Do you have that friend whose Instagram account is a never-ending feed of 'perfect' photos of their #natural, #healthy, #fulfilled #lifestyle? Yes, you do. We all do, and, as someone who has a lot of trouble just getting out of bed in the morning, I can tell you those feeds are annoying as can be. But we can all take some solace in the fact that our seemingly #flawless, #nofilter friend may actually be full of crap, as evidenced by one Bangkok-based photographer's hilarious and subversive photo series.
Chompoo Baritone takes the typical photos one would find by that particularly tiresome type of Instagram friend and simply adds the likely context found outside the frames of their pics. Like Socality Barbie, it is social media the is more focused on creating the impression of a certain kind of life than it is actually about living a certain kind of life. It's a #lifestyle instead of a lifestyle. And like so much of what we do on social media, it's about lying to ourselves as much as it is lying to others.
Not to get too pretentious, but it reminds me about what Susan Sontag wrote about photography. (Okay, yes, this is very pretentious.) Basically, we seem to think photography has some form of objective, inalienable truth to it, when in fact photography can lie to us as much as any other media or medium. So no matter how many #nofilter hashtags festoon your friend's feed, they're lying as much as anyone else.
Chompoo Baritone's series only has eight photos so far, but I'm hoping for more. As we live more and more of our lives through digital media and social networks, we're given ever greater opportunities to lie, to ourselves and our friends, about who we are. Baritone's photo series serves as a welcome curative to false impressions.