‘No pictures please’: Residents of Instagram hotspots want you to stop taking photos of their home

Photo via Facebook.
Photo via Facebook.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Hong Kong is a photogenic place and Instagrammers can’t get enough of the city’s beauty from its neon lights to its lush green mountains.

But for some Hongkongers, that beauty has become a burden.

Malcontent is brewing among residents whose homes have been featured several times over on the many “best places to Instagram in Hong Kong” lists, over the influx of happy snappers flooding their hoods.

Firstly, it’s only fair to point out, we here at Coconuts HK may be guilty of one such compilation, sorry (but totally check it out).

One site of tension is the rainbow-coloured Choi Hung housing estate (“choi hung” meaning “rainbow” in Cantonese).

Screengrab via Instagram
Screengrab via Instagram

The building has been featured in the Lonely Planet guide as a place to visit, and a photographer won the Hong Kong award for the Sony World Photography Awards in 2016 with a photograph of the building.

The recognition, however, has been too much for residents, who have complained about the number of people hanging around on the playground waiting to take Instagram photos.

Hk01 reported that residents posting on an online forum LIHKG — titled “How long until Choi Hung Estate becomes a tourist attraction?” — lamented the large numbers of mainland and Taiwanese tourists flocking to the area in recent years.

Some Instagrammers, they complain, have even been spotted inside the building taking pictures.

Two photographs of Choi Hung Estate posted online with the caption “too many people”. Photo via LIHKG.

One person posted that, on an average Sunday, there will be at least 50 people on the basketball court waiting to get that perfect Instagram shot.

This, residents complain, makes it impossible to use the court to play or shoot hoops.

Comments on the thread on Saturday included “just take the photos and go!”, “there are so many Hong Kong girls just lying on the ground taking selfies, and “Choi Hung Estate has now become a trash estate”.

Others are even suggesting plans to ward off pesky Instagrammers, including starting a game of basketball on the court, or hanging a banner on the side of the building.

And Choi Hung residents aren’t the only people experiencing such problems.

People living at the ‘Monster Building’ in Quarry Bay, which is comprised of five different residential blocks, have also tried to take matters into their own hands by putting up signs to dissuade photographers from hanging outside their homes.

Many of you might recognise the buildings from Transformers: Age of Extinction in this very geographically confusing roof chase scene (one minute they’re in Quarry Bay, then the robot goes over a mountain and into… China? Mechanical aliens, sure, no problem, but such geographical implausibility, we can cannot abide)

In response, residents have started posting notices in the area asking Instagrammers to stop taking photos and videos in the complex because it is disturbing tenants.

However, judging from photos published by hk01 today — showing the phenomenon alive and well — it looks like the owners of the buildings are going to have to do more than just put up signs, though it’s unclear whether security guards at the sites will actively bar Instagrammers from entering the premises.

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