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: Photography by © Arvida Byström, Rupi Kaur