These are the Beautiful Photos Instagram Banned Us From Seeing

News. Posted 8 months ago

Catalogue Staff

Image: Pics or It Didn’t Happen: Images Banned From Instagram by Arvida Byström and Molly Soda. Image provided by Prestel Publishing.

Arvida Byström and Molly Soda, two artists with a crucial combined Instagram following of 220k, have collaborated on a new book – Pics or It Didn’t Happen – a collection of imagery banned by Instagram for not abiding by their controversial guidelines. The social media platform’s selective censorship has been under fire ever since the app first rolled out, with both Soda and Byström becoming important online presences in attempts to defy the ridiculous set standards – no female nipples, for example – that have left the photographic space feeling seriously void at times.

Instagram’s Community Guidelines state they will remove anything “violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic, or sexually suggestive”, dangerously vague and disempowering rules for a platform aimed at life’s behind the scenes moments. Pics or It Didn’t Happen examines the tension between self-expression and the place we’re expected to self-express, with ‘forbidden’ work from Rupi Kaur, Petra Collins and Harley Weir. Essays also feature, and the book’s opening is penned by none other than Chris Kraus, celebrated author of the radical 1997 novel I Love Dick.

Check out some of the featured work:


Image: @arvidabystrom @bloatedandalone4evr1993 / Photography by © Arvida Byström


Image: Left to right: @lilit__u, @arvidabystrom / Photography by anonymous, © Arvida Byström


Image: @habitual_body_monitoring / Photography by © Maja Malou


Image: @anonymous / Photography by anonymous


Image: Left to right: @arvidabystrom, @rupikaur_  / Photography by © Arvida Byström, Rupi Kaur

Pics or It Didn’t Happen: Images Banned From Instagram was released on 6 March. Find out more about the book here, published by Prestel Publishing