Thursday, December 26, 2013

And the winner is...

People walk through the Christmas lights at Siam Paragon, an upscale mall in Bangkok

I'm not quite sure what to make of this. The most "instagrammed" place on the planet is not Times Square or the Eiffel Tower or the British Museum or Grand Canyon (that one I get since cell phone coverage in the Grand Canyon is abysmal). The most instagrammed place on the planet is, drum roll please, Siam Paragon, an upscale mall in the middle of Bangkok's shopping district. 

On one hand I sort of get it since Thais, especially ones who shop at Paragon, are very plugged in and wander around with smart phones, tablet and phablets (a real thing). They take "selfies" at every turn and photograph their lives with an obsession, that even, I as a photographer, can't match. 

The political protests in Bangkok are the most photographed political protests in history not because of the number of photojournalists covering them but because the largely middle class protestors constantly photograph themselves with their phones. 

On the other hand, there is so much to photograph in Bangkok that the choice of a mall is a little bewildering. I've Instagrammed more photos from the Chao Phraya River, Chinatown or Skytrain than I have the mall. Interestingly, the most Instagrammed place in the world in 2012 was the main international airport in Bangkok, a location that as far as I can tell didn't even make the list this year. I guess Instagram and Thailand go together like sticky rice and mango

I use Instagram a lot and I'm partial to the lo-fi filter. (ADVERT ALERT: Follow me) But near as I can tell I've Instagrammed a total of two photos from Paragon, the top one, that I made when I was there photographing Christmas lights and the bottom one that I made when I was getting my iPhone serviced. I may have posted a couple of other photos from Paragon, but if I did I don't remember them. 
Shoppers relax in the mouth of a shark in Paragon. 

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