Real-Life Instagram Turns A City Into An Indictment Of Our Distracted Photo Culture
Artist Bruno Ribeiro thinks we spend too much time taking photos with our phones. So he created an analog version of Instagram and placed it near London landmarks. Surprise: people took out their phones to capture the moment.
Walking down certain London streets, you’ll run into “Real Life Instagram”: an analog version of the app made of cardboard and cellophane and stuck to a post or wall to frame an interesting view.
The artist behind the project, Bruno Ribeiro, explains that he was inspired to create it both as a tribute to Instagram and a reminder that it’s worthwhile to occasionally leave your phone in your pocket.
“I’m a huge fan of Instagram—both the app itself and also the way it changes our habits,” Ribiero says. “It brought photography to our daily life, not just when we’re on vacation. It made us more observant of details—things we haven’t seen before, and it made us learn more about photography in general.”
On the other hand, he says, Instagram is just another way that we stay tethered to our phones, and he wants to help push people to disconnect. “I’m from a pre-Internet generation,” he says. “I’m 35 years old—I’m kind of an old guy. I think the obsession with being connected 24/7 is kind of weird. I’ve been living abroad for a long time, so I see technology bringing people who are physically far away closer, but it’s simultaneously pushing people away from their own neighbors.”
The project, he hopes, will help people take a moment to notice things about the city. “I want to say, look at this amazing cathedral you’re missing because you’re checking your email,” Ribiero says. “But I also want to bring a little joy to people’s lives—it’s not that I want to be very serious and make a statement. I don’t want to preach. If people are commuting and see these on a lamppost or a wall, and they smile, for me, it works.”