Photographer Oliver Kmia took a trip to Rome and made an interesting discovery. It seems none of us are as unique as we think we are. While traveling, Oliver realized that tourist destinations were jam packed with people taking the same photographs. The discovery led him to pour through Instagram and create a video of travel photos that all look... well, the same.
Oliver explained on his Vimeo page his reasons for making the video:
I came up with this idea last year while traveling in Roma. I wanted to take a look at the popular Trevi Fountain but I never managed to get close to it. The place was assaulted by hundreds of tourists, some of them formed a huge line to get a spot in front of the Fountain. Needless to say that I was very pissed by this sight and left for the not less crowded Pantheon.
I was shocked by the mass of people walking all around the city, yet I was one of them, not better or worst. Like all these tourists, I burned hundred of gallons of fuel to get there, rushed to visit the city in a few days and stayed in a hotel downtown. Then, I remembered a video I watched a few months earlier from the artist Hiérophante. I decided to make this kind of sarcastic video but with the focus on travel and mass tourism. Hiérophante admitted that his video was "cliché" and that he got inspired by other videos. So I'm basically making fun of something I'm part of. The irony is strong.
While the era of mass world tourism and global world travel opened up in the 60s and 70s with the development of Jumbo Jets and low cost airlines, there is a new trend that consists of taking pictures everywhere you go to share it on social networks. During my trip, I felt that many people didn't really enjoy the moment and were hooked to their smartphones. As if the ultimate goal of travel was to brag about it online and run after the likes and followers.
In a recent article published by the Guardian, journalist Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett described this phenomena: 'These Instagrammers are collectively sucking the joy and spontaneity out of travel photography, and for those unfortunate enough to bump into them abroad, possibly travel itself. We must pity the poor locals, who have to put up with them. [...] Social media encourages the memeification of human experience. Instead of diversity we see homogeneity. It’s extremely boring.'
People were definitely taken aback:
This crazy animation made up of thousands of strangers’ Instagrams makes visible a super strange flattening phenomena we don’t have a name for yet where lives on social media look strangely repetitive & creepily predictable. https://t.co/IhyyJFQ9jQ— Aaron Stewart-Ahn (@somebadideas) February 1, 2018
The video was inspiring some people to try harder to be original:
Thanks to the shared universal aesthetics of Instagram, we’re all taking the same damn pictures.https://t.co/kXByFGiQKr— Derek Kessler (@derekakessler) February 2, 2018
This is why I’m trying to consciously take unique photos and not taking photos when I see everybody else is.
Or at least the same old thing in a new light.
But others wanted to simply throw in the towel and quit taking photos:
Though people weren't thrilled about being unoriginal, they loved the video:
One way to be different? Put down your camera and experience your vacation.