Instagram Account Highlights How Photos on the Platform All Look the Same

Instagram Account Highlights How Photos on the Platform All Look the Same

Instagram is a double-edged sword. While serving as a platform to get your work discovered by the masses, there’s no denying it has become saturated with the same clichéd photos. Now one Instagram account is highlighting the extent to which many photos posted to the platform are near-identical.

Operating by the handle @insta_repeat, the account aims to demonstrate just how many images of essentially the exact same subject and backdrop are being posted. Posting in collages, pictures from many different photographers are laid out side by side to illustrate just how alike they are.

In a move that is surely a dig at many travel bloggers’ bios, the profile reads “Wander. Roam. Replicate.” and the blog brutally tags each of the photographers in their respective photo within every collage.

Writing about the account, Photoshelter reveal it to be the work of a 27-year-old filmmaker and artist living in Alaska who did not wish to reveal her identity. She told the photo blog:

There is a lot of mimicry everywhere in media, not just on Instagram. A purpose of @Insta_Repeat is to critique originality in media creation through the lens (pun intended) of this one ‘genre’ of Instagram photography accounts.

View this post on Instagram

Feet in front of Horseshoe Bend 🍁

A post shared by Insta Repeat (@insta_repeat) on

Photoshelter conducted an interview with the owner, where she reviews it was actually the “abundance of canoe images” that triggered the creation of the account.

Read the interview in full on Photoshelter.

Lead image by Jeremy Levin via Pexels.

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17 Comments

Michael Holst's picture

Love this. Sadly I am guilty... At one point I was taking photos like these and have since tried to be different. Instagram does have good content if you start looking for it. Once you start liking and engaging with feeds that are more unique you will start seeing more of that type of work in the explore section.

Joe Black's picture

Hahahaha. Love this post. Thanks for sharing. I really chuckled when I read this.

Kyle Medina's picture

You can find thousands of photos through the decades of famous places and people posing the same. Think Tower of Pisa, the general public has always copied what they see. What is different is that instead of seeing only your traveling Aunts photos and think how cool her photos were. You are now seeing everyones! Nothing new here.

Mark Niebauer's picture

Sad, no imagination.

Jonathan Reid's picture

This is great. Note how the images all have the same gimmicky post production too.

Jonathan Reid's picture

IG is creating the equivalent of the pop music phenomenon where everyone sings the same generic lines with the same generic sounds. I wonder how long it will be before you have to be a good looking photographer to be a popular one - the Bieber of photography.

Samten Norbù's picture

It's a big part of why I give-up on a pro page on instagram ... I'm fed up with all the tricks that you need to know/do to be viewed. I'm fed up with the fact that people don't get to see a picture anywhere else than on a phone ... and that all look the same now.

I keep a personal IG for the pleasure of having a scrap book on the go with the iphone, but that's it.
I'm done with this joke.

The rhythm of creation is dictate by the algorithm of FB, IG and all the other platforms.
I don't want to play that game any more it's too tyrannical and keep me away from real creative process.

Wonder Woman's picture

The best part of insta_repeat is seeing all the triggered photographers come out and try to defend their non-imagination, even going so far as to likening themselves to classical painters (I wish I was kidding).

Jordan McChesney's picture

The sad part is, I bet if I took these cliche photos, I'd have far more than the 450 followers that I do now. Heck, I'd probably have thousands if I just took smartphone photos of my food. The point is, on Instagram, quality doesn't result in... well results. Cynical, but true.

Michael Holst's picture

I disagree and think you could easily gain thousands of followers without this. I could site many examples of non-copycat photographers who each have a strong following.

Success on instagram is more like successful SEO than it is being trendy. There's an audience for literally every type of content on IG but you have to find a way to capture that audience and keep them engaged.

Jordan McChesney's picture

I agree that some people can get lots of followers through good content and SEO. However, I've seen far more with tens of thousands of followers who just take cell phone pictures of food, clothes, selfies, landscapes, and even flowers. Perhaps that's only here in Japan, though.

My point was quality alone won't get you followers, so don't use your follower count or likes to judge the quality of your work. That's likely why so many similar photos exist, they are easier to find than new things that no one is doing. People see these photos getting a good response and think, "I have to do that too!" (kind of like how so many films are trying to build universes because Marvel is doing so well with a shared universe)

All of this isn't even taking the sociological aspects into account, when it comes to following habits.

Michael Holst's picture

"don't use your follower count or likes to judge the quality of your work."

I couldn't agree more with this. It's actually what makes me ok with the fact that some people gain a huge following with nothing but selfies, copied photos, or random snapshots. Instagram is not the measurement of taste or even success. It's not a media just for serious photography. It includes people just sharing whats going on in their lives and other people might want to pay attention to that... regardless of photo skill or originality.

Jordan McChesney's picture

Yeah, at the end of the day it’s just social media. I only use it because, well, I have to something with my photos, and my Facebook friends couldn’t care less about my photos, haha.

user-186898's picture

This falls under the category of "if everyone is doing it, it must be right.'

Jonathan Reid's picture

I've been thinking about this all day and realized it has been around for a long time. Do you recall when Joey L posted his studio lit series of the Himba Tribe in Ethiopia? For years afterwards, intrepid cultural/travel photographers came back with the exact same thing.

Instagram = Instacopy

Duane Klipping's picture

Why people think having their feet in the picture is a good shot? And the stupid crooked horizon shots? The last thing I want it to see their feet, the back of their head or their fish lipped face. The maturity of the individual is shown by some of the things they post online. Everyone says they are unique but they all want to look the same...maybe if they stop using their phones, get a real camera and look beyond their self absorbed lives we can see unique images but Idoubt it.