Chasing the Aurora Borealis

Excerpt from this article in the New Yorker:

They’d been in Inari for four nights, and had seen a faint glow one evening, after being roused by the hotel’s Aurora Alert. It hadn’t impressed them. “Definitely not worth being woken up for,” they said. They talked about the disparity between photographs of the aurora borealis and what you can actually see, making some technical point that I didn’t take in at the time, and grumbled, “They ought to tell you about this.”

We discussed why the aurora often looks so much better in photographs. He explained that a camera on a tripod, set for a five-second exposure, takes in far more light than the human eye does when it looks at something, and consequently it produces a more vivid image. A camera can turn even relatively weak displays into dramatic pictures—and these images can then be subjected to digital enhancements. Posted online, the pictures are automatically sharpened by the high-contrast settings of most social-media platforms, and further boosted by the backlit screens of our devices. Cumulatively, these improvements have encouraged unrealistic expectations. “It’s a shame,” Skogli said. “You have a responsibility to show the truth.” He has tried to open a discussion on the subject within the tourism industry, without success. In a rare departure from diplomatic geniality, he dismissed most Instagram photos of the lights as junk—“digitally colorized files to produce likes.”

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The Instagram Aesthetic Is Over

A pink wall

Excerpt from this article:

Matt Klein, a cultural strategist at the consultancy Sparks & Honey, also says he’s seen a gradual shift away from the rainbow-colored preplanned photos that dominated the platform in late 2017. “We all know the jig is up,” he says. “We’ve all participated in those staged photos. We all know the stress and anxiety it takes. And we can see through it. Culture is a pendulum, and the pendulum is swaying. That’s not to say everyone is going to stop posting perfect photos. But the energy is shifting.”

“Everyone is trying to be more authentic,” says Lexie Carbone, a content marketer at Later Media, a social-media marketing firm. “People are writing longer captions. They are sharing how much money they make … I think it all goes back to, you don’t want to see a girl standing in front of a wall that you’ve seen thousands of times. We need something new.”

The End of the “Real You” Online

Excerpt from this article:

A quick experiment: scroll through your social feeds right now. How many posts/statements make you cringe? Sure, some heartfelt ones may be nice to see — if you have an actual connection to that person. But are they sharing that personal expression with thousands of people? Should they be? Even crazier: are some people you know saying things they absolutely shouldn’t be saying in public? Twitter has unleashed the id in far too many people. And jacked it directly into the largest and loudest megaphone ever created.

And so I’m left wondering if the kids haven’t shown us the right path here. For years, young people have been locking down their social accounts to new followers, opting to add (and remove) people on an ad-hoc basis. Certainly, in an era where your parents are on said networks, this makes sense. But it actually makes sense for a number of reasons. And many people I know who are not kids are now locking down their accounts — some even after years spent living in public.

 

Woman shares intimate Instagram to encourage new mums to embrace their post-pregnancy bodies

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Okay, this is quite a personal post but I am now 4 months postpartum and beginning to embrace what my body has become, I’ve housed two beautiful babies for 36 weeks and breastfed for 5 weeks. My pregnancy wasn’t exactly an easy ride these boys wanted to come out early and I was hospitalised a few times because of dehydration and early contractions, our bodies go through a lot, a lot of change and your body is put through an enormous amount and I am so proud of myself that I carried such beautiful children and gave them food, warmth and most importantly all the love that I never thought I had. With a scar that I will have for the rest of my life is a tiny sacrifice for a lifetime of beautiful memories with my family. Your stretch marks DO NOT define you, your scar DOES NOT define you, your flab DOES NOT define you. You are incredible, you are a mother and you are the light of your babies eyes. I wanted to share this to show the reality of our bodies and that it’s okay not to be perfect because in their eyes you are exactly that. #identicaltwins #twins #csectionrecovery #babies #brave #scar #csectionstrong #stretchmarks #beautiful #perfect

A post shared by ᗩᖇTᕼᑌᖇ & ᖴIᑎᒪEY (@marson.twins) on

Excerpt from this article:

A British mum has shared an intimate Instagram photo of her post-pregnancy body in a bid to encourage other mums to embrace their bodies.

Emily Marson from Wrexham, UK, posted a photo of herself four months after giving birth to twins via caesarian, stating she’s “beginning to embrace what [her] body has become.”

 

 

‘Instagram’ for 18th-Century Tourists

"The Palio Race in the Campo in Honor of Grand Duke Francis of Tuscany and Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria" by Giuseppe Zocchi, 1739

Excerpt from this article:

As a mantra, “pics or it didn’t happen” carries a clear whiff of internet-age modernity. But in many ways, the sentiment behind the phrase precedes smartphones, Snapchat, and selfie sticks by some 275 years. Eyewitness Views: Making History in 18th-Century Europe, a new exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, looks at the Enlightenment-era phenomenon of vedute, or view paintings: astonishingly detailed cityscapes of Venice, Rome, Paris, and other tourist hotspots. These canvases were highly collectible luxury souvenirs, pictorial portals that would later transport the visitor (and friends back home) to that faraway place and moment. Their strict perspective lent itself to formal gardens, neoclassical arcades, and canals lined with palazzos.

But vedute were more than glorified postcards, the Getty curator Peter Björn Kerber argues in his sumptuous exhibition catalog. They also served as proof that one had personally encountered the cultural and architectural marvels of Western civilization—a kind of proto-Instagram. Many vedute included portraits of the tourist or diplomat who had commissioned them. Others depicted newsworthy events the visitor had witnessed firsthand, from royal weddings to volcanic eruptions. Though dwarfed by their surroundings, the figures in these paintings are identifiable by details of dress or by their positioning, slightly larger than life or perhaps illuminated by a strategically placed shaft of light.

This Is The Antidote For Digital Narcissism

Excerpt from this article:

What’s sad is that for some people, the vacation didn’t happen and the charitable work doesn’t count unless it’s on social media. It has to be uploaded, seen and liked to matter.

What you seldom see are the routine parts of people’s lives. The boring stuff like reading email at work. Poring over spreadsheets and enduring conference calls. Doing the laundry and vacuuming. How boring!

People only portray the cool stuff. The coffee shop photos or selfies in the gym, where they’re showing up their sedentary friends. They share this stuff because it reflects well on them. They know it will garner lots of likes. And that makes them feel good.

Finstagram – a secret Instagram account to post ugly selfies

Finstagram … post to a sympathetic audience.

Excerpt from this article:

A Finstagram – or Finsta – is a fake Instagram account.

Aren’t all Instagram accounts, with their carefully curated posts and poses, in a very real sense fake? Yeah, sure, thanks Baudrillard. These are fake in the sense of secret – they are private, locked accounts set up in addition to main accounts, with access granted only to a chosen few followers.

Why? So that more natural, less effortful posts can be put up and read.

So … the fake account allows for more reality? Yes. It’s where you can post ugly selfies, private jokes, personal rants, pictures of outfits you’re genuinely seeking advice on, screenshots of funny family group texts, pictures of yourself in the middle of a good cry, that sort of thing, to a relatively sympathetic audience.