In many ways, Instagram and other photo sharing social networks have replaced the dusty family photo album that used to sit in the closet at home.
Filmmaker Thomas Jullien browsed through Instagram and decided to “create structure out of the chaos.” He pieced together a seamless stop-motion animation of 852 pictures from 852 different users ranging from famous landmarks to popsicles.
What he discovered were a lot of the images that people take are replicated either because landmarks make good pictures and are destinations in themselves, or because popular picture formats spread quickly through Instagram due to the use of hashtags. Consider the case of #Selfie.
Then again, people have been taking the same pictures for decades. Few who travel to Rome would avoid taking pictures of The Vatican, or travel to London and miss the opportunity to get some snapshots of Big Ben. Family albums are packed full of pictures like this, as is Instagram, because both formats are designed to project the image of a life well lived.
Now the family album doesn’t only come out during the holidays, it is automatically cross-posted to Twitter and Facebook. Everyone is constantly updating and curating their family album through their online persona.
Jullien collected together a selection of photos from across the site and meshed them together to give an idea of the life of an Instagrammer, from Paris to New York, from a bike ride to a space shuttle launch. And guess what, everyone is still taking similar pictures, the same way we always have.