How far would you go to capture the dream Instagram photo? Standing on your chair at a restaurant to get the perfect overhead shot of your meticulously positioned dinner spread? Stopping an unsuspecting stranger in their tracks to take an awkwardly distanced 'candid' of you against the backdrop of a beautiful landmark? Or floating among the sharks off the coast of the Bahamas?
An Instagram influencer recently opted for the latter scenario and the end result wasn't quite what she'd hoped for. While 19-year-old Katarina Zarutskie was visiting her boyfriend and is family in Staniel Cay last month, she saw that people were snorkelling with a pack of nurse sharks and decided to take the photo op.
'From my previous knowledge from surfing and scuba diving, I know nurse sharks are usually very safe,' she told the BBC. 'I've seen countless photos of people with them on Instagram'. After a little while floating in the sea, one of the sharks bit Katarina in the arm and dragged her under water.
Luckily she managed to remain calm, pull her arm away from the shark and raise it above the surface to prevent blood spreading through the water. 'I think if someone was screaming and flailing around it definitely could have changed the situation', she said.
Needless to say, it could've been much worse and the whole event is pretty terrifying. And though a quick scan through the location's geotag will demonstrate that many have been photographed with these 'usually safe' Bahaman sharks, it's hard not to wonder whether we're going too far for the sake of a cool photograph.
The news has been full of unfortunate injuries at the hands of Insta-photography in the last couple of years. A man in his 20s fell to his death on the south coast of Western Australia and last year a young photographer was killed at Albion Falls in Canada when he lost his footing and slipped. There's a growing concern around the risks we're willing to take for a pretty picture, but is it really worth it?
After uploading some of the pictures to her now private Instagram account (hence why we don't have any photos), Katarina was subject of unpleasant trolling and told the BBC that she was particularly upset about the stereotypes being attached to her. 'They took the information they wanted and really spun the story in a way that I'm a stupid blonde Instagram model,' she said. 'I've definitely received a lot of rude and hateful comments from people that were saying ridiculous things.'
'But it's the internet right? I guess you know you have to take it with a grain of salt and it comes with the territory'.
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