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A-Rod and J-Lo Engagement Photos Prove That Instagram Is for Voyeurs, Not Art Enthusiasts

A-Rod and J-Lo Engagement Photos Prove That Instagram Is for Voyeurs, Not Art Enthusiasts

Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest players in baseball history. Jennifer Lopez is the flyest of the Fly Girls. Together, they've become the power couple of Instagram. They're so popular, in fact, that their recent engagement photos drew 15 million likes and 325,000 comments on the photo-sharing platform, despite being, well, pretty terrible photos. That's because Instagram users, by and large, are not photography lovers. They are voyeurs. 

It's not hard to spot the poor post-processing done to the images A-Rod and J-Lo posted. There's obvious haloing around their bodies, overly saturated seas in the background, blown-out highlights, and a tilted horizon, not to mention some awkwardly done smoothing to the skin on Rodriguez's face that makes him look more like an exhibit at Madame Tussaud's than an actual living being. 

And, yet, a sampling of hundreds of comments from Instagram users reveals virtually no critique of the photographs. Many thousands of congratulations are offered, many mentions of how beautiful the couple is, some comments on the beauty of the ring, and a few mean-spirited references to Lopez's previous three marriages seem to make up the bulk of the comments.  

But for all the hundreds of posts I read, I saw only one that mentioned the quality of the images. User @vippi66 quipped that Rodriguez should have spent "$100 less for the ring and $100 more for a less crappy photographer." 

Considering that J-Rod's net worth as a couple will be somewhere north of $700 million, it's fair to question why they cheaped out on hiring a quality professional photographer to capture the moment they planned to share with 91.5 million Instagram followers (89 million of whom belong to Jennifer). But, given the reaction, why would they bother? 

The truth is, a large percentage of Instagram users use the platform as a means of attempting to engage their favorite celebrities and to get a peek into the stars' "real lives." The grid is made up of hundreds of little windows into the lives of athletes, A-list celebrities, actors, and musicians, offering the briefest glimpses into what it is like to be super famous and/or rich. 

Despite its roots as a visual medium where quality photographs can be appreciated and shared, Instagram instead largely feeds into the voyeuristic nature of its users, who would often rather see a filtered photo of a celebrity's dinner than an inspiring landscape or gritty journalistic image of a war zone.  

While we professional photographers pore over our photographs, deciding which ones to share, and labor over which hashtags will give our images the most social media traction, the truth is, most people don't care. 

They quickly scroll through their feed, maybe stopping occasionally to click the heart button, or, if we're lucky, they may drop an emoji comment. Sometimes, they'll put some thought into it and tell us how badly we suck and how much better they could do it if they had expensive gear (I'm kidding... mostly). 

But rarely do they stop to really look at the image they're viewing, to process what it is they like about it, to think about what the photographer is trying to say or the story they're trying tell through the image or images. 

We can and should continue to put as much effort as we find appropriate into sharing our images on Instagram. It has value to professional photographers in that it allows potential buyers or clients to quickly and easily view our work. However, cynical as it may sound, we also have to recognize the reality that the best way to get millions of likes is not to produce great photographs, but to be really good-looking and famous. 

What do you think about A-Rod and J-Lo's engagement photos? Should they have paid up for more professionally done photographs, or do these photos show a more "real" side to the couple? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think. 

Brian Pernicone's picture

Brian Pernicone grew up admiring the coastal waters of New England and that influence is evident in much of his work, which focuses primarily on coastal landscapes, boats, New England wildlife, and water sports.

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they won't be married very long .....

Not a nice thing to say.

He's not wrong...

The photos are pretty crappy. But, I almost wonder if maybe this wasn't pre-planned. It was at the spur of the moment.

If this was pre-planned, yeah, they should have hired a photographer that could have captured those "real" moments with 10x the quality.

The only thing worse are the maternity portraits that Beyoncé recently shared. Then again, certain celebrities may not care, value, nor in any way discern a good photo from a bad one, and obviously, neither can their followers.

Well, people follow JLo because of her, not for the photography quality or retouching skills.

A-Rod and J-Lo. ?

I miss the days when people had real names.

Complete shite edit too, obviously. At least the sea looks horizontal. Bonus.

I agree R-Mitch

Instagram is designed for the masses, not for photographers. It was originally intended for people to share their casual phone snaps and somewhere down the line, professional photography followed suit. It has now become a portal to celebrity/influencer culture. With that being said, don't let the number of likes and followers cloud your judgment. If that were the case, then we should only post pictures of selfies, food, or pets, as those tend to get the most likes and engagement.

Again, Instagram is designed for the masses. And the masses are not professional photographers. The sooner everyone realizes this, the better. I honestly wish there would be another app to at least compete on the professional level. However, I think it would eventually fall out of favor since it would be very difficult to reach the sheer number of users that IG has.

By the way I believe the normal behaviour is to congratulate, not to criticise the quality of the image... They clearly didn't share the pictures for a professional opinion...

Exactly. That's the main reason I HATE sharing on Instagram. My photos at least look realistic, not like we're in an alternate universe where every sky is highlighted in orange and purple. Today's culture is realistic=BORING.

Do you think that's a bad thing?

Well, I think that a photograph should be realistic to be considered a photograph, otherwise it should be considered a composite. I have nothing against graphic designers, but I don't think graphic designers should be passing off composites as photographs.

There were (probably still are) people exactly like you that said the same thing about music that made use of synthesizers, claiming it couldn't be considered music because a synthesizer is 'not a real instrument'.

I agree with this completely. It's a way to share your life and moments on a profile in a simplified way. That's what it was created for. It's not created for Photographers, although it is a great medium for them.

People need to stop complaining about things that don't matter at all.

They could have gone out of there way and staged it and had the best photographer their money combined could buy. But why. They are happy.
Leave them alone. Be happy for those around you and wish them well. Quit bashing on people's happiness. If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all.
Disasters have been striking right and left. Be positive. Think love

Why the hell would someone artistically criticize spontaneous engagement photos? That just makes you a dick.
Them: Hey everyone, we're sharing this spontaneous moment from the happiest day of our lives together.
@-hole: picture quality sucks.

See? Dick.


lol thats a good point though post processing isnt spontaneous. To an eye accustomed to looking at photos it looks overdone. The ideas in post aren't bad, its just too much of it. Id be very surprised if a seasoned photographer did this post job.



This is so silly. The reasoning is akin to why shouldn't people hire photographers instead of taking selfies? It's silly because IG is just a sharing platform. Of course not everyone cares what a photographer shares, or WHY they share it. Not everyone cares about photography.

They shared a moment of their lives, because their lives are lived in the public. Why should they have to hire a photographer for something so informal? Sure there are tons of surprise engagement photographers, but not everyone cares to do that. Could it have been staged? Possibly!

There are plenty of photographers with massive followings. It has nothing to do with how attractive they are, but how their work looks, what knowledge they provide and social interaction. You cannot really compare a photographer to an actress,or athlete. Different audience, different peer interaction, different marketing and very different intent for social media.

Yes, the image quality is very awful. I think story telling is more important though, and they've done that well.
Great story telling with better image quality won't hurt, but I think the article misses the point by making image quality the main priority.

Exactly. They shared their story, and their followers showed their appreciation. I don't think it's anything sinister or particularly voyeuristic. I'd say it's more human than pixel-peeping photography fans criticising the image quality.

I agree. The article misses the point.

500px or even Flickr isn't much better. If at all...


Dodging and burning 🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️

If you think followers add any real value to life, then you need to reevaluate life LOL.

Where did I claim to be a "World famous photographer"? Maybe you should take your head out your ass and read my comment for what it was. Followers hold zero value to real life. If you wake up every morning looking to see if you have new followers, you sir are pathetic LOL

Jealous? You've got to be kidding. It's childish to be jealous of a non-accomplishment.

Hello edge glow!

The photos themselves aren't bad, the post processing is ridiculous. A-Rod looks like an angel lol. Maybe it was a quick and careless iphone app edit, overall really not that bad though.

For a pair of really rich people, they really did a garbage job hiring someone to record this. That's some real janky editing work.

There are thousands of photographers worth following on IG and millions of pictures that are shite.

Just like there is some solid writting on this blog and this trash opinion piece.

They shared a happy moment. You'd be an asshole for shitting over their picture qulity.

When your kid was born were you expecting a critique of the baby pictures or just to share a moment?

Get off the keyboard mate.

I agree. Just follow who you want to follow.

Wow what a vapid "article".
I tried to find the Instagram Manifesto that said that it was ever intended for artists. To my knowledge it was only ever intended for regular people to share pics of their regular life and I'm sure that is still what the vast majority of active users use it for.

Things have changed but the mentality that leads to articles like this are just as detrimental to society as all the other crap we have to deal with on social media.

Christian in the comments observes: " they won't be married very long".
Another lovely example of the pestilence that lurks just below the surface of a human heart. Ready to defile someone else's happy moment just because it can.

These look pretty candid to me, but either way, I'm happy for them and I wish them well. 🤷🏾‍♂️

I spend a lot of time on Instagram, and I never saw this photo. In fact, I mostly see photos shot on film, from 135 to 8x10. The reason, of course, is because those are the kinds of photographers and hashtags I follow. Instagram is what you make of it, and it's fantastic for photography if you use it for that. The problem isn't other people's photos; the problem is the quality of the people you chose to follow. Instead of complaining, look in the mirror.

There are lots of photographers on Instagram - my self included , and its a good way of sharing your work . Instagram was never intended to be anything a social media site so people could share there lives through photos

Could it be interesting to report about this "picocosmic" non-event ?


Complaining about not enough people complaining is a really weird place to take it. lol

I don't mind the oversatured, but yeah the halo etc is bad !

Apparently the latest IG trend is that users don't want to see professional shots, preferring spontaneous authentic/ real images, which goes hand in hand with the idea that IG voyeuristic.

I think these photos are fine, the content is well sold, and there is a natural feel to it also. I wish them the best.

I'm trying to figure out a way to say this... just like the "royal wedding" photographs were pretty piss poor, even though they have millions of pounds, but what I don't get it, why do people who have a very nice bank account need to pay thousands towards a photographer? Maybe they wanted to keep the thousands they would get charge and put it on to something else? This is the first time I've heard J-Los name for a few years, but I couldn't care less about celebs getting married or the photographs they have done.

Maybe it was a friend they wanted to photograph that shoot? (publicity for him, as you know, people are pretty thick when it comes to common-sense and celebrities) people will always pick a celebrity over someone that can do a much better job, regardless of price.

Royal wedding was shot by Alexi Lubomirski, and i don't think he is unknown photographer, or unskilled :))) haha

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