Above: An emoji from Twemoji v2 project. Credit: Fair use.
These days on Instagram, and other social media apps, it is as if a photograph exists solely as the set-up for a caption. It is the photo-caption which contains evidence of the wit and cleverness of the poster and the poster's followers. The photo is just the "object" that they compose around, and react to. One of the ways that comments accrue on Instagram is in the format of emojis. A "comment" may contain no words at all, it may just be, say, two emojis of crying-with-laughter. This is what the photo has become in the Insta age: a cue, a set-up, a feed-line set-in-place and ready for every witty author's punch-line. A kind of place-holder awaiting emojis below it.
(18 January 2019)