JILL POULSEN
JILL POULSEN

Instagram: ruining holidays everywhere

IT'S time Instagram chilled out about female nipples and refocused its resources on cracking down on idiots.

The social media giant has a zero-tolerance policy for any pictures in which women's nipples are visible but has no problem with users who want to #inspire others to #liveyourbestlife with a "candid" shot posing atop a crumbling cliff top.

This week it was reported that despite a fence and signs erected to stop tourists from venturing to the edge of the famous Wedding Cake Rock in Sydney, the dangerous behaviour is still occurring.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service warns tourists on its website that: "Wedding Cake Rock is unstable and has a fence around it for your safety. Please stay behind the fenced off areas. Standing or sitting on the rock or cliff edges poses a very high safety risk."

But the very real threat of a collapse and large cracks visible on the surface of the rock is not enough to deter people from standing, hanging over the side or doing a yoga pose on the Insta famous landmark.

Idiots, they’re everywhere. Here’s one at Wedding Cake Rock in Sydney. (Pic: John Feder/The Australian)
Idiots, they’re everywhere. Here’s one at Wedding Cake Rock in Sydney. (Pic: John Feder/The Australian)

Being the modern country Australia is, it's unlikely the authorities will just let natural selection run its course so you can almost guarantee that if the idiocy continues there'll be six foot razor wire fences put up to keep people safe before we know it.

Then came news a 19-year-old model had been bitten on the wrist a shark in the Bahamas after posing with a group of nurse sharks.

She declared it a "learning experience" and defended the act by saying "I've seen countless photos of people with them on Instagram."

I don't know about you but I don't think I need to get mauled by a lion before learning that trying to pose next to a pride of them hanging out in their natural habitat is probably not the best idea.

The rise of people putting themselves, and others, at risk trying to get the perfect picture was documented in research published in the Journal of Travel Medicine in 2016.

It collated a raft of reported selfie injuries that included injury and death secondary to selfie-related falls, attacks from wild animals, electrocution, lightning strikes, trauma at sporting events, road traffic and pedestrian accidents.

It prompted the researchers to recommend travel doctors start talking to patients "about responsible self-photography during international travel".

How embarrassing.

But the narcissistic obsession with capturing the perfect travel photos goes beyond safety issues.

In their attempts to capture special travel moments in 20-minute long photo shoots, often involving a small team of people, these selfish sallies are ruining the average Joe traveller's ability to enjoy our own special moments.

Last month I was on holiday in Europe and exactly how widespread the problem is became clear to me.

I think one of the most galling examples was being forced to wait a solid five minutes before I could distance myself from the steel prison I'd just spent the last fourteen hours in because a couple decided the aerobridge was the perfect time to grab out the selfie stick and go nuts.

Music? Nah, I’m just here to take a photo of myself. (Pic: FilmMagic/FilmMagic)
Music? Nah, I’m just here to take a photo of myself. (Pic: FilmMagic/FilmMagic)

Obviously they were trying to mark the start of their holiday so all and sundry knew they were on holiday and surely that can be done with a quick two second snap, right?

Wrong. Unfortunately for me and the 200-odd other people stuck behind them, the long haul flight hadn't done wonders for the woman's up style.

So after looking at the first round of photos the woman decided she wasn't happy with how her hair looked in the first photo and forced everyone to wait while she retied it and had another crack.

Finally with the right filter she was happy and we were all on our way #hallelujah.

The expectation that everyone should wait or be interrupted for you simply because you want a photo is as rude putting your seat back during mealtime on a plane in my book.

Having to wait five minutes for someone is hardly the end of the world but if you add these times up over the space of a three week holiday it starts becoming intolerable.

Like when I was on the beach watching the sun set over the ocean and my view became obstructed by a hapless friend who had been ordered by her mate to get ten paces behind in order to take a staged photo for her watching the sun set.

The whole ordeal lasted 12 minutes.

Or the time I stumbled into a particularly sexy shoot on the stairs of one Barcelona's most visited cathedrals and found myself on the receiving end of an especially dirty look.

Somewhat miraculously I hadn't noticed the ten metre exclusion zone the photo shoot had commanded.

I know what sort of photos are doing more damage to society and it's certainly not the ones that contain a humble nip.



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