Intragram is changing how we travel and what photos we take

by Mr. Sheehy

Instagram culture is actually changing the way people travel and plan their trips. Instead of thinking about the experiences they want to have, people are thinking about what the photos they want to post. It’s like that old joke: Did you have fun on your vacation? I don’t know, I haven’t developed the film yet.

“It’s becoming a problem,” joked Jessica Harcombe Fleming, the representative from Travel Alberta who organized the trip. “People will call us and ask whether there are hotels or restaurants here, because all they see is these little figures and big mountains.”

Paul Zizka (55K), another photographer based in Banff, worries about what the trend does to creativity. “Why is everybody coming here and shooting the exact same trophy shots?” he asked when we spoke by phone. “Ninety-nine percent of the images come from the same ten locations.”

On one hand, Instagram democratizes the photographic business, allowing talented people to find clients based on their skills rather than which editors they know. Snape’s career, for instance, was jump-started when an image of two elk crossing some railway tracks was picked up on National Geographic’s Your Shot website. But it has also created a culture in which photographers and athletes are valued by the number of followers they have rather than their aesthetic or skill. In fact, Instagram can reinforce your worst habits as a shooter by rewarding you—sometimes handsomely—for producing treacle. Instagram loves sunsets, the Milky Way, and the stuff of inspirational posters.

Grayson Schaffer for Outside