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Instagram tourism is nothing new, but perhaps its ability to imbue certain places with a mystique they otherwise wouldn’t have is a new trend.
Especially when you transform a toxic waste dump into a picturesque Instagram picture.
It is being reported that a lake in Siberia, called the Maldives of Siberia, is attracting hordes of Instagrammers who are drawn to its fluorescent blue hues.
The only problem is that those colors are courtesy of the nearby Heating and Electrical Station Number 5, owned by the Siberian Generating Company, which routinely dumps calcium salts and metal oxides into the lake.
This renders the lake alkaline with a pH level of 8 or greater and pretty unfriendly if not deadly toxic to life. The water could cause skin irritations and allergic reactions.
The attention paid to the lake drew a response from the power company which explained how the lake could be dangerous, especially if you’re by yourself, and cautioned Instagrammers against swimming in it. The company’s warning reads in part, “We strongly ask that while hunting for selfies you don’t fall in the ash dump!”
Even with these warnings, many pictures feature people on the lake and near the water so it seems like whatever concerns might be there are not enough to keep people away.
Like many photographers are pointing out, does being an Instagrammable location transform a chemical waste dump into something more? We’re sure there’s all sorts of room for deeper interpretation of this phenomenon but we’ll leave that for others (and the comments section).
You can check out the Maldives of Siberia on Instagram by clicking here.
What do you think? If a chemical waste dump makes for a good background, would you shoot there? How about wedding photos and things like that? What do you think of the symbolism of that kind of backdrop for photos? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Also check out our other photography news articles on Light Stalking by clicking here.