So Auschwitz has an Instagram account. (And a Twitter account too.)
I found out about it after reading a post on a French blog, in which the writer, Klaire, was a bit taken aback by the juxtaposition of the latest Internet trend and the mass murder of millions of people.
Klaire, understandably, had some concerns about the wisdom of putting cool borders and funky filters on genocide.
Let me loosely translate a bit from her post:
I hesitated. I thought of the dead without filters. I thought of the raw horror of fear softened by a border. I thought of those who had their bodies and souls brutally stolen, without the benefit of sepia. And I asked myself if we’re not at risk of losing the memory of the gross horror in a cloud of vintage effects and pretty crayon boxes. I said to myself that a genocide perhaps shouldn’t be softened with a Polaroid mist.
She’s a good writer, it’s tough to translate, but I think you get the gist.
And she has a point. There is something, at first glance, that makes you wonder if it’s entirely appropriate to ponder whether red or blue goes best with a Holocaust.
Having said that, I think the Instagram account, and the Auschwitz official Twitter account, do a great job of posting images that are quite poignant and educational.
Here’s a few of the Instagram photos:
As a photographer myself, it’s an interesting question of how one photographs death and sorrow. But I’d hope people are sensitive enough not to take “fun” photos at death camps in the first place, regardless of whether they then doctor their photos with Instagram or Hipstamatic.
(Then again, as a reader pointed out, some men are using Auschwitz as a background for their profile photos on an online pick-up app.)
And if they do use apps like that, they’ll probably use the effects in a way that adds to the emotion and mood of the moment, like this haunting photo from the Auschwitz account: