Okay, But Why Is Everyone Posting Blurry AF Instagram Photos Now?

We get it, you're having fun.
bojanstory via Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s time to rummage through your deleted folder, because the photos once destined for the bin are the ones you should be posting, apparently.

Blurry pic where no one is in focus? You nailed it. A hint of thumb over the camera lens? What a delight!

Instagram is full of shit photos right now, not so dissimilar to the mishaps your mum shares in the family Whatsapp group.

The difference with these photos is that they’re celebrated for their chaos, and intentionally posted with a clear message: “Look at how much fun we’re having.”

But the more I see these snaps, the less I get it. If you’re really “out out” and living for it, maybe just... put your phone away?

The photos feel squarely part of the latest “vibe shift” – a post-pandemic cultural move towards hedonism, where “living in the moment” is top priority.

Advocates claim this kind of photography is a step towards reality, sticking two fingers up to the polished, filtered and pressurised Instagram shoots of yesteryear.

If this is truly the case, who could argue against it? But the sceptic in me wonders if this is just posturing through a new, bleary lens. If there’s not a shaky photo, did it even happen?

Still, every other person on my Insta feed seems to be getting in on the action, with celebs including Kourtney Kardashian and Dua Lipa leading the way.

Wondering what I’m missing, I turn to former colleague Angela Hui, who’s been posting blurry photos for so long, she might even be the original trendsetter.

Through her work as a food journalist, Hui has to take a lot of photos when she’s out (usually as a reminder of what she’s eaten) and says the blurred outcome isn’t staged, but often the result of terrible restaurant lighting.

“I think it’s funny to post blurry outtakes because people don’t expect it and it shows an unserious side. A blurry photo shows you’re in that moment, having too much of a good time to take a proper photo, and enjoying the meal,” she says.

“I’m tired of people standing on chairs and holding portable LED lights trying to get that perfect flatlay Instagram shot that have been dominating our feeds for years because, let’s be honest, no one eats like that and it all feels very superficial.

“Either that, or I’ve just dropped my phone too many times and it’s now permanently stuck in blurry mode.”

She makes some convincing points. But whether you’re devoted to distorted pics or not, none of us should be surprised that they’ve landed.

Social media trends are cyclical. An Insta photo dump is basically a Facebook photo album under a different name, after all. And now we’re bored of filtering life through Clarendon, it’s only time for this new, rebellious phase to rise up.

No doubt there will be a return to sharp, posed pics eventually. But for now, life is unfocused. And it seems most of us love to (barely) see it.