Gray’s Anatomy – Easy To Laugh

I can hardly believe that it’s Friday again, but it is and it seems to come round faster every week. Richard Gray has sent through his regular Friday post for his column ‘Gray’s Anatomy’. This week Richard discusses the influx of images uploaded to Instragam and considers whether quantity is really any match for quality. Over to you Richard (Foreword by Joanne Carter).


“You may have already seen the hilarious youtube sensation (no not Gangham style) to poke fun at some of the cliched images and lack of originality on Instagram. Set to Nickelback’s Photograph song, if you haven’t, click here, you’ll see it, in all its mocking glory, but make sure you come back to finish off reading this blog once you’ve seen it.

Back? good, so, what did you think? Yeah, my thoughts exactly. Slightly lame but with some quite funny bits. Some soft targets of course: fingernails, food, feet. But our merry pranksters also make some observations of cliched photos that made me think, yes, haha, that’s true but I’d never heard anyone mention it before (=quite funny). For example, the plane wing in the air. Indeed, how many of those have we seen? The plane wing shot could also fall into the insta-bragging category: hey look at me I can afford a plane ticket and I’m going somewhere exotic. Similar to the drinking-on-a-cruise photo. I always think if you set a joke that is, say, 5 on a funny scale of 1 to 10, to music, with a nice rhymn at the end of the line, you can raise the funniness to a 7 or 8. This is the case of a couple of quite good lines: “Putting glasses on a cat, I’m the first one to think of that”. And “Look at this coffee foam, Look at this garden gnome, I’m frigging Michael Angelo”. Ooh, that might actually touch a nerve with some people.

If there is a serious point to the joke, it is: we are bored silly of seeing the same old photos over and over again. And just because you add an earlybird filter, it doesn’t make you Henri Cartier-Bresson. OK, first point. Instagram is like TV. If you don’t like what you’re seeing, change channels. You don’t have to follow people who obsessively post photos of themselves pouting in their bathroom mirrors. Second point, so these two jokers are connoisseurs of fine photography, are they? Would we be blown away by the aesthetic originality of their Instagram feeds?

Yes, we get bored of seeing certain types of photo from other people, just as we get bored of taking certain photos ourselves. And the sheer volume and speed with which people are posting up photos is speeding up this getting-bored process. It could be that at the current rate that people are taking and posting photos, we all end up only interested in ultra-modernist macro abstracts that we have run through decim8 twenty times. And then we’ll get bored of those and start taking photos of flowers again without any processing. So, OK, we get the point, and it’s a bit of a laugh, but in reality no-one is the ultimate arbiter of taste in photograph – least of all these two jokers.”



© Richard Gray – ‘The woman who woke up and found a tree had grown on her head: just for a laugh’

Richard's mobile photography has been exhibited around the world and published in various magazines and on many websites. He launched the world's first live course in iPhone photography in early 2012 with Kensington and Chelsea College. He has given workshops with The Photographers' Gallery and British Journal of Photography. Sport England recently commissioned him to cover various of its Sportivate initiatives with the iPhone. A keen observer of this new photographic genre, his writing has been widely published (most notably in The Guardian) and he writes a blog (iphoggy-bloggy). With a big camera, he specialises in music photography ( and syndicates to Press Association (with both big and small cameras).

One Comment

  • JQ Gaines

    A most timely article… and definitely an enjoyable one! Personally, the bit that made me laugh the hardest was the Garden Gnome and chasing the duck. Thanks for the Friday chuckle!