InstaCadaques: The Modern Postcard
On our recent trip to Costa Brava Matthew and I took part in an Instagram competition to capture and post the best photograph of the coastal village of Cadaques. All the photos here are those we posted on our Instagram stream that day. At the time it struck me as the ultimate modern postcard. And back home I got to thinking it would be an ideal activity for the high tech family on holiday…
The world through an app
Do you ever know a town or city until you’ve seen it through a lens? That’s the question I asked myself as I captured the idyllic village of Cadaques on my smartphone. Because each new turn of the corner threw up a scene I carefully considered, composed, snapped, coloured, filtered and cropped. I viewed every last detail more closely than I would have if I was just aimlessly wandering and taking everything in without a camera.
Burnt on my memory in techicolour
And now I’m home and I look back on that morning, I find my memories are more enhanced. The colour, the light, the atmosphere; they all shine brighter in my mind than the warm sun did above our heads on the day. They sparkle more than the waves of the pretty bay.
Turning Cadaques into #InstaCadaques
And Cadaques was undoubtedly pretty; even for this stunning Spanish coastline. It’s a winding warren of individual shops, artists studios and whitewashed houses set on a bay. It is the perfect place to wander any time of the year. But on the day we visited there was the added frisson of 200 instagrammers being in town, all armed with the latest smartphone and the day’s hashtag, #InstaCadaques.
Preening and posing
And Cadaques responded by showing off its wares. The tomatoes seem neater, the cherries brighter. The fruit more crystalised. The pig guts more revolting. The cats posed on the window ledge. The shopkeepers costumed up and posed in their doorways.
Part of a wider Instagram competition scene
It wasn’t the first day this kind of event had taken place in Spain. InstaCadaques is part of a rolling programme of social media events organised by Visit Costa Brava. The competition will be repeated across the region many times in the coming weeks. But it was novel for Cadaques, according to Major Joan Figueras Pomes, whose house was snapped over and over again in the course of the day, “For us it is the first Instagram Day in our little village and I’m so happy that you have all come,” he said, welcoming the Spanish and the Brits alike.
Cadaques is used to this
But then, Cadaques is an old hand at being reproduced. It was studied and painted by a man more famous than any of the Instagrammers here will be in the future. The artist Salvador Dali lived just up the road in Port Lligat, and Cadaques was one of his haunts.
An education for Matthew and I
Our morning in the village passed in seconds. Matthew and I were totally engaged. As we snapped boats and houses in the harbour, price tags and wine glasses in a deli, and knives, forks and fish heads in restaurant, that’s when I realised how motivational an Instagram competition can be. That’s when I realised how easy it is to capture and publish a moment with this popular social media app. That’s when I realised I am loved (well liked anyway!) by several hundred people. That’s when I realised you can distract a child from a walk they’d otherwise perceive as boring by giving them a phone and the promise of a prize. That’s when I realised that we could repeat this day on our own when we travel as a family.
And so could you
If you are a competitive, high tech loving family who likes a challenge and wants to stay connected on holiday then creating your own Instagram day could transform the way you see your world for a few hours as well as enhancing your understanding and memories of your holiday.
This summer, if tempers are getting frayed and everyone is falling out, why don’t you organise a family Instagram competition? Or if you’re in the Costa Brava look out for crowds of Instagrammers and stalk them. Or snap them. And publish it with a hashtag. Or look out for the pics from our family competitions in The Balkans.
Ideas for your independent Instagram Day
- Plot a walking tour on a map and put someone in charge of being the guide. A small place might be best as you don’t want a five year old to be mugged for their iphone in a city, or to get lost while concentrating on the lens.
- Brief everyone to take a selection of pics and then Instagram their best shot. Put it to the public vote. See how many likes each get to determine the winner.
- Set various themes for the day. Challenge the kids to enter their best shot for food, architecture, silhouette, etc
- Have a prize for the best use of an Instagram filter. Who is the Earlybird expert? How about the Low-fi champ?
- Assign everyone a different processing ap and get them to experiment with effects and see which works for them. You never know, the strangest lomo silhouette by a seven year old could take prize.
- Work as a family to take the shots and then choose one photo each at the end to upload. See whose shot gets the most likes. Reward them with some euros and then make them spend it on a round of ice creams. Or a professional Instagram ap. Because who knows where this might lead?
Disclosure Note: Thanks to the Costa Brava Tourist Board for hosting me to enable me to bring you this story. All the photos, experience, views and opinions are, as ever, entirely our own.