#Jordan through the eyes of an ‘Instagramer’
unsets never fail. And especially if they’re seen from the shores of the Dead Sea. The orange tinted sky is mixed with brooding reds and the ochre reflections of the soil. A range of colours so perfect that they don’t need any filters to get likes – not even ‘Valencia’, the most popular enhancement for nature photos. But sunsets aren’t the only backdrops used by Instagramers in Jordan.
More than 95,000 photographs have been shared under the #visitjordan hashtag. And even though Petra is the muse for many of these amateurs snappers, Jordan is a place of endless photo opportunities. To become an influencer, you have to be a trendsetter and come up with original ideas. So, we’ve escaped the mainstream frame, with the façade of the Treasury in the background, to tour the Dead Sea and the Wadi Rum desert. Unique, almost otherworldly landscapes… and all very Instagrammable.
A selfie on Mount Nebo
The star photo on any Instagram account is the selfie. Mount Nebo, the place from which the Bible says that Moses saw the Promised Land is a very good backdrop. What you see today from this 800-metre high summit is the Dead Sea.
The #deadsea hashtag groups together more than 400,000 photos. There are sunsets, but more importantly, there are vague human forms, coated in mud, happy. Floating in the Dead Sea – made possible by the very dense water and high salt levels – isn’t just a question of chemistry. It’s more a feeling you get when you lose yourself in Jordan. Scott Brown (@skipbroon) and his girlfriend Christine didn’t hesitate to cover themselves in mud from head to toe. And because if you didn’t photograph it, it didn’t happen, he grabbed a newspaper from the hotel reception as they were leaving for the Dead Sea. “You float effortlessly and that makes for some cool photos”, he says. The ‘likes’ he got were proof of this.
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His photos are not only now part of the collective memory, but have also become new maps. During the trip, Brown showed his guide Mo (who had the Indiana Jones theme music as his ringtone) photos of the places he wanted to visit. This way he got him to take them to locations off the beaten track. The Wadi Rum desert was more than he had ever hoped it would be. “There are camps where you can spend the night, watch the sunset and then do some stargazing in completely clear skies, with absolutely no pollution at all”.
For Michael Tuquib (@mykillburn) it was like “exploring another planet” and “walking on the moon”. “Making a camp fire, sleeping away from the camp, stargazing and feeling the cool breeze of the Arabian desert at night is one of the most wonderful, relaxing experiences I’ve ever had”, remembers this part-time nurse/full-time explorer. He’d dreamt of touring Jordan ever since he saw a photo of it in a calendar. His trip took him “back into antiquity”, but he brought it back into the 21st century by sharing more than 100 photos of his adventures around the country.
He missed ‘checking in’ at some locations, the best excuse for returning to complete his album. For example, he still needs to tick off the Wadi Mujib gorge, the lowest nature reserve in the world, at 400 metres below sea level, designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2011. The beauty of the landscape fits perfectly with the #adventure hashtag since a lot of people head here for canyoning through the gorge. Amman and Aqaba are also photogenic destinations, from the labyrinth of street stalls in the capital to the peaceful shoals of fish in the port city.
For travellers like Michael Tuquib, Jordan “stays in your heart”. And in the meantime, non-travellers can at least tour the country via Instagram.