A person holding a smartphone

Above: A person holding a smartphone. Credit: Terje Sollie.


Spinning down one's Instagram feed for the umpteenth time on any given day can sometimes lead to a bout of nihilistic disgust; the realization that, "I've had enough of scrolling through all this nonsense." Checking one's feed too much can bring on nausea, feelings of revulsion, and can trigger-off a drained-and-low mood. Insta-burnout or Insta-overload is perhaps the epitome of photo-culture today: getting sucked into a cycle of reviewing images and captions with no end in sight up to the point that it becomes boring and dispiriting. This is what photography has telescoped down to in 2018: scrolling on and on, and then feeling slightly sick.

The burnout feeling is usually short-lived with curiosity building again often within the hour or at least by the next morning. This is what it means to consume photography today--gorging on a conveyor-belt of photo-images that can never be emptied out. Instagram's effects can transcend app use: over-scrolling can sap not only one's interest in the photo-visual, but also one's interest in the day ahead.

(28 February 2018)