Why We All Take the Same Travel Photos

Why We All Take the Same Travel Photos:

kenyatta:

The standardization of travel all started in the 18th century, as guidebooks began directing visitors to “picturesque” views that looked like paintings. They recorded them with the gadgets of the day: Claude glasses reflected tinted, fisheye scenes that were easy to sketch, while Camera Lucidas actually transposed them onto the page. Nifty as those tools were, they couldn’t hold their own against the daguerreotype, a heavy wooden box camera introduced in 1839 that gentleman travelers soon began lugging to Greece and Egypt. But the early technology was still too cumbersome and time-consuming for most people, who just bought postcards.

Until Kodak. The introduction of George Eastman’s lightweight, foolproof camera in 1888 meant hordes of tourists could quickly press a button to capture their individual experiences … which turned out to be more or less identical.

That’s because photographs actually created the attractions in the first place. As sociologist Dean MacCannell observed in his 1976 book The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class, images lift unknown landscapes from obscurity, marking them as significant and “setting the tourist in motion on his journey to find the true object.”

When you found it, you snapped a pic to prove it—a circular ritual John Urry describes in his 2002 book The Tourist Gaze. “What is sought for in a holiday is a set of photography images, which have already been seen in tour company brochures or on TV programmes,“ he wrote. ”[It] ends up with travellers demonstrating that they really have been there by showing their version of the images that they had seen before they set off.”

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