A kitchen

Above: A man cooking in a kitchen in Cape Town. Credit: Colin and Sarah Northway.

Disingenuity Photo

There is one style (SOED: characteristic manner of expression of a particular writer, school, period, etc.) of photography which has come to define photography on social media websites such as Instagram: creator disingenuity (SOED: insincere, lacking in frankness or honesty; fraudulent).

The photographer selects a composition which flatters the moment--making the scene seem as idealized as possible, while taking the trouble avoid anything which ruins the effect of perfectness. So, for example, some food served to the table with restaurant-like detail and care. The plates as brought to the table, appear in a social media post, whereas, the nearby preparation area (in the environs of a grotty student kitchen) is meticulously avoided. Only the good bits, the impressive bits, enter the frame, and all the embarrassing, unimpressive, mortifying, or cringeworthy bits do not enter the frame.

This process of super-editing visually the frame of public-consumption has become so commonplace and ordinary that it is no longer noteworthy: it has become automatic, involuntary--to make a photo for social media means to make a disingenuous photo. It has become routine, or, in fact, necessary. This is the meaning of a social media presence: my life ... sanitized, idealized, glamorized. As Baudrillard described it "a gigantic advertising campaign which the world lays on for itself."

(18 May 2018)