***Originally posted 4/8/19 on @publiclandshateyou***
This picture, originally posted by @everchanginghorizon, has been shared all over social media. Many people have sent it my way. @hike.vibes recently reposted this picture, and many of you commented on the @hike.vibes repost to say that this picture is sending the wrong message. @hike.vibes replied by saying “if you refer to the original post, this shot was actually taken on the trail. No flowers were harmed”. This is why I will continue to reiterate the following message. In pictures like this, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the trail or not. It doesn’t matter if you used good camera work or Photoshop to make it look like you’re in the middle of the flowers. It doesn’t matter what your caption says. You know why? Because these pictures can, and likely will, be reposted and taken out of context. The repost by @hike.vibes is a prime example of that.
@hike.vibes reposted the picture without the context provided by @everchanginghorizon in the original post. Now 100,000 people will see this picture without the original context, and it sure appears that the model in the picture had to go off trail to get the shot. When people try to replicate this shot, will they actually stay on the trail, or will they take the easy way out and bulldoze through the flowers to the most photogenic spot? How many people will follow the new “path” that was just blazed?
Individuals, influencers, and companies that have platforms to broadcast to huge numbers of people have a responsibility to think about the impact their content will have. They need to be thinking "With this post, am I going to be sending thousands of new people to an ecologically sensitive area? Will all those people treat this place with respect? Am I treating this place with respect?". Many accounts clearly are not considering these important factors. Their primary concern always seems to be, "How can I take the best shot, from the most unique angle, that will position myself or my product in the most attractive way possible". Your digital footprints can turn into physical footprints. The before & after pictures of the Walker Canyon poppies a depressing illustration of that phenomenon.