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. 

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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. 

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Christian Durand's picture

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

Erpillar Bendy's picture

Not a nice thing to say.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

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.

Michael Kormos's picture

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.

Ariel Martini's picture

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

Deleted Account's picture

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.

John W's picture

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.

Laszlo Kalman's picture

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...

Nathan Ricketts's picture

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.

Gust van de Wal's picture

Do you think that's a bad thing?

Nathan Ricketts's picture

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.

Gust van de Wal's picture

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'.

David Justice's picture

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.

P MD's picture

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

Jonathan Brady's picture

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.

Francisco B's picture

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.

liliumva's picture

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.

Philipp Pley's picture

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.

Tom HM's picture

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.

Erpillar Bendy's picture

I agree. The article misses the point.

Rk K's picture

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

Jeff McCollough's picture

They both are garbage unless you know some select photographers to follow.

Julien Jarry's picture

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

Sean Scarmack's picture

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

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