Mark Twain once said:
"There is no such thing as a new idea...We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations..."
Now a sobering Instagram account called @insta_repeat demonstrates just how right he was. In a modern world where we have unprecedented access to the world, not only via faster and better transport methods, but also by virtual ones, social media is full of photos from around the world.
This account shows that despite the sheer volume of these images, a staggering amount of them are eerily similar. Imitation may well be the greatest form of flattery, but sometimes we're just reproducing exactly the same snap for the sake of likes.
Come with us as we journey through some of our favourites.
It's a lovely time of year for sure. Nature is beautiful even as the trees shed their leaves. This image shows just how many people have picked up a fallen autumn leaf for a quick snap.
People in hats
It seems that Instagrammers have a thing for a certain sort of moody shot of a person in a hat. Said person is always captured centre frame, looking wistfully off into the distance, admiring the surrounding beauty of the world. On their own, these photos probably looked brilliant, but together they scream of human vanity and self-obsession.
People standing by a teal lake
Numerous people are captured on camera standing in the centre of the frame in front of a delightfully colourful teal lake.
Another classic pose that's apparently seen plenty of people trying to replicate it.
Once again, more proof that Instagrammers love a good hat. Is it a windy day or are these people all just trying to look extra cute by holding onto their hats? We'll never know but will happily assume the latter.
A precarious pose
It's no surprise to see the same photos appearing by their hundreds from popular tourist locations. After all, how many times have you seen someone pretending to hold up the leaning tower of Pisa? These images of a lone subject standing precariously at the edge of a cliff might well be less common, but they're far from original.
If you fancy replicating this once, you'll need to pay a visit to Preikestolen in Norway.
What better way to commune with nature than to build a nice wood pile then set fire to it. As long as you snap a photo to prove it happened of course.
Some of Insta Repeat's images feature more than just a selection of 12 images. In some cases, the account has collected a mass of similar images to prove just how unoriginal human beings can be. In this particular one, there are no less than 120 different people sitting in a canoe.
Phones in the wild
If you're worried about not being original enough, why not take two devices so you can snap a photo of your phone taking photos? Surely that one hasn't been done? Well, unfortunately, it has, at least 60 times in fact.
A trip into ice caves
Another stunning image that's been done over and over again. It seems that even travelling into the depths of an icy cavern isn't enough to be original. Especially if you stand in the centre of the frame too. Insta Repeat has collected 48 people doing exactly this pose.
Surely an unusual sight in the middle of nowhere could qualify as original? Apparently not. This post shows 72 red houses captured by different Instagrammers. There's no denying the views are stunning, but they're far from unique.
Torches into the sky
This post shows a collection of 60 different people carrying their own personal sources of light pollution. Because nature and a starry sky aren't nearly interesting enough to stand out from the crowd.
Standing by the dock of the bay
There's no denying, some of these photos are fairly awesome. Utterly moody shots of our world wonderfully captured for everyone to enjoy. They're not even ruined by the fact that they're appearing over and over again on Instagram and elsewhere. In this selection, a lone individual stands on an empty dock looking off into a calm bay, lake or river.
Shots taken from inside a tent are becoming a bit of an Instagram cliché. It's no surprise to see that Insta Repeat has a selection of these images - even split into different coloured tent holes with blue, yellow and red all making an appearance.
Moody wooden pathways
There's something about an empty path stretching off into the wilderness that's utterly appealing. We're sure that's what these Instagrammers thought when they snapped the original photos, but even if the path is empty they weren't the first people to take the photo.
Film isn't dead
Digital photos of people taking photos with traditional film cameras or just cameras in general. Imagine the hilarity of coming across these folks taking pictures of each other in the middle of nowhere all for the sakes of some likes.
A series of photos featuring disembodied hands holding various different mugs centred in outdoor locations. A keen eye will notice that some of these photos even include the same style of cup. Is that a trend in itself?
Roads through the woods
These photos could just have easily appeared in our article on the best drone photos ever taken. Beautiful locations where man and nature have collided as a perfectly straight road has been built striking through the middle of woodland. It seems even drone photography isn't safe from the pitfall of unoriginality.
Photography in action
Another series of photos of photography in action. These moody shots show the painstaking work these Instagrammers have gone to capture the perfect image, but these also show a common trend of snapping the same style of images again and again.
Time on their hands
These images certainly show that people have a lot of time on their hands, even if they do lack originality.
People in front of waterfalls
More shots of people admiring the sheer beauty of nature or simply moody shots of Instagrammers trying to look cool for their audience of followers?
They say that blondes have the most fun, these ladies certainly look like they're having a good time. Or at least they're getting blown about by the wind, enjoying a heady life of Instagram modelling and posing.
A large pile of logs makes for a pretty nifty looking backdrop, there's no denying. If you thought you were being original with this snap though, think again.
A bird in the hand
These Instagrammers have the power to lure wild birds to their hand for a fantastic photo of communing with nature, but even that isn't enough to stand out from the crowd. Inta Repeat also points out that feeding wild animals isn't always a sensible thing to do.
Being lead off on adventures
This collection of images surely wouldn't be complete with this one. This type of image has been done to death on social media to the point that companies are even using it in various advertising campaigns. A person in the foreground (usually a woman) is captured leading their partner by the hand off on some wild and exciting adventures. The surroundings of the photo might vary, but the setup certainly doesn't.