Lately we’ve come across two compelling photographers whose images boldly portray an essential message about Instagram and other social media: the pretty picture you see is not the WHOLE picture. They show the unpleasantly real context from which the pretty photo was plucked, to become an aspirational ideal that messes with our heads. Take Chompoo Baritone‘s image, above. A sleek woman doing an effortless yoga head stand is designed to make us think we should be able to do that (and we’re less-than because we can’t), not knowing that she is being styled by the plumpish(?) woman holding her up.

We especially like Baritone’s riff on Kinfolk magazine, where life always looks impossibly tidy and in control.

Chompoo Baritone
Chompoo Baritone

…and the cool Apple laptop on a bed where, we imagine, some stylish person was doing something really cool and creative…

Chompoo Baritone
Chompoo Baritone

Broken India” by Lmt-lss goes a bit darker by applying the Instagram cropping to gritty Indian landscapes, to reveal the poverty or wreckage around them.


Broken India Monsson LImitless

Of course, this editing out of the messy doesn’t just apply to Instagram. It is prevalent on every just about every faintly-professional visual site out there, most notably shelter, food and fanzines.

Every time we start thinking someone has it easy and together, we’re gong to try to remember that no one is exempt from messiness, suffering, difficulty, tragedy….LIFE…

…and that:

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

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7 replies on “Life Edited Can Be Just So Much Bullsh*t

  1. Wow! What a powerful reminder to keep my head on straight. It is SO easy to limit one’s sights to what we want to think is the whole picture. Perhaps you could randomly post more of these? One thing though – I really didn’t think the support person looked particularly plump…

  2. To my idea, in THIS context: thin, toned uber-person with pleasantly “normal”, slightly bigger holding her up…

    Is plump bad?

    What IS plump?

  3. Wow! Really powerful is so many ways and on many levels! Thank you.

  4. Maybe these people were just trying to show the midst of the ugly. And I don’t see any plump person either! Most people with any photo sense know that any closeup is not showing the whole story. So what?

  5. Powerful post about deception and perception. Not to say that the photographer was being intentionally deceptive, but rather a noteworthy reminder that what we “see”…in a photograph…in a situation…in a person does not make it so…or does it?

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