20's Instagram: The era of the photo-dump

What is this new way of using instagram?

Kayleigh Fraser
9th December 2021
Image from Unsplash @Gabrielle Henderson
Instagram. We've all grown up with it, we've seen how it's changed. From a photographers gallery to adopting an aesthetic, the platform has evolved dramatically since its launch in 2010. Now, we're moving into this era of the 'photo-dump'. Embracing the un-aesthetic has never been more aesthetic.

Social media has, since its inception, been a way to socialise and catch up with friends. Within this, you can easily tell everyone what you're up to. Quick snap of a cocktail on your story? You're on a night out at a bar with your girls! Beachside tanned leg photo? Holiday goals!

Early Instagram was far different to the platform we know today. It was like an art gallery - photographers posting snaps of wildlife and destinations. At least, when I naively had the app at age 11 that's what I saw.

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Instagram's old logo now represents a different era in the platforms history. Image Credit: SnappyGoat

It was around 2012 that things started to change. YouTubers and influencers quickly noticed that the platform was a brilliant tool to build a brand upon. For a long time, Instagram posts became contrived and almost staged.

You'd see Mickey Mouse ears in Disneyland, hundreds of photos with mint green in them (I must admit I did partake in buying everything mint green... I even have my room painted that colour!), skater skirts and having ombre hair.

Any 2000's kid can recall at some point hearing the phrases 'Which filter should I use?' or 'I need a perfect caption!' and even 'I don't know which photo to post!'. Images on our feeds were so well thought out and focused on likes alone. We posted for aesthetic and not for ourselves.

Kylie Jenner Received More Than 1 Billion Likes on Instagram in 2015 - E!  Online
Kylie Jenner was one of many influencers who promoted this idea of having the perfect aesthetic feed. Image Credit: @kyliejenner on Instagram

Of course, it hasn't been like this for many years now. At some point in the late 2010's, many people gave up on having the perfect feed and started taking Instagram less seriously.

The rise of body positive and empowering influencers has helped this change happen. Emily Clarkson is one of my favourites! Now, many people are aware of the message that what you see online isn't real and have changed what they output to reflect this.

Perfect Instagram feeds are a thing of the past. Image Credit: @nikkimiles_ on Instagram

This brings us into our current era of Instagram and the brand new 'photo dump'. In 2017, the app gave its users the ability to add multiple photos and videos to one post rather than just one.

Adding this feature completely transformed feeds. Some users opted to utilise it as a progressive tool and show how a day/holiday developed, whilst others were able to add photos and videos from one event rather than two or three posts.

Embracing the un-aesthetic has never been more aesthetic.

One fun use of the feature I've seen is people adding memes to their posts - adding a balance of humour makes the app so much easier to engage with. Now, you're able to see a person's unfiltered side without having to fit into a 2015 Pinterest-made aesthetic.

In 2021, nothing is more quintessential to feeds now than the elusive 'photo-dump'. It has no boundaries, no requirements. The photo-dump is a mish-mash of singular moments that work together to paint a candid picture of a person's life.

The point of the dump is to post less and post one feed block. But, its other impact is driving against aesthetic conventions and creating an un-aesthetic, yet beautiful insight in to who a person truly is. It's beautiful to see the platform being used in such a liberal fashion that expresses personality rather than a fake feed filled with posed moments.

2021 will, for me, be the year of the un-aesthetic. Nonetheless, this will change in the future and the photo-dump will be another of Instagram's lost eras. But for now, the 20's are changing Instagram for the better - this is only the beginning.

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AUTHOR: Kayleigh Fraser
Campus Comment Sub Editor for 2021/22 and Head of News at NSR. English Literature Student heavily obsessed with politics, bath and body works and making positive change. Also slightly infatuated with iced coffee, guinea pigs, my dog and binging The Simpsons.

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