Get Lost in Happiness With These Five Magical Realism Instagrammers

Get Lost in Happiness With These Five Magical Realism Instagrammers

By Shelbi Starnes

A growing trend in social media has been magical realism, or the manipulation of images to create an ethereal experience for the viewer. The combination of creativity and technical expertise is pushing the limits of believability and imagination for audiences, transporting them into worlds that we long to believe - but know aren’t - real.

What Even is Magical Realism?

You may be wondering what magical realism even is. How can something magical also be realistic? One answer, my friends, is often photography manipulation. The process begins as an idea, then is meticulously planned by its creator, who then executes it by taking a photo with some realistic elements in place. The photographer then adds additional elements to a photo during the editing phase. It can be anything as simple as incorporating extra lighting effects or as extravagant as adding a new background and/or moving elements to the photo. However, some photographers use good, old-fashioned smoke and mirrors, simply manipulating scale and depth perception to a very cool end.

Why Magical Realism Matters

Magical realism is not only a new way for creatives to push boundaries, but it proves that social media will not lose its lustre for audiences as long as creators continue to put out content that is transportive and breathtaking for viewers. The frontier of social media and creative content is far from being exhausted, and magical realism is one way that creators are continuing to pioneer the field of photography and filmmaking, merging the two in an unprecedented - and incredibly fun - way. Some creators who are doing a particularly good job at magical realism are listed below.


This account is the result of a mother/daughter team which is inspiring in and of itself, let alone the fact that they come up with some wonderfully imaginative images. Another admirable feature of this account is the way that the creative process behind every photo is shared with Bronte’s audiences in her stories. In a highly competitive culture of creation and creativity, this disclosure is unique and, one imagines, helps to remind audiences that the photos have been manipulated.


Resh plans, photographs, and edits her photos mostly solo. Which is pretty amazing when you consider the difficulty of being both photographer and subject. But Resh makes it all look effortless. While she freely admits to utilizing help when possible, it’s only for clicking the shutter or checking the frame before taking a photo or video. Like @bookishbronte, she also shares the creative process behind her photos in her Instagram stories.


This wonderfully inspiring account is both cheery and enchanting. Using her family to create scenes that pop with imagination (with most resembling board/children’s book illustrations), Vanessa’s account is full of photos that won’t fail to make you smile.


This Scandinavian account is a visual feast of pastel and moody images, and uses real objects to create imaginary scenes. Veronika also shares Instagram advice on her posts and stories, encouraging her audiences to be themselves in order for the world to discover them.


Another Scandinavian account that takes moody photos and populates them with florals both real and imaginary. The sombre colors are a soothing contrast to the perpetually popular bright images that saturate Instagram. Additionally, photographer Barbora Kurcova nails the idealism behind magical realism on a recent post in which she states that “we are creators of our own reality.” Barbora tells Frolic her work is 100% free of any post production. "I never use photography manipulation, editing or post processing," she explains. "It is all real, handmade props and play with perspective." 

About the Author

Shelbi Starnes is an educator living in Texas who spends her free time doing photography, baking, reading, writing, and traveling. When she's not hanging out with family and friends, you can probably find her in a local coffee shop plotting her next adventure.

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