When Did Normal Become Unacceptable?

I come to you this evening with a little impromptu post. Its been playing on my mind so as always, I like to write it down and open it for discussion and other people’s views. This post was kicked off in my head, by something that happened on my recent trip to Prague, but is something that has been wandering around in my brain for a while. Its the fact that in these days where social media rules, “normal” no longer cuts the mustard. I saw it in the most visual way in Prague one morning, so Im curious on your views on this. When did normal become unacceptable? We have all heard the saying, “doing it for the gram” right? But how far is too far? Let me tell you the story of what we observed the morning in question.

We had been told that the sun rise over the city of Prague is beautiful, so, as we are determined to absorb everything and anything from our trips and experiences, we decided to set an alarm and get up to go and chase one. Why not eh! Setting out just after 6, we strolled from our hotel through the Old Square, to watch the sunrise from Charles Bridge. The streets were so quiet and peaceful. The early dawn was beautiful. You know that stillness that occurs before the world wakes up? The birds just start their morning song. The street lights begin to stand down from their night duties. The city slowly begins to stretch its legs and yawn. I love that time of day do you? Walking under the beautiful tower of the bridge, our eyes were everywhere. Looking down on the river, looking back at the light rising over the back of the skyline of the gorgeous buildings. We were loving the show that nature was putting on.

when did normal become unacceptable

As we walked onto the bridge, another couple, obviously thinking about enjoying the sunrise, the same as us, were bustling their way onto the bridge. They walked a little in front of us, and as we were looking across the river at the paddle boat starting to slowly chug up the river, we looked back along the bridge to see that the couple had set up a tripod, full camera and rig etc. Curious, we watched them, and we became a little fascinated. The man was setting up the shot. Lovely I thought, nice sunrise shot. But then, he started running backwards and forwards to his girlfriend, who promptly got in her position of leaning forward for a kiss, lifting her leg up all cutesy, their hands linked between them, and him leaning forward for the kiss. The object I suppose, being to create a photo with the sunrise coming up behind them, while they shared an “impromptu kiss” that just so happened to be caught on camera. This photoshoot went on for ages! He was running backwards and forwards setting the camera timer, her looking to see if they had got the shot she obviously wanted. It looked exhausting, and they cannot have really seen a moment of the sunrise! He was looking through the lens, she had her back to the sunrise at every moment.

(Just to add a little note here, we looked under Prague hashtags the day after to see if we could see any of these photos and found the one from the couple above. The caption said something along the line of “stroll across the bridge in the beautiful sunrise with my man”)  We did laugh.

when did normal become unacceptable

Moving further across the bridge, we then ran into two girls. One was setting up her camera, the other girl was changing. Yep, it was minus two and she was changing from her wooly hat, coat and cosy boots. In place of those items she was putting on over the knee, heeled boots, a long embroidered coat and a felt hat. She was then standing in a “stepping” pose, facing away from her friend, being directed on exactly how and where she should be standing. Again, no acknowledgment or appreciation of the sunrise or the City revealing its details. Just all about the “just casually strolling across the bridge” shot. Further still across the bridge, another pair of girls. This time the girl was changing out of her coat, hat and boots into a flimsy floral dress, stilettos and a huge floppy hat. Again, she was doing a “nonchalant” pose, leaning against one of the lamp posts, just whimsically looking up at the statues. The perfect “insta-pose”

Nik was asking me what the hell was going on. He was shocked that these people were changing on the middle of the bridge, in the freezing cold, as dawn was breaking. My husband, who has no interest of knowledge whatsoever about social media, (he strongly feels it should be banned lol) was gobsmacked when I explained to him that they were probably “doing it for the gram” It was a very strange concept to him. He couldnt understand why someone would be so intent on getting this make believe photo, that they missed the actual beauty going on around them. When we were sitting in the coffee shop at the end of the bridge, we chatted about it. It made us sad that these people clearly felt that just being in their warm clothes, enjoying the sunrise was not a worthy enough photo. It had to be orchestrated, staged and be a projection of some kind of idealism that they had in their mind. It really was a visual representation of how people feel they have to present themselves a certain way. As the parent to two teenagers, it made us feel incredibly aware of how visual and shallow the pressure on these youngsters is.

when did normal become unacceptable
the full photo shoot going on

So, it got me thinking. When did normal become unacceptable? When did it become that being dressed for the weather, cosy, watching the sun come up with someone you love, was not enough anymore? Don’t get me wrong, we had our phones with us and I did take a couple of snaps, but that was not the reason we were there. We wanted to experience the sunrise, see Prague waking up, and observe the different way that the City looked in the dawn. I do think its lovely to get nice photos of an occassion, holiday etc, but thats not what these photos that these people take are, is it? These photos are to create an illusion of a perfect life. To create an image for the gram. But is it to create an image, of a life that these people aspire to? Do the people taking these photos do it as they want to be seen a certain way? Is it about creating a brand? An image of how they want to be perceived?

I did an Instagram experiment early this year, as I was curious about how much effort was needed to grow an account these days. (You can read it here if you’d like to, My Instagram Experiment)I love that there is creativity in photos, and I adore creative accounts, but I also think that it is sad that in order to get that insta-worthy pic, people are missing the beauty around them. The living life through a lens trend is at new heights. They are not seeing what they are taking a photo of, just trying to prove that they were there. Getting the perfect photo that proves it. The pressure must be immense if you are wrapped up in that I would think? Does it take the joy out of the moment?  The desire to get that perfect pic outweighs the desire to appreciate a sunrise. That makes me feel so sad.

What do you think? Has it all gone a little to far now? Do you wish there were more ordinary photos on instagram? Do you follow accounts with that whole branding/aspirational life vibe or prefer normal photos? I would love to hear your take on it all xx






  1. November 23, 2018 / 7:28 pm

    I’d like to think I don’t do this. My immediate thought was that’s crazy and really fake.
    I certainly wouldn’t do any of the things on the bridge, but there was a time this year when we got unexpected snow and S and I decided to build a snowman at 11 o’clock at night, as is completely normal for 2 adults happy about the snow! We built him and S took a picture of me with my arm round our snowman. As I was about to post it, the thoughts of “oh I took my make-up off and don’t look my best” went through my head. But seriously, who puts on make-up at 11 o’clock at night to build a snowman? It was still snowing! So I thought who cares and just posted the photo.
    It’s not the same as what you’re saying – these people were clearly staging the shots because normal shots just wouldn’t do. But deep down I think there’s some part of all of us that thinks we’ll somehow be judged for how we present ourselves on a normal day, and that’s a bit sad.

    • kerrylifeandloves
      November 23, 2018 / 9:11 pm

      Kirsty your situation was definitely different, it sounds so cute! I love the thought of you two rushing out to build a snowman. I just feel that it is so sad some people are so keen to get the perfect image, they miss the beauty around them. Thank you for your input lovely xxxx

      • November 23, 2018 / 11:02 pm

        Yes, I think it really stood out where you were because of the people taking their clothes off in the freezing cold,but it seems wherever lots of tourists are, people are glued to their phones trying to make memories, rather than enjoying the time with the people who are actually there.And how many meals go cold because people need to get the perfect photo instead of just enjoying it?!

        • kerrylifeandloves
          November 24, 2018 / 2:44 pm

          Ohhh do not get me started on the food thing! I once saw an entire meal be left after photos of it were taken. Madness!

  2. November 23, 2018 / 7:35 pm

    I have to agree with everything you said. It is the same here in Brazil. I like to just take a couple of photos for the gram, and my husband takes our selfie, which is for us. And that is never posted anywhere. Maybe one day this bubble will pass too ! Happy weekend !

    • kerrylifeandloves
      November 23, 2018 / 9:13 pm

      Ah so you have seen it too! Its so sad isnt it. Its like they fail to see the beauty around them. I honestly think that the bubble will burst one day, it cant really carry on and on can it! Thank you for reading xxxx

  3. Sally
    November 24, 2018 / 2:00 pm

    I think the world has gone mad!! To me snap shots taken in the here and now are the best. They may not be acceptable to the “gram” world but I believe they tell more of a story. The example pic by the couple you mentioned is boring same old same old. I mean could be anyone could be anywhere!! It sounds like it wasbhard work and not fun! Some of my photos when i am on holiday are so random but they are real! So if you haven’t gathered by now i think we live in such a fake world now when is it going to end? Xx

    • kerrylifeandloves
      November 24, 2018 / 2:46 pm

      Sally I am with you 100%. When will enough be too much? It seems crazy. I am the same as you, our holiday snaps that we are in are just taken on my phone, goofy smiles, nothing serious. Its capturing the moment as it is, not creating a moment that isnt real. I know the sort of photos I prefer to look at! Thank you so much for reading xxxx

  4. November 24, 2018 / 4:04 pm

    Yes – I am with you on this Kerry. In fact, on Bonfire Night Nadja (my daughter) said something really interesting. She told me she wasn’t going to do a vlog on the fireworks because she just wanted to enjoy them – and she’s 11! Very wise words on young shoulders and I praised her for doing so. It’s a shame people can’t just ‘be’ and capture natural moments – even if the camera is skew whiff or the lighting isn’t perfect.

    • kerrylifeandloves
      November 24, 2018 / 5:24 pm

      Thats brilliant Lauretta, and gives me faith that youngsters also “get it”. Good on Nadja. I love her wisdom. I think its great to get a beautiful photo, and I also love to do that, but where does it stop? Not seeing the beauty that is around us, just to get a staged photo, is craziness isnt it. I honestly think the bubble will eventually burst and we will all get some sense back in us. (or is it I hope) lol xx Thanks for reading, and sharing your daughters words. Its music to my ears!

      • Lauretta
        November 24, 2018 / 8:10 pm

        Thanks Kerry – it was music to my ears when she said that! Xx

  5. November 24, 2018 / 5:10 pm

    I totally agree with what you’ve written Kerry and had a good giggle at the word picture ( and actual photo) that you described. I feel the same about dramatic proposals and wedding dances – controversial I know 😀 It’s supposed to be a celebration of your love not a chance to show off your planning skills, just be in the moment, not on Facebook. I love Prague and I’m glad you did tool

    • kerrylifeandloves
      November 24, 2018 / 5:28 pm

      Ahhh thank you, Im so glad you agree. It has given me a little faith that there are a few of us that still appreciates a moment over the perfect insta-pic! I am going to be controversial too then, as I too dislike the choreographed first dances. The couple always look so uncomfortable too! I love a nice picture, but at what cost? I want to shake them and say look at this gorgeous sunrise, enjoy it! Thank you for reading, and sharing your own thoughts. I love to hear what others think so really appreciate it xxx

  6. November 24, 2018 / 9:30 pm

    Kerry, I hear you! Just over a month ago we were in Budapest. We walked down to see the ‘shoes on the Danube’ memorial. You might know it, but if not, it’s sculptures of shoes to represent the shoes of the victims during WW2 who were massacred and pushed into the Danube. It’s so sad – there are children’s shoes there, it brought me to tears. I’m not joking when I say there were people there, full-on posing in front of it. I can’t even say it was ‘respectful’ posing (if there is such a thing) – one particular woman was sort of ‘sexy’ crouching and pouting with the shoes in the background. Another woman was pretending to look ‘reflective’ whilst I believe a friend took her picture and then her friend called out ‘you need to look sadder’. It made my blood boil, was nothing sacred anymore. Did these people die to raise your Insta likes? Apologies, I know that sounds pretty dramatic, but it did really upset me. I took some pictures of the memorial to include within an upcoming post, but not for any other reason than to raise awareness and encourage people to go and pay their respects. This Insta culture really needs to run it’s course it’s mind boggling xx

    • kerrylifeandloves
      November 24, 2018 / 9:53 pm

      Alex I am with you 100%. It all goes to far and the respect is lost. It makes me cross too. I am all for trying to get an amazing picture, but why do they need to pose and stage it. It makes it crazy. Thankfully, we didnt see any of that in the Jewish Quarter in Prague, (which was incredibly sad, like you described) or I think I would have got annoyed. I feel so sad that so much beauty is missed by looking through a camera lens.
      (I will be picking your brains about Budapest if thats ok, we have just booked for January)
      Thank you for reading lovely. I really appreciate you adding your view to. I love hearing other peoples points xx

  7. November 25, 2018 / 5:49 pm

    I went with a photographer once to do a shoot on a London bridge with the sunset. And we ended up changing my jacket and playing around a bit. But the end result was really nice. I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to get a perfect photo, but I do think it should be about balance. So if I’m out for the day exploring, it’s nice to take images, but then I want to see it all with my own eyes as well.
    I just think Instagram is becoming this place where people want the professional shots and they want to create a particular look to compete with the other ones out there. It’s becoming normal to do ‘Instagram shoots’, some people even go abroad just because of it. Which I’d only agree with if it’s generally a business move to help a brand. x

    • kerrylifeandloves
      November 25, 2018 / 6:50 pm

      Hi Laura, thank you so much for your honesty. Its great to hear from someone who does the whole orchestrated photo shoot. Can I ask, did you actually “see” the sunset, or was it all focus on the shoot? See, this is where I think its become crazy. You have the most stunning natural backdrops and scenes given by nature, but dont see them. Am I making sense? It also could be because I work in a very natural environment in my day job, (making the most of what we have naturally etc), that I personally, don’t enjoy the overly staged photos on Instagram. I find they all start looking like every other feed. I 100% think each to their own, but I do wonder when enough is enough. I love hearing other peoples views, so really appreciate your comment xxx

      • November 29, 2018 / 10:42 pm

        Apologies I’m a little late to comment. So the shoot I did on the bridge, I did see the sunset because some of the photos I was facing the sun – got lucky there! But to be honest, I guess I take British weather for granted. If I was on holiday and watching a sunset, I wouldn’t want to do a shoot, unless I could then watch the sunset the following day.
        I kind of have the attitude – if you can’t beat them, join them. I’ve watched this company I work for, do all the ‘Instagram’ type posts, and they generate so much income through it. I try to not overthink it all. My page is mainly selfies and me out and about, but in real life I’m a book nerd who is obsessed with culture. I just think Instagram is about creating something and no longer about reality. Not to say what I post is fake, but it’s 5% of everything else. I do hate Instagram’s ideas of perfection. xxx

        • kerrylifeandloves
          November 29, 2018 / 10:53 pm

          Ahhh dont apologise. I really appreciate hearing other points of view xx. I get what you mean about taking where we live for granted too. I had a friend come and stay and all she kept saying was how lucky we were to be so near london etc, something I take for granted. I think you are right, Instagram is so pretend now, its kind of sad. Really appreciate your honesty, it gives me another view to ponder xxx

          • November 29, 2018 / 11:42 pm

            I think for me as well, I’m a perfectionist. And I hate that my blog photos are sometimes bad quality and very ‘real’. I just think people are growing up and believing that these contrived images are the way forward. xxx

  8. Zoe
    November 25, 2018 / 7:22 pm

    Hi Kerry, lovely post and one which I can resonate with. I was in Bali a few months ago. The beauty of the island was amazing. I did take some pictures so I could remember the island, the beauty and the people however I saw so many people posing for the gram. We were sat watching the sunset on the beach and there was a woman doing yoga poses with a photographer. The yoga pose on a beach usually (appreciate not always) promotes a lifestyle which isn’t the one that person is living imo. Then there was a mother and daughter by the pool with a selfie stick snapping away and doing certain poses.

    I’m a bit rubbish in that I get in the moment and forget to take pictures. Often on nights, days out or holidays I don’t take many pictures!

    • kerrylifeandloves
      November 26, 2018 / 3:19 pm

      Hi Zoe, thank you so much for stopping by. I think taking photos to capture the moment is a beautiful thing, and I even like the staged photos sometimes. What I struggle with is the total disregard and under appreciation of what is around them. I feel sad that they dont notice the amazing sunrise or the gorgeous colour of the ocean. Its all curated and staged. I appreciate a beautiful photo, but wonder how far is too far? Im the same as you, when I am out with friends my phone stays in my bag. Its being present isnt it xx Thank you so much for sharing your views and experiences xx

  9. November 28, 2018 / 8:04 am

    I totally get what you mean here Kerry. I can be a bit like this when I go into London sometimes. Forever looking for somewhere nice to shoot.
    Having said that, I do see beauty in places and think I will return here for photos sometime. One thing I am guilty of is taking photos wearing way too little for the actual temps outside! When you’ve got to shoot the dress this sometimes is what you have to do! xx

    • kerrylifeandloves
      November 28, 2018 / 9:31 am

      Hahaha. Perhaps I dont understand it as much as Im not a fashion blogger? As a travel writer, its more important to me to actually see the place in its beauty and not as a fashion shoot backdrop. It could be as simple as that couldnt it. I can imagine its blooming freezing sometimes! Hope you have your thermals on haha xx Thank you for giving your view Laurie, I always appreciate hearing another view point xxxx

  10. Susanne
    November 28, 2018 / 11:39 am

    This is crazy!!! If it’s a truly professional photoshoot for portraits, weddings, and similar, then yes. NOT if you just do it for social media, then it’s totally overkill.
    As you know I love photography and it happens that I go to a certain place and set up a tripod, use filters etc but then it is to get certain effects, to try new techniques, to improve my photography. When I travel, stroll in a new place, then I want to capture the real world as it is, not as I want it to be. Those perfectly staged photos on instagram are sooo boring. (and I have to say that many professional landscape photographer accounts are also boring because all their photos look exactly the same!) I like variety, and to see photos of real stuff from real life. I like good photography but it has to be real and in the moment.
    I take lots of photos when I travel because I like to have memories in photos, and also to practice photography composition and the likes. But I definitely don’t get this selfie stuff.. everywhere. I remember coming to Venice in 2016 and the first thing I saw when coming from the train station and onto the bridge was people taking selfies. Like “oh, Venice is such a beautiful city. Let’s take photos of… ourselves!!!!”

    • kerrylifeandloves
      November 28, 2018 / 12:35 pm

      Hi Susanne, you have hit the nail on the head. That is exactly the thing that dont get. They have this beautiful destination, yet make themselves the star of the show! They could be absolutely anywhere as you see very little of the place. Its crazy. I also take a lot of photos when I travel, as I like to print some out for albums. We keep little photo albums of everywhere we visit. You are right about so many feeds looking the same too, its dull! thank you so much for popping across. I appreciate it as ever xxxx

  11. August 13, 2019 / 8:39 am

    To be honest, I think it’s kind of ridiculous. I do have my photos that are posed and for the gram. However, I do prefer to go to places that I want to go to not just for the photo shoots. I think it’s so important to appreciate your surroundings. My favourite photos are the ones where I’m actually facing the camera and smiling. Most of the time I travel on my own, so I rely on either strangers to take my photo, or I just photograph the landscape, or buildings etc without me in them!

    • kerrylifeandloves
      August 13, 2019 / 3:56 pm

      Oh I am with you on that. In fact, my blogging photos are often just taken on a phone as I forget to take my big camera out with me. I think the more demand there is for the “orchestrated” type photos, the more of them we will see unfortunately. Hopefully, this stage will pass and we will be back to beautiful photos of destinations! Thank you so much for reading and adding your views, much appreciated x

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