Social media is rooted in a much older aesthetic of the picturesque. "Connections between the Instragrammable and the picturesque go deeper than framing methods, however. The aesthetics are also linked by shared bourgeois preoccupations with commodification and class identity. By understanding how Instagram was prefigured by a previous aesthetic movement — one which arose while the middle class was first emerging — we can come closer to understanding our current moment’s tensions between beauty, capitalism, and the pursuit of an authentic life." Our world is saturated by images and posers but our obsession with visual beauty isn’t especially contemporary. Daniel Penny looks at the bourgeois history of Instagram culture.