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Challenge Accepted: Instagramming ugly things

Lucy Watson tried to Filter ugly things to make them pretty

Instagram is pretty great. Like Twitter, but with less words and more filters. Filters that make your photos look way better. But can they make anything look better?


Challenge accepted.


I’ve had Instagram since December, way before Facebook got hold of it. I take about a photo a day, and have 85 followers. Usually, I get about 1-2 likes per photo. Some get more, most get none.


This week, I’ve had my eyes peeled, looking for disgusting stuff to put through the Instagram filters. I’ve measured their ‘hotness’ success through likes and comments.


Some of my ugly photos received no likes at all. I therefore draw the conclusion that Instagram cannot make these things pretty. The irredeemable ugliness of Fisher, my kitchen sink after the washing up, old gum in the cracks at Eastern Ave, and saliva at Sydenham train station has proved immune to Instagram’s charm.

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A few of my snaps were more popular. Tacky bank carpet, cigarette butts, furry bugs and bird poo are all able to be saved by Instagram’s good grace.

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If you have the app, you will know that foodies love boasting on Instagram, taking photos of their pristinely laid, untouched meals. Following suit, I took a photo of the nacho mess I had for dinner on Thursday. Through the power of the ‘hefe’ filter, the mess was turned into a somewhat popular piece of art, based on the typical success of my Instagram photos.

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But by far the most popular of all the ugly things I could find was possibly the ugliest of them all: the ibis and its rubbish. A photo of three ibises pecking at a kebab wrapper outside Hermann’s was popular, but better still was the picture I took of an ibis’ butt as it pecked at a bin outside Fisher. Thanks to ‘X-pro II’, the image, sorry “piece of artwork” to quote a follower, has become a poignant reflection of the student experience.

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Oh, also popular was this southern cross/playboy car sticker I found. But somehow, I don’t think the likes are a measure of its aesthetic qualities. There are only so many things that can transform through Instagram-coloured glasses.   photo (2)