefore is considered to be the one that will bring in all the money. It can also mean the shot that cost a disproportionate amount of the films budget to create. My point here is that these insta 'money shots' aren't made to make money. However, often they may depict individuals in locations they've paid a lot of money to get to and know they've only got one shot to get this image! Regardless, the shots aren't to make money, they're made for 'likes'.
You can spot an instagrammer by the following attributes: they will have planned their outfit and it will perfectly compliment their surroundings in terms of style and colour; they will have a photographer (it can simply be a trusty friend - the good ones work in pairs); they will almost definitely take a shot with their backs to the camera and rarely take shots looking directly into camera. They need something candid. Creating 'candid' always look ridiculous to any onlooker but what could be more candid than having your back to the camera as if you didnt know it was there?
Parc Guell on Monday night was the perfect exemplification of a swarm of instagrammers all fighting to get the perfect shot and likely none of them succeeding. For starters, a large area of the grounds is being renovated at the moment and therefore space was limited and the perfect wide shot from the postcards was unobtainable. Secondly, whilst the sun was perfectly behind us, it was low and therefore casting shadows on the subjects whether it be their own photographers or other people. Thirdly, time was of the essence. A new swarm arrives every 30 minutes and whilst the majority of people are polite and take their turns, a select few hog the favoured spots and simply refuse to leave their chosen spot until they're satisfied they've got the perfect shot. When did we all become such perfectionist image makers?
This mildly stressful situation aside, our visit to Parc Guell was a good one. The weather was gorgeous and we enjoyed walking around the grounds before and after our 'insta-shoot'. Recognising the limitations (listed above), Kate and I went old school and simply made sure we had a number of nice snaps, depicting us in the photogenic surroundings. But yes, I did dress in attempt to compliment the backdrop that day and we did attempt a candid, back to camera shot. I'm not proud but at least I was insta-ready. Were you?Read more