Media & Entertainment

The Pursuit of the Perfect Picture and its Consequences

Do it for the gram. It was a phrase used probably about 5 years ago, mocking people who go out of their way to curate their Instagram feed. However, this phrase is more than prevalent in today’s lives, where social media infiltrate most of our lives.  I have to admit, I sometimes ‘do it for the gram’. In my recent trip to Marrakech, I woke up at 7.30am just so that I could take pictures in front of Yves Saint Laurent’s blue house without the unwanted photobombs. When I was in New York City, I also purchased a (very expensive) taro milkshake because it came in a unicorn float, which I thought would look perfect in my Instagram feed (it did).

While some people bring inconvenience to themselves to capture that insta-perfect shot, others bring shock and horror to communities. Places such as Lake Elsinore, Bogle Seeds Farm, and Rue Crémieux have fallen into the same fate as some of the world’s most renowned attractions like Santorini, the Great Wall of China, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The horror of doing it for the gram
In Lake Elsinore, California, Steve Manos, the mayor of the town is dealing with the biggest crisis yet of his term in the office: the explosion of picture-perfect poppies in the centre of the town and their fans. Thanks to an unusually wet winter, visitors are flocking to the fields of Lake Elsinore to admire the super bloom of wildflowers. These people not only brought their smartphones and camera gear, but also horrible traffic and etiquette with them. Visitors are reportedly veering off the paths to find the perfect patch of poppies to take pictures with. This caused blooms to be trampled on, despite extensive efforts by park rangers to keep people on designated trails and walkways. Many even came down the hills with bright-orange souvenirs, and plucked the flowers from their beds.

Toronto’s tourist trouble
Similarly, Bogle Seeds, a family owned and operated farm located in Toronto, Canada received swarms of selfie takers on their field. The farm first opened its sunflower field on the 20th of July to welcome visitors and for the first eight days, everything was fine. However, on the 28th of July, something has changed: a sea of visitors and over 7,000 vehicles were trying to get into the fields. The owners were caught completely off-guard that they had to call the police to help manage the traffic. Described as a ‘zombie apocalypse’, visitors were knocking down plants in pursuit of getting the perfect shot, littering everywhere, and not paying the admission fee of $7.50 per person.

Carless, but not careless
Across the Atlantic Ocean, a carless street in Paris, suffers the same fate. Rue Crémieux is becoming a hit on Instagram, and it’s no wonder why. The street, with weathered cobblestones, small pasted-painted houses, and blooming window boxes, is slowly becoming one of Europe’s most popular spots to strike a pose. However, this beautiful street is making it difficult for residents to live there. With people taking hours to film a music video on the street to screaming ladies conducting their bachelorette parties, it can be exhausting to live in such a picturesque area. Therefore, the residents are demanding the city of Paris to protect their privacy by making the street inaccessible for visitors on the evenings and weekends.

These are just three of the many examples of irresponsible visitors ruining such beautiful environments just for the sake of getting the perfect shot. It is definitely devastating to see us being slaves of social media and the validation it gives us.

Being a social media user myself, I can understand why people would go all out to get that money shot. However, I strongly urge for people to be cautious and aware of the consequences they inevitably cause when they attempt to capture that picture perfect moment. By all means, do it for the gram, but do it responsibly.

Cover: Pexels / Final Editor: Kyle Hassing

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Angela Low
Angela was born in Vietnam, raised in Singapore, lived in Cambodia, and is now dedicating her next few years of her life in the Netherlands. After three crazy years studying at a media-focused high school, she decided to continue studying communication again at the UvA, which she enjoys greatly. She is also now the secretary of Mercurius, and the coordinator of Medium Magazine and the Promotion Committee. If she has the luxury of time, she can be found binge-watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine or devouring her favourite Dutch desserts.

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