Instasham: Your shortcut to the (fake) life of privilege on Instagram

instashamIt was a year ago today when Instagram was welcomed into the loving arms of Facebook, and since then, the photo-sharing app has brought its users an eclectic assortment of content. It’s become a hangout hotspot for travelers, pop stars, photo journalists, and even terrorists. Still, to own Instagram implies you own a smartphone, and that usually implies you’re living “the good life.” Just look at The Rich Kids of Instagram, like this troll of a guy. But if you feel stuck in a rut with no time to drink Bacardi on the beach, fly out to Rome on a private jet for lunch, or drive your red Ferrari out to hang with your trust fund baby friends, don’t worry – Instasham will give you everything you need to spruce up your drab Instagram profile.

The self-deprecating website pretty much encourages behavior a lot of Instagram users are guilty of to begin with – find someone else’s photo and upload it as their own – and focuses on increasing one’s super elite status by providing pictures showcasing expensive vacations, fancy things, and beautiful people.

Instasham is a media arts project and social experiment produced by Brooklyn artists Andy Dao and Stacey Smith. “We are a society that brags through megapixels. It is in this insight that we saw an opportunity and Instasham was created,” the duo explains on Instasham’s website.


The concept is simple: “If you can’t make it, fake it.” Instasham encourages Instagram users to go on their website and check out their gallery of images the site has collected for various themes – beaches, sunsets, cars and planes, travel, and parties, among other things. You find a photo that tickles your fancy (and desire to be rich and popular) and claim it as your own. You can use your laptop to open the photo and take a snapshot of it with your smartphone camera, or you can open the photo on your smartphone, save it to your gallery, and upload it to Instagram peppered with your usual caption and accompanying hashtags. Extra legwork, but totally worth the pretend lifestyle, right?

It is important to note that all of the photos on Instasham are owned by other people, and they don’t mind saying so on the website. Once those people discover their work on the site and request to have them taken down, Instasham will gladly do so. An odd policy, but somewhat effective; So far, there’s been no report of takedown requests. 

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