Impossible travel goals, irresponsible travel – What is Instagram community actually promoting

A few weeks back, a travel couple died Indian travel blogger couple, Vishnu Viswanath and Meenakshi Moorthy fell to their deaths in the Yosemite National Park in California. Reports said that it was in an attempt to take a selfie that caused their deaths.

This is not the only report.

Instagram and its tone of content has created an environment where travel photographers have no problem going to impossible lengths in their attempts to create content. This is why you’ll notice that the videos of people taking dip in ice cold Zanskar River during Chadar Trek or a bunch of kids running over walls of Amer Fort get more popular than random clicks and informative content.

Instagram has ruined traveling, like it has ruined eating. Cup of tea overlooking a mountain or a valley is how camping is perceived. A long distance click from the suicide point of Kinnaur has become a mandatory part of everybody’s itinerary, so much that now there are long lines just for one photo.

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~Chai with view~ Nuwara Eliya is a hill station in Sri Lanka. Who would have known that an island can have temperatures below 10 degrees. This little town is neatly cozied up in central Sri Lanka. Pick a stay up hill with chai, view and rain. (Shot on phone) . #travel #travelblogger #srilanka #srilankatravel #colombo #galle #beach #wanderlust #wanderers #travelphotography #blogger #pictures #travelholic #theglobalwanderer #trip #travelgram #worldtrip #pidurangala #pidurangalarock #ourlonelyplanet @pictures.of.india @talent.of.india @dslrofficial @indiashutterbugs @india.explore @yourshot_india @desi_daries @india.clicks @indian.photography @bbc_travel @india_undiscovered @natgeoit @photomama.in @travelrealindia @instaindians_ @streetphotographyindia @photographer @insta_photography_club . . . @creativeimagemagazine @wanderers.of.india @igersofindia @click_india_click @gettyimages @india.diaries @hindustan.pictures @lensculture @shotsofasia @magnumphotos @yourshot_india @somewheremagazine @natgeotravellerindia @natgeoyourshot @photofieteam @foto4everofficial @igersofindia @colours.of.india @india_tourism

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When an Instagrammer with 30k followers talks about how travel loan from a bank helped her plan a trip to Europe and presents in such a way that makes other consider going to those lengths as well because someone they idolize has done it already.

Recently, I told a photographer that their pics are dangerous and anyone can fall to death trying to copy it. Their reply was that they are Instagram experts and know how to do it. Know what? How to put their life in danger for the sake of a few likes? All is fun and games until someone falls and breaks a few bones.

Zanskar River freezes in winter season and temperature goes down to -30 degree. People take dips, record their videos and upload them on social media hoping that their stunt will go viral. No one wonders that this is not healthy, environment friendly and can be a cause of death if the stunt is gone wrong. No one accuses travel companies for being irresponsible and instead, more people are now going on that trek because they want similar videos.

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“Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you🌈🤙. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #captured #honormade #honorgraphy @honorglobal #photographers_of_india #_soi #_hpics#MyPixelDiary #indianphotographyclub#i_hobbygraphy #_woi #beautifuljaipur #travelrealindia  #jaipur  #india_undiscovered #yourshot_india #lonelyplanetindia #_instaindia_ #maibhisadakchap#ongooglemaps #agameoftones  #instagood #moodygrams #way2ill  #honorglobalfanfest #beautifuldestinations #honormade #dayandnight #cheerforhonor8x #meinbhiphotographer @sam_kolder @beautifuldestinations @india.clicks @travelrealindia @hindustan.pictures @googlepixel @madebygoogle #taylorcutfilms

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“There is a whole world out there. Pack your backpack, your best friend and go.”🤙🌈🎈 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #teampixel #focusontheweekend #photographers_of_india #_soi #_hpics#MyPixelDiary #indianphotographyclub#i_hobbygraphy #_woi #beautifuljaipur #travelrealindia  #jaipur  #india_undiscovered #yourshot_india #lonelyplanetindia #_instaindia_ #maibhisadakchap#ongooglemaps #agameoftones  #instagood #moodygrams #way2ill #fatalframes #gramslayers #beautifuldestinations #honormade #dayandnight #cheerforhonor8x #meinbhiphotographer @sam_kolder @beautifuldestinations @india.clicks @travelrealindia @hindustan.pictures @googlepixel @madebygoogle @iamshubhams #honorglobalfanfest

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This year in January, I almost burned myself trying to document a fire dancing ritual. In an attempt to click a larger than life photo, a huge chunk of fire fell right next to me.

A pic from Varanasi went viral recently where the photographer clicked a burning pyre with the dead person’s legs clearly in the shot. It is not only insensitive but in the future, it will also prompt others to get similar shots.

Recently, the platform has seen an increase in the number of GoPro shots taken from sitting on a train’s door. The portrait of a man (or a woman) sitting still as the world goes by looks very powerful. But think of a missed step and the causality it can cause.

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The path to heaven! Every one asks me that why do you travel so much? I just show them these kind of pictures! It's my world and i have seen each and every beautiful part of the country 🙂 During my birthday on 15th July, I decided to visit the highest Shiva temple in the world, Tungnath near Chopta in Uttarakhand. You can see the snow clad Kedarnath mountain peak in the background. @photographers.of.india @photographers_hub_india @travelandlife @travelandleisure @ladiesgoneglobal @darlingescapes @wanderlustinitiative @nammabengaluru @india.clicks @lonelyplanetindia @tripyoursoul @dametraveler @nastasiaspassport @desi_diaries @india_gram @photofieteam @yourshot_india @femmetravel @travelawesome @wonderful.globe @trell.community @wonderful_places @adventurenthusiasts @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeoyourshot @nature @himalayangeographic @indian.photo @indiapictures @indiatravelgram @india @incrediblehimachal.in @incredibleindia @delhigram •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• #thecrazzyrider #uttarakhand_travel_diaries #wonderful_places #uttarakhand #indianphotography #natgeotravel #lonelyplanet #wanderlust #photographersofindia #landscape #indiapictures #mountainlife #mountainlove #sunsetporn #adventureenthusiasts #uttarakhandtourism #exploretheworld #sunsetlovers #ourplanetdaily #indiatravel #nomad #sunset_ig #natgeolandscape #ig_masterpiece #peace #sunsets #indiatravelgram #photographer #consciousadventurist

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The photos of mountains are always supposed to have clouds, a little fog and an impressive sunset. Any of the factors missing means that they trip was incomplete. I saw this happening at Hampta Pass trek where the sunset stayed hidden due to insane amount of fog. A lot of people left back to the base because they perfect shot didn’t come alive.

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Ten days of crazy traveling and exploring Rajasthan has passed like a blink, those cute hindi words you learned, your favourite hindi songs on repeat, discussion of outfits, coffee & food, Road trip and going gaga over your red dress 😋 and early morning shoots with eyes full of sleep. What a memorable trip it was. Hope you enjoyed and loved my country. I'm going to miss you so much. See you on your wedding day 😉 @thesunsetcolada . Jonathan I miss you. Specially the time when you were in India. See you soon 🤗 @momimfine . . . . . #rajasthandiaries #igersrajasthan #lonelyplanetindia #rangeelorajasthan #yourshot_india #wonderfuldestinations #india_clicks #india_undiscovered #RoamthePlanet #moodyfilm #indiaview #yesindia #mypixeldiary #photographers_of_india #_soi #earthofficial #indianphotography #igworld_global #ig_today #indiantravelsquad #indiapictures #ngtindia #themangofolk #passionpassport #agameoftones #storiesofindia #earth_shotz #earth_focus #_coi @lonelyplanetindia @lonelyplanetmags @roamtheplanet @wanderers.of.india @stories.of.india @indian.hobbygraphy @rajasthan_tourism

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Last year, I saw a fellow trekker falling and injuring himself after a failed attempt to click Valley of Flowers from a height to show the whole area.

Instagram creates unrealistic travel expectations. Photographers overedit their photos and remove unwanted objects from their pics and make them look more than real. Recently at Hornbill festival, it was really common to hear backpackers talk about how a certain instagrammer got shots with almost nothing in background while their shots end up having a speaker or a tree or a group of people enjoying the act. Their expectation of the festival had already reached a different level days or may be weeks in advance. So when they got to the venue and found a chance to click the portraits by themselves, they ended up being disappointed.

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It is easy to say that you are very important to me, I can't loose you. It is difficult to put that in your actions. Action requires efforts , and people lack efforts. Value people when they are and not when they are gone. Talk without work and not only when you seek help. Make mistakes but do not repeat, remember sorry is such a easy word to say 🌸 . . Photo and words by :- @tumuskura #follow . . Roghi Cliff , Kinnaur Himachal Pradesh . . I am flying because winter's are coming 🌸 Tumuskura 🌸 • • For feature Hashtag your Post with #incrediblekinnaur • • #kinnaur #incrediblekinnaur #indiapictures #travelrealindia #kalpa #shimla #himachal #ilovetravel #writetotravel #instatravelling #instavacation #travelblogger #instapassport #postcardsfromtheworld #traveldeeper  #travelstroke #travelling #trip #traveltheworld #igtravel #getaway #travelblog #instago #travelpics #tourist #wanderer #wanderlust #travelphoto

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Thanks to one app, the idea of travelling has become predictable. People travel to Dawki to click a boat floating over the transparent river, visit Spiti to get the shot of Key Monastery from a distance, when they go to Goa, their bottle of beer is always pointed towards the sunset, a picture taken from a certain Mcleodganj Café is how the whole idea of travelling is supposed to be. No one looks forward to expecting the unexpected because the mental projection is already fixed to one reality and one reality only and when it doesn’t happen in the way they imagined or saw on Instagram, they end up being disappointed.

Disclaimer 1 – I don’t intend to blame Instagram in this post but the community that has set unrealistic goals for travel photography

Disclaimer 2 – The photos that I have used from the respective profiles, I hope it doesn’t offend them

Disclaimer 3 – At times, I have been responsible for clicking similar shots taken here in this pic so I am not a saint compared to others

 

32 thoughts on “Impossible travel goals, irresponsible travel – What is Instagram community actually promoting

Add yours

  1. I would like to think people would not risk their lives for likes but I’m not naive to the fact that it happens. Its always incredibly sad and easily forgotten until the next person passes. Thanks for bringing awareness to this

  2. Yeah it reminds of something I watch the other day of this young lady climbing up a tall building by a ladder to get some views on social media. One slip up she would of fees to her death. Honest, I think it’s foolish for people to risk their lives just to get some attention, or prove a point. Stop testing the creator Yah.

  3. as much as it is fun to travel explore, I think it is equally important to know the history and respect its grounds. very good write up and I wish people will be more aware! I grew up in Phuket Thailand and we always get a lot of tourists so I understand

  4. I agree that some of these shots are uber dangerous. However, I can’t blame IG for people leaving their common sense out of the equation. We have built in inhibitions for a reason. And priorities should be evaluated…my life or this nice pic?

  5. It is a bit crazy that people are copying Instagram photos and risk their lives for a shot that it worthless. I actually didn’t know about this phenomenon until a recent seminar I took, where it was shown how many pictures taken in the same way are there on Instagram.

  6. This was an eye opening article, however I think as long as we value popularity on a social media platform the risk is always going to be there. There just needs to be more articles explaining the risk so it becomes just as popular.

  7. This is a great article. I experienced something similar this week when a tourist on the side of a mountain in Peru was blocking the path and barged someone out of the way just to get a good picture of himself, and I’ll be writing about considering other people’s safety in my next blog. Everyone needs to read this, your Instagram photos are never more important than yours or other people’s safety!

  8. I’ve always told my friends “Safety first’. Whats the point of getting a beautiful photo where you have to risk your life for it. The unrealistic expectation that has been set with all those editting has lead to dissapointment when I arrive at one place to find it look completely different from the photos I see on instragram.

  9. EXCELLENT post. As bloggers, we need to be responsible- not just for ourselves but for those who we hope to influence. Saying “I’m an expert” with blatant disregard for your followers who are NOT is very irresponsible.

  10. This makes me so sad. I had heard of a similar tragedy recently. It’s all about getting the best pic, sadly. But I wish people would think of their safety above all else. Our lives aren’t worth that perfect image.

  11. Thanks for writing this. It’s an issue I try to address as much as possible, and will actually be speaking a bit about it at a conference next year. We need to be better as content creators at promoting safe, responsible travel that makes travel and outdoor adventure sustainable. Social media is truly the sharpest double edged sword out there, and it’s impossible to be perfect, but at the very least we can pledge to learn and to try.

  12. It seems like every week I read a new story of someone dying because they were trying to get that perfect shot. Thanks for sharing this post – it was very informative! I can’t believe that person brushed off your comment and said that they’re “experts.” They may be so-called experts, but they can’t predict what could happen if they take a wrong step or if the wind blows too hard!

  13. I agree with your post about Instagram encouraging the unreal. I prefer the more normal pictures of someone cooking dinner or traveling. Something that I could easily do. It is not worth risking your life when you need to do it again in a few weeks to keep your “likes” coming. We need more realness.

  14. You totally have a point in this post. One part of the story is when people risk their lives to take a photo, another is when they cause damage to nature just to earn few more likes. It breaks my heart to see some ‘travel bloggers’ taking pictures standing on the reef or holding fragile animals in their hands. So irresponsible!

  15. People sometimes go too far for a good story or a famous post. That is the downside of social media. The key is to find a balance and make smart decisions. You’ve made some fantastic points, thanks for sharing

  16. Interesting take. I definitely have seen instances of situations you described where it’s like, oh my gosh! It’s just a photo. To each their own I guess, but safety and authenticity trump aesthetic for me.

  17. I guess there is so much social pressure going on right now in the community – to be able to attain a certain standard.. and ifnot claimed, would lead to disappointment. It’s good that someone like you have addressed this. It’s refreshing to look back and see how far the social media has made our lives predictable/easier/ or even misleading.

  18. It’s quite an interesting topic. Social media can be misleading at times and far from the truth of traveling. Clicking pictures is a good way to document an experience but it shouldn’t come at the cost of ones life.

  19. It’s not okay to risk your life to capture perfect photos! sometimes other people can’t handle themselves about using social media this is so aware. great topic!

  20. Great, great post. I’m a food blogger and I’m always in conflict with the way we portray life on IG. Thank you so much for caring and sharing.

  21. This is so true. People have actually forgotten the real essence of traveling. They actually travel to take photos and show it off on social media

  22. Instagram definitely makes me want to go and see destinations but they all look so good to be true. I feel like there needs to be more “real” stuff shared of places to visit.

  23. Not sure that Instagram really is a problem, it is just a photo share. I personally almost never use my insta, although I am a photographer. Maybe I am in my own bubble… communicating with people who look for experiences rather than cool insta shots.

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