Pics or It Didn’t Happen: Instagram’s Biggest Clichés

It’s apparent to anyone with an Internet connection that this generation is obsessed with documenting itself. Thanks to the rise of social media like Instagram, so many of us can’t seem to go through our day without sharing pictures of it. Why we continue to do it is a great question, but that’s not what Slate’s Katy Waldman asks in an article about the social photography site. “The Tragedy of the Sunset Photo” laments our inability to effectively photograph a sunset, contemplates their appeal, and offers suggestions for taking better pictures of them. But these aren’t the thoughts that linger after looking an Instagram photo of a sunset. The real “Tragedy of the Sunset Photo” is not that we can’t capture the beauty of a sunset — it’s that we can’t seem to put down our phones and just enjoy it. Below, we look into some of Instagram’s most unavoidable, revealing clichés.

Image via @sadowls

Image via @sadowls


Parks & Recreation nailed the pointless nature of the food Instagram: “Tom considers himself a ‘foodie,’ which apparently means taking Instagrams of food instead of eating it.” Instagram is constantly covered in photos of untouched meals, but for what? A camera lens still can’t capture scent or taste, so the exercise of photographing your food is fairly pointless unless you’re trying to show your mom you aren’t starving. Or do we simply want to show the rest of the world just how much food we have in America? It’s one of the saddest examples of our inability to just enjoy what’s in front of us; if your first reaction to a piping hot meal is to get out your camera, I feel sorry for you.