Into Cloud Porn? There’s a Hashtag for That


Photo

Cloudporn: A photograph featuring lots of puffy sky, taken in Idaho. There are thousands of others at #cloudporn.

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Stephanie Rosenbloom./The New York Times

Maybe you like to take photos from airplane windows. Or of monuments reflected in puddles. Perhaps you routinely train your lens on trees, or street signs or your own shadow.

The poetic images you capture when traveling can feel original and personal. But just as biologists name and group plants by categories such as kingdom, phylum and class, travelers on social media have developed a worldwide taxonomy and nomenclature for photos with shared characteristics.

These characteristics may include the angle from which the image was shot, the time of day it was taken, its theme, composition or location. That photo you took of the Eiffel Tower reflected in a pool of rainwater is a #puddlegram. The one of your shadow stretched across a park bench in Buenos Aires is a #shadowselfie. If you think you’re among a select few who photograph airplanes streaking across a sunset, check out the more than 414,000 photos on Instagram tagged #planespotting. For a solid, if not always appetizing, travel niche, see the more than 21,000 still lifes of #airportfood. And if you’re one of those travelers who has been photographed leaping into the air in front of a landmark or landscape, you’ve joined the ranks of those who have partaken in a #jumpstagram (there are about 97,000 of them on Instagram; the company has for years had tips on its blog about how to take the perfect jump shot).

That said, there are generally no hard rules about how to take these various photos. Most of the names are self-explanatory. Popular types of images, including puddlegrams and Instagram projects such as #WHPreflective, which encouraged users to take photos and videos of reflections, are chronicled on Instagram’s blog along with advice about how to pull them off. But as with photography and video before the Internet, the perfect shot is in the eye of the beholder.

Unlike hashtags for broad subjects such as travel (#travelgram, #travelingram, #instatravel), hotels (#hotellife, #hotelview, #hotelliving) and airports (#airportlife, #airportselfie, #airportflow), more precise hashtags let you browse photos whose theme or composition speaks to you. Granted, there are better things to do with your time (like travel) than play around with hashtags. Still, it’s a new year. If you’re not up on the established lingo, take a moment to find out what others are calling your vacation photos.

Airports and Airplanes

Photos of mountaintops, sunrises, wings and more from 35,000 feet are, obviously, #fromtheplanewindow. You can use the window as a framing device, but many people don’t bother. Photos of planes themselves — images of their nose, bellies, engines — are #planeporn. “Porn,” a ubiquitous Instagram suffix, can be used to generate hashtags on any number of photos. There’s #foodporn, #natureporn and, for those who can tell a stratocumulus from a cumulonimbus, #cloudporn. But back to airplanes — or rather, what you carry on.

Fashion-minded travelers and gifted packers use #whatsinmybag to share photos of the contents of their (often designer) luggage and purses. The most successful of these shots requires some amateur art direction to ensure that the items — makeup, mints, wallets — are styled so as to spill out of the bag in a way that doesn’t look as if it fell over while you were hopping shoeless through security.

And while many travelers today don’t think twice about boarding a plane wearing Uggs and a neck pillow, those who use #airportstyle are typically the exceptions. Be it on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram, you can use the hashtag to find women with long scarves draped around their necks and supple leather carry-on bags, or snapshots of models and celebrities sauntering through airports in sunglasses.

I would be remiss not to mention #airportlounge as well, where some travelers commence their vacation-boasting right away with (albeit often poorly shot) photos of their wine, beer and free snacks.

Hotels

There’s a hashtag for every space you can photograph around a hotel including #hotellobby, #hotelbreakfast, #hotelbar and #hotelpool, though many lack an artful touch. For vistas of bridges, sunsets and cityscapes, there’s #frommywindow.

To capture your point of view without taking a full-on selfie, there’s #fromwhereisit. Some photos in this category aim to show what’s in the photographer’s sightline as, say, he or she stands in a hotel lobby. But images that seem to be most in the spirit of the hashtag are taken as the photographer shoots down at his or her legs and whatever items surround them. The result at a hotel, for example, might be a still life of snazzy shoes, bags and whatever is underfoot on the carpet of a suite. (For those who prefer not to sit, there’s #fromwhereistand, which is a kind of shoe selfie: a straight-down shot that can also be used to show off your bracelets, rings and watches, as well as anything you’re holding in your hands.)

Out and About

If you take photos of yourself or friends against walls of graffiti, bricks, books, bamboo or any other sort of visually compelling material while exploring the world, you’re among those who belong to the #friendsandwalls tribe. No need for guidance on how to pull this one off; if you’ve got a travel mate and a wall, all you have to do is click.

Those who can’t help but take close-ups of certain architectural features, such as beautiful doors — with arches and panels and colors like aqua and pink — may want to visit #doors and #doorsondoors. (Architecture buffs simply use #architecture or, less frequently, #archidaily.)

Photos of nature are categorized in too many ways to count, but winnow the world down to a favorite subject, like mountains or trees, and you’ll still be awash in more images than you have time to enjoy. Take #treelovers, which as you might imagine is a catchall for trees in different seasons, from those with bright green leaves in summer to yellow in fall, to barren limbs in winter.

When it comes to photographing cities, you can find fellow travelers who focus on a particular time of day. For instance, you can look at millions of posts tagged #Paris, but why not go straight to the transportive #Parisbynight where you can explore the city illuminated?

Speaking of being transported, travel is obviously also about getting where you’re going.

If photographing trains is a pastime, take a look at #train_nerds. You may be one. Driving? Those who get a kick out of chronicling their trip from the shoulder may like the photos that turn up when searching for #roadtrippin and #roadside, where images run from pets in the back seat to the long, open road ahead.



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