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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Previous comments

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.

Josh Springer's picture

Hello edge glow!

Francisco B's picture

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.

michaeljin's picture

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.

Campbell Sinclair's picture

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.

Campbell Sinclair's picture

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 ?

Deleted Account's picture


David Moore's picture

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

Esma Habib's picture

nice post <3

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

Andy Barnham's picture

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.

Nnam Mono's picture

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.

Griffith Bowen's picture

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.

Tomash Masojc's picture

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

Griffith Bowen's picture

His photographs of the wedding weren't anything to showcase. It's mad, photography is all about the name and never the skill... never made sense to me. It's one of the biggest reasons people don't or can't make a living out of it, because of people with a Big Name compared to someone with an excellent portfolio.

Campbell Sinclair's picture

checked out Alex's website , I'd describe his photography as 'safe' . Not a style to inspire me.

Tomash Masojc's picture

"Spontaneous engagement photos?" - Really????

So somebody was walking on the beach, saw the couple, and thought.....Oh! I will take photos and then send to them! :D sorry, but on Instagram and especially celebrity's nothing do spontaneous :))) they thought about it, planned. They always think about followers, if not them, then people who administrates their social accounts.

As was said before, people must understand, that instagram is not for photographers :) it's never was, it was made for phones and their photo sharing.

I'm not angry, not jealous, i just want people to understand that :) even there are kind of photographers, that are called "Instagram photographers", who made photos with cameras. but in style of instagram, colorful and so on. And it's ok. I just want people don't ask me to do photos like that. Or compare me to that works, it's different style, and i'm ok with it.

Robert Nurse's picture

I'll just leave this alone.

Robert Tran's picture

My experience with IG has been whatever I have chosen to make it by being selective with the accounts I follow and interact. I think Brian incorrectly uses the term, "voyeur," and does it with a broad brush to characterize the IG experience.

If we shift our attention away from the photos and focus on his underlying point, Brian is essentially suggesting that his opinions are "proof," which I would argue should be more evidence / fact based. He failed to make a case that moved my thinking my any way.

Martin Melnick's picture

"Despite its roots as a visual medium where quality photographs can be appreciated and shared"
Instagram was made intentionally as a fast photo/life sharing app. It was never intended to be used for anything but personal instamatic style snapshots. In essence, it's entire point was to be veuyeristic - not professional. The professional, content creator movement happened way later. For example here is the first instagram post:
for reference: https://www.instagram.com/p/C/

Lorin Duckman's picture

I am so lucky to have the honor and privilege to see these. I hope they stay in love and help people. That their images could have been more to the author's liking is snarky. I wish I was there with a camera.

Dan Ostergren's picture

The photos really aren't that bad, but the photo community is so full of hate and envy. Can't believe I wasted any time reading this.

Instagram might once have been for serious photography but no longer. The very name implies quick publishing of a photo taken with a cell phone. In other words, a snapshot. Uploading a photo after post-production is cumbersome and if you’re a celebrity or even a regular Instagram user, you simply can’t wait that long.

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