Insta repeat is the instagram account exposing the similarities between photos being posted on the social network. with the tagline ‘déjà vu vibes; wander. roam. replicate.’, the account has uploaded 81 compilations of unique travel photos, exploring the damaging effects the democratisation of photography has had on originality.
insta repeat posts collages made up of photos by unrelated photographers that look remarkably similar. together they pose questions about the authenticity of the travel blogs and accounts they are poached from whilst shining a light on the power of visual trends and their sources. with the worldwide instagram influencer market value projected to reach 2.38 billion US dollars in 2019, and our feeds dictated by an algorithm that favours ‘relevant’ content, narcissism-cum-superficiality is an all-you-can-eat buffet that, with the advent of smartphone camera technology, is just so easy to replicate.
what appears to be a new-age of copycatting could just be exasperated by this very opportunity for everyone and anyone to be an expert photographer. today the digital film rolls replace the souvenirs from our trips are offered to friends and loved ones (or random people who follow us) in very carefully chosen bow, taken with a specific filter in mind or edited using a third-party app depending on your preferences. the point is that even if these images have been lifted from or ‘inspired by’ someone else’s posting before you, they are no different to the masses of people who for years have traveled to stand in front of iconic landmarks like big ben, the statue of liberty or the wall of china to take pictures of themselves.
perhaps this is why then, that insta repeat does not positions itself as the sort of name and shame account you might find in the likes of diet prada. according to reports, the account is the work of a 27-year-old artist and filmmaker from anchorage, alaska, who’s choosing to remain anonymous:
‘there is a lot of mimicry everywhere in media, not just on instagram,’ the woman behind @insta_repeat tells photoshelter. ‘a purpose of insta_repeat is to critique originality in media creation through the lens (pun intended) of this one ‘genre’ of instagram photography accounts.‘ instead, as we continue to increase in our consumption of visual stimulants, it holds a mirror up to a culture embedded in media simulacrum, with a particular focus on instagram’s travelling elite whose experiences are short changed by an evaluation that looks no further than a carefully crafted snap or two.