Deceiving photography and social networks

A couple of weeks ago we had a conversation with some friends about today’s popular social networks and how they affect our mood.

To summarize, we all agreed, that in the world of Instaphotography everybody is having a better time than you. That’s everybody and every time.

How is this possible?

It’s in the human nature to want to be admired, to tell the world how good our life is. But it is also in our nature to feel jealous (in a good or bad way) of things that others do, as long as they look cool and more enjoyable than our current situation.

I’m pretty sure that there have been many times that you were stuck in the office, with a pile of boring things to do, when suddenly you saw a photo of your friend drinking an exotic cocktail at some strange and beautiful place. Add to this the cross-process, funky flare filters that can make even the worst photos look good and you got yourself something to cry about for the rest of the day.

So my wife, Galia, had the idea to take on a little experiment. We tried to make a photo that combines all the above: having fun, relaxing, being in a great environment and at the same time set it in a ridiculous place. We found a small area with some lawn that actually looked like a coffin. It was in the middle of a parking lot with cars all around it. Not exactly an environment to be jealous of.

I shot a couple of smiling photos, applied a dozen coolness, over-saturation, happiness filters to them, cropped the hell out of these car distractions and uploaded the best of them to the mother of friends & family social networks, “Facebook that is”, to see some reactions.

The likes started coming in and pretty soon the first comment arrived: “What a great photo and what a lovely place, you seem so relaxed”.

The second one: “Galia looks beautiful where this place is?” and we continue with the favorite of mine: “You lucky bastards are you on vacation again?”

Of course there were others that commented on my wife looking pretty or the photograph being good which is true but just the part where my wife looks pretty :)

So what does this mean?

Really I don’t think it means anything important. It is probably a stupid experiment. But we came up with a couple of rules to make our lives better when we are looking at friends photos at social networks.

  1. Photography can be deceiving. What looks great might actually just be mediocre, so always remember to take it easy.

  2. When we are in an uncomfortable situation, like working over the weekend, anything that other people do seems better, even if we did exactly the same thing last weekend and we had so much fun.

  3. People always upload the good photos, the happy memories. Your friend might be drinking his cocktail at the beach bar now but you will never see the photo of him sucking up to his boss a couple of hours earlier.

  4. And the final rule. Sometimes people are having a better time than you. There’s nothing you can do about it that’s life!

We actually had a lot of fun doing this little experiment so I guess that makes the whole thing invalid since I felt that I was having a better time than most of my friends.

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