It goes without saying there are certain ‘measures’ that social media platforms have put in place to ensure that users are kept away from content they might find “inappropriate”. For Instagram, that means content that includes nudity, violence, self-harm, etc – you get the jist. In theory, it makes sense, however Instagram has the handy feature that allows users to report content they personally find inappropriate, and account holders can often find their content removed, with no explanation as to why it was deemed as such.
Pics or It Didn’t Happen is anthology of just some of those Instagram images that have found themselves unceremoniously stripped from their digital homes. While the pictures in question vary in content, from full-blown nudes, nip-slips and period-stained clothing to screenshots of text conversations and images that genuinely see no cause for removal, the book itself is more a musing on the age that we live in. While to some, these images are a reflection on and documentation on real life, for others they’re regarded as offensive.
Artists Arvida Bystrom and Molly Soda, both of whom are known for sharing their work online, curated this book as an open conversation about the ongoing battle of social media vs. art and reached out to their own Instagram followers to submit images that they’d personally had removed from the platform. This resulted in a beautiful hardback compilation of the so-called “lost” posts of Instagram, many of which shared certain traits. “A common theme among the photographs submitted to us is the type of bodies pictured: primarily white-passing, thin, cisgender. This leads us to wonder: who feels more entitled to post these kinds of images?” state Bystrom and Soda in the introduction.
And it’s a good point; In the "age of oversharing" there are more voices and views than ever, and while this book kind only represents one perspective on the issue, it is nonetheless a beautifully curated compilation of images that has no doubt sparked a very timely conversation for the “Instagram generation”.
Pics or It Didn't Happen is published by Prestel and available to buy here.