This Instagram Account Is Dedicated To Random Pics That Just Don’t Make Any Sense, Here Are 50 Of The Best
Some things in life cannot be explained. Why we all yawn (did that trigger a yawn from you?) and why tomatoes have 10,000 more genes than humans are mysteries scientists may never fully understand. But as curious creatures constantly searching for understanding, we tend to be drawn to bizarre and confusing things, particularly photos.
To provide a place for people to view endless images that make no sense out of context (or perhaps never made sense in the first place), the Meta Visions Instagram account was born. We spent some time in their quirky corner of the internet and gathered some of our favorite nonsense images for you to see down below. So enjoy trying to understand how all of these pictures came to be, and be sure to upvote any photo that attempting to decode gives you a headache. Then if you’re looking for another Bored Panda piece featuring images that might leave you at a loss for words, check out this list next.
Meta Visions has posted 999 photos of pure nonsense on Instagram since 2017, and it has clearly made an impact on people, as the page currently has over 440k followers. The photos are a mix of confusing images out of context and images taken at just the right time. Many feature animals looking out of their element and objects that just don’t seem right. As you go through this list of our favorite posts from the page, try not to intellectualize many of them. The photos can be seen as individual pieces of art that really do speak for themselves.
In terms of the name of the page, it is just as elusive as the photos it shares. The definition of meta is “showing or suggesting an explicit awareness of itself or oneself as a member of its category: cleverly self-referential”, which might be why almost every caption on the account includes the word meta. The captions reference the page itself, but the images are not all “meta” by definition.
Including the word “visions” in the page’s name also adds to the mystery of the page. Whether these visions are supposed to be exercises of the imagination, dreams, trances or supernatural revelations is up to the audience to interpret. Perhaps it is because the photos are usually so confusing and bizarre that they don’t even seem real. These hilariously strange images are more like visions than actually pictures because they need to be decoded. Well, they don’t need to be, but they are not very straightforward. Scrolling through meta visions can lead followers to question what they know, like the laws of gravity or if they are seeing things. Sure, it’s just a fun Instagram account, but spend enough time on there, and you might be having visions of your own too.
Part of the appeal of bizarre images that are hard to understand is that they are so shocking. On the average day to day, most of us are not confronted with anything new. We wake up, eat the same breakfast, go to work and see the same people, then come home to our comfortable routines. There is nothing wrong with that; consistency can actually be very healthy. But because seeing anything interesting or surprising is not built into most people’s daily routines, we tend to be captivated by pages like Meta Visions. If you live in New York City and see crazy things every time you leave your apartment, these photos might not be as entertaining to you. But to see something odd, and to have it captured in a photo, that is a special experience for many people.
While most of the photos featured on Meta Visions are not intentionally deceptive, many of them do prove how easily images can trick us. We may know that a picture is tricking our eyes, but sometimes our brain just can’t seem to reconcile what it sees with what is actually happening. According to scientists, the way that pictures deceive the brain is by providing “distillations of objects or ideas into simpler shapes”. Without the dimensions of depth and motion, an image allows for a host of ambiguities. Even in real life, when we see something from far away or very quickly, we might not have caught exactly what happened.
As Nicholas J. Wade wrote about how pictures deceive the brain, “Even at the level of the photograph, the links between pictorial images (the contents of pictures) and objects are tenuous… Pictorial images can be spatialized or stylized; spatialized images (like photographs) generally share some of the projective characteristics of the object represented… Pictures can also be illusions--deceptions of vision so that what is seen does not necessarily correspond to what is physically presented. Most of visual science is now concerned with pictorial images– two-dimensional displays on computer monitors. Is vision now the science of deception?” While that might be a lot to digest, even in 2013, before Instagram was rampant with pages posting confusing images, scientists were onto the fact that our eyes love tricking us.
In fact, photos have been used to trick viewers for generations. According to Iain Stanley at Fstoppers, “For as long as photography has existed, the art of deception has been front and center of the craft.” He explains that photos have always been able to trick unsuspecting viewers, but nowadays, with all of the advancements in editing software and AI technology, a photographer has no limits. These innovations should not come as a surprise, though, as Iain notes that even when Abraham Lincoln was running for president, he asked photographers to retouch pictures of him to make his neck appear shorter and his disposition more youthful. Who knew good old Honest Abe would have been an avid user for Facetune had it been available during his time?
Iain goes on to write that apparently Joe McCarthy also utilized some clever “cut-and-paste scissor work” to hurt the reputation of one of his biggest competitors, Senator Millard Tydings. Even Stalin demanded that disgraced party members like Tolstoy and Molotov be airbrushed out of official photographs. And you know that famous photo of Michael Jackson dangling his baby out of a hotel window in Paris? There were supposed to be security guards there too, but the newspapers didn’t want to print that image. There are plenty of discussions today about how ethical it is to edit Instagram photos or photoshop women’s bodies on magazine covers, but these techniques are nothing new.
Images and videos can also easily fool us through optical illusions. Famous examples include the Hermann Grid Illusion and the Zöllner Illusion. In the Hermann Grid Illusion, white dots at the center of squares appear to shift from white to gray. When a viewer focuses on one dot, it clearly looks white. But as soon as you shift your eyes away, the dots begin to look gray. Researchers have proposed several explanations for this phenomenon, including lateral inhibition, or the idea that “neurons that are firing inhibit the stimulation of surrounding” neurons. But no one can be 100% sure; optical illusions are still a bit of a mystery.
When it comes to the Zöllner Illusion, a series of parallel lines appear crooked due to short lines that overlap them. The principle here is that “the background of an image can distort the appearance of straight lines”, but the explanation is not concrete for this image either. This optical illusion is possibly due to our brains attempting to widen the angles between the long and short lines, or perhaps the lines are creating an impression of depth. Either way, staring at this one for too long will definitely give you a headache.
Meta Visions makes no attempts to manipulate or deceive followers, but the images it posts are sometimes too confusing to explain. We hope you enjoy the rest of this bizarre list; don’t forget to upvote all of your favorite peculiar photos and let us know in the comments which inexplicable pic spoke to you the most. If you’d like to see even more of these weird images, be sure to follow Meta Visions on Instagram right here.