In 1998 an Italian Kodak advertisement said: «Every picture you don’t take is a memory you lose. Don’t forget to remember». Even if Kodak film has been left behind, we’re still carrying with us the need to seal a moment of our travelling experiences in a picture. Since 2010 Instagram’s 600 million monthly active users have been snatching and posting pictures of their travel locations. Perhaps they felt the same need Kodak was referring thoroughly twenty years before. But what are the places we really want to remember? By tracking its users’ geo-localization, Instagram has built a list of the most Instagrammed places in the world.
The first Disneyland has been inaugurated in 1955, built on the orange groves of Anahaim, California. It was an extraordinary success, so that Disney eventually opened other five theme parks, from Tokyo to Paris, through Shanghai, Hong Kong and Orlando. It was in the latter that Walt Disney himself decided to build an extraordinary complex of four different theme parks. He never saw the end of it, as he died in 1966, before constructions began, but he would sure be proud to know that, with its 18 million visitors per year, Magic Kingdom is one of the world’s most visited theme parks; as well as –together with its Disney brothers – one of the most photographed places in the world.
Amusement parks as well as cinematographic studios, the Universal Studios in Hollywood, Orlando and Osaka earn the silver medal as Instagram’s most photographed landmarks. Among the more than 3 million snapshots posted, the Hollywood Studios train often appears. Visitors on board get the exclusive chance to explore the sets of famous movies and to see – from a distance – the building of future productions. Constructions for the new Dubai studios have started in 2012, and it’s likely that once completed, they will contribute to send Universal Studios right to the top of the list.
From Léon to Home Alone, from Madagascar and Café Society to the latest episode in the Harry Potter Saga, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Central Park has been the setting of countless adventures of our favourite movie characters. A hot spot for tourists and for New Yorkers alike, one simply can’t stop taking pictures of this wonderful park. The best view, according to many, is from the Top of the Rock, the observation deck at the Rockefeller Centre. Cerulean spots in an endless green background – Harlem Meer, the Reservoir, the Pond and the Lake – are separated from the deep blue of the Hudson by the 341 hectares of the park and the imposing grey of the architectures all around.
The navel of the world, with its frenzy at daytime and neon sensations at nighttime, is the fourth most photographed venue in all Instagram. The secret of its evident photogenicity is to be searched in the endless stream of big yellow taxis, the reflective surfaces of the ultramodern architectures and the vivid colours and shifting lights of the ad panels.
The Ville Lumière gets the fifth place with the architecture that has been its symbol since the 1889 world’s fair: the Eiffel Tower. Even if initially the Parisians went as far as to send complaints to local newspapers, calling the tower “the iron asparagus”, it seems that nowadays every camera lens is charmed by its lace-like iron detailing. Instagram is full of photos with or of the tower in the Trocadero gardens, from the Champs de Mars or Passerelle Debilly.
Musée du Louvre
Paris keeps the sixth place with its most famous art museum. The various angles and antique treasures of the Louvre Museum fill our Instagram feeds via its 8,8 million visitors per year. Thanks to apposite marble cubes standing at the four corners of Napoleon court, visitors are given the chance to create a photographic illusion, in which they seem to be holding Ieoh Ming Pei’s inverted pyramid between two fingers.
Las Vegas Strip
The southern stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard hosts 19 of the 25 largest hotels in the world. Driving through the 4,2 miles from Russel Road to Sahara Avenue towards the Stratosphere, the mesmerizing profile of hotel-casino Bellagio facing Paris Las Vegas’ famous replica of the Eiffel Tower leaves space to the imposing architecture of Caesar’s Palace and of the Venetian, with its almost exact reproductions of the Rialto bridge and Saint Mark’s bell tower.
Santa Monica Pier
The last stop on Route 66, the Santa Monica Pier is located on the homonymous bay. Built in 1906, it contains an amusement park, Pacific Park, with its world-famous solar panelled Ferris wheel. The best shots of Santa Monica Pier are those taken at sunset from the beach. The lights of the park absorb the vivid colours of the sky, that fades out into pastel lilac, peach orange and rose gold.
A beautiful monster that has fed on many human lives – and on its own designer’s, John A. Roebling, one too – during its 20-year long construction. The Brooklyn Bridge appears unsurprisingly in the list of the most photographed places according to Instagram. Its intricate design of limestone granite and steel ropes has been featured in many works of arts. We all remember that scene in Woody Allen’s Manhattan, in which the director himself waits for dawn sitting next to Diane Keaton. The two protagonists are confined in the lower right corner of the screen, while the majestic Brooklyn Bridge takes the rest of the frame.
Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnogo Khozyaystva, VDNKh, Moscow
Opened in 1939 and closed right after for the outbreak of World War II, the Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy is located in north-east Moscow. It’s a permanent trade show, originally intended to celebrate the economic, scientific and technological successes of the Soviet Union. After the fall of the Wall, it has become a multi-purpose area. During winter it converts into the biggest skating rink in Russia and Europe; it also hosts an amusement park, the Cosmonautic Museum and the centre of oceanography and marine biology Moskvarium.
While many pavilions have been taken over by privates and turned into exhibition spaces, their image has mostly been kept unchanged. The ultra-modern design mixes with the imperious magnificent style of Soviet architecture and sculptures. Instagramers seem mostly attracted to the renowned Worker and Kolkhoz Woman statue by Vera Muchina. During 1939 World’s Fair in Paris it towered over the Soviet Pavillon, facing Nazi Germany on the Trocadero gardens.