Is Instagram Ruining Backpacker Culture?

Editorial Director, Life
01.12.16 18 Comments

Instagram and travelĀ are inextricably tied. There’s just something about exotic locationsĀ that make forĀ Insta magic. I like to imagine Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker in The Social Network saying, “GazingĀ at a weathered door frame isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? GazingĀ at a weathered door frame in Mozambique.”

Of course, travelers have been experimenting with highly stylized photos of door frames (and their own feet and extreme flower closeups) for generations. But never before have your cousin’s gap year snapshots had the potential of making herĀ famous (or wealthy).

On a recent trip to Colombia, I was struck by the country’s surplus of perfect beaches. On these beaches, groups of friends smiledĀ forĀ photos, just as vagabonding palsĀ have done since the advent of the camera. But after the group shots came solo pictures. These were more practiced — long sessions with one person situatedĀ alone near the waterline, posed to highlight their curves. Once theĀ first round was taken, the model would check the photos, talk to the photographer, readjust, fuss over details, and retake.

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