A short rant about Instagram and my breakfast not being beautiful

I shared a photo on my Facebook blog page this morning that seemed to strike a chord. It was something I found on Instagram that pretty much sums up how I feel every morning.

 

A photo posted by @kay14722 on

For my breakfast this morning I ate some cold pasta out of a bowl from the fridge with my fingers, and a Jaffa cake I found, (in the box), on the floor in the living room.

There was nothing photogenic about any element of that. I didn’t have a casually placed, single large bloom in a glass jar in the background, my carefully painted toe nails were not visible in the edge of the photo, peeking out of my shiny red sandals. There was not a single quirky, vintage, floral table cloth in sight.

I ate though. Calories were consumed. I chewed. I swallowed. 

I know that my job is social media, blah blah, but it pisses me off sometimes that there’s this constant pressure to be beautiful and stylish in everything that you do. The fact is that I’m just not a stylish person. I’m not a very good photographer, I have no real sense of colour, and often I resent the niggling feeling that if my dinner doesn’t get at least two dozen likes then somehow it’s not worth eating.

Of course we all like to look at nice pictures and pretty things, but Instagram often feels to me like an extension of that hideous pressure we put on ourselves to look beautiful. Except that now it’s worse, because not only do we feel the pressure to make ourselves look personally beautiful, but now everything around us has to be too – our breakfast must be styled, our homes chic at all times, our cups of coffee perfectly arranged on a white desk next to a self-help paperback about embracing life and a pencil holder in the shape of a polaroid camera.

Enough already.

17 Comments

  1. 26 October, 2015 / 2:51 pm

    Yes. I really dislike the styled side of Instagram. I find it makes me feel depressed about my own standards. I know all the advice about being successful on Instagram is about curating your feed, having a style, and, really, it mostly boils down to havjng an aspirational aesthetic. I’m happy to be ‘unsuccesful’ on Instagram and focus on things that make me smile, ‘bad’ photos and all.

  2. 26 October, 2015 / 9:21 pm

    Lol lol lol and high five… Couldn’t agree more!

  3. 26 October, 2015 / 9:24 pm

    I like the pretty pictures but also do feel crap for my blurry ones. Then I think you know what, my blurry ones of Toby racing around are a snapshot of his childhood, of our life as a family and if it’s not pretty enough then tough!xx

  4. 26 October, 2015 / 9:54 pm

    Ahh! And while people are photographing their perfect breakfasts it is going cold. hahaha
    I think life is too short to get the perfect photo….I’d much rather be eating Jaffa cakes :) x

    • 6 November, 2015 / 2:11 pm

      Well said Kim! Love it! Totally agree life is too short – just enjoy your food while it’s hot :)

    • 6 November, 2015 / 2:13 pm

      Jo, I love this simple post – really made me chuckle! Life is never Instagram beautiful and like Kim said, way too short to be photographing every meal you eat!

  5. olivia Kirby
    26 October, 2015 / 10:30 pm

    My house is nearly always a mess but my food looks the best it can, I’m not arty but I do try to make food look good as that’s what I’m interested in, I don’t like coco pops or avocado, funnily enough, and I hate stuff that isn’t symmetrical, .but that’s just me. I’m not actually interested in other people’s food pics, just my own, I actually sit and look back at them, and not to count the ‘likes’ (which is never more than 3 including myself). I don’t really know what my point is so just ignore me :-)

  6. 26 October, 2015 / 10:39 pm

    Haha, just like what we were saying at my baby shower on Saturday – there are the pretty ‘styling muslins’ from my nappy cake (which of course I’ll artfully drape about my home for those Instagram moments*) and then there are the plain white ones which will soon be stained and revolting and will never get their 15 minutes of social media fame ;)

    *I very much doubt this will actually happen. If I remember how to operate my phone / camera / apps once the twins arrive, it will be a miracle!

  7. 27 October, 2015 / 1:01 am

    Ha ha, I’m rubbish at photo styling. Most of my shots are taken in kitchen, on the fly, and have the checked tablecloth (including red fabric paint splodges that I can’t remove.

    I was amazed at Britmums, how long it takes photo stylists to take thei photos because of the setting up. Katy Orme takes beautiful shots, but crikey, we’re talking hours of moving items 1 cm or less! I couldn’t be bothered.

  8. 28 October, 2015 / 8:03 am

    oh but JO what you are is VERY funny..this made me chuckle for ages.

  9. 28 October, 2015 / 2:05 pm

    This is bloody brilliant. Hilarious. Spot on. Well said. (I am guilty of posting a runny yolk, boiled egg complete with peony in vase and vintage fork in shot), but you’re right. Sometimes we all need to remember that our breakfast usually consists of the dry crusts the toddler wouldn’t eat. And that’s really, really ok.

  10. 30 October, 2015 / 7:22 pm

    Totally agree! I used Instagram to chronicle my life and the things I’ve done, places I’ve been .. I just can’t ‘do’ the whole avocado thing! x

  11. 31 October, 2015 / 12:05 am

    I try and remember that most food stylists are working with probably amounts to inedible food. Even if it is the real deal, we’re not seeing the mess in the kitchen and the 30 bad shots before the posting-unless you look at my pics, mess and all. Eating leftovers for breakfast? That’s just smart food management-no waste.

  12. 5 November, 2015 / 8:09 pm

    What we need Jo is a slummy rendition of the Instagram. For us folk who eat Halloween candy and scrambled egg burritos while we drive the kids to school. We all know our lifestyle is way hotter anyway.

  13. 6 November, 2015 / 9:13 pm

    I see Instagram as art more than social media. I look at it in the same way as a film or magazine, it’s nice to lose myself in the pretty images but I don’t look at someone’s feed and think that’s their life – I mean seriously no one actually garnishes their own dinner. That being said, I love me some cold pasta and I would so have hearted a bowl of that bad boy with a Lark filter.

  14. 18 November, 2017 / 7:44 pm

    the day you see me posting on Instagram with my painted nails and red sandals just in the corner of the pic…..that’s the day to leave the platform! Being serious, I think there’s a difference between presenting things well and being inauthentic. I’ll always try and get a good photo but I do think we’ve moved a long way from the Insta part of Instagram. Insta stories are generally quick and unfiltered and that’s the way the whole platform should work.

  15. Philipa
    14 February, 2018 / 9:51 am

    I too logged on to instagram for art and design and some pics are too funny. I miss it

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