As discussed on Tuesday, this is my other possible project idea:
Field of enquiry: Tourism / Travel photography / Cultural capital of landmarks / Transformation
Media: Photography / Photoshop / Web or Print
I’d like to manipulate images of famous tourist attractions and remove the actual landmark so that there is only the landscape left.
These will then be collected as a travel guide.
I thought about travelling and how in some cases tourists don’t actually connect with the place they travel to, the culture, language or history. They go to these famous tourist attractions, take a photo and that’s it – been there, done that sort of thing. It is not only that though, I’m also interested in what the actual site teaches us today or has it transformed merely into a tourist attraction? If it doesn’t serve as anything anymore, what has it become now? How important is it and why? What is its cultural identity?
With all the people pilgering to it and with all the images that have been taken of it, the place almost get’s a second identity not for what it is but for what it is seen.
With many places, the actual attraction is not in function anymore, some of the “functions” it once had might not even been yet discovered. There is though, a whole sector of tourism, profit and economy linked to it. If you think about airlines, hotels, restaurants, tour guides etc. the list is never-ending. Surely, it is not only a bad thing, people live from it especially in poorer countries.
I have travelled a lot and the amount of people I met who don’t know anything about the places they go to or just follow the Lonely Planet, staying in hostels with other Westerners mainly speaking English is astonishing. I’m not saying all are like that, I am talking about mainstream travelling to popular places.
I think it is good to question WHY people are going to these places and why these few famous ones gain such popularity when there is often others very similar or even more astonishing ones around. Is it only because of the amount of advertising? Maybe..
I can see the project bot as a website but also as a little travel book even postcards.
I would take various images of the same site from the web and then remove the landmark from its surrounding with Photoshop, creating a neat looking image. I then would advertise/describe it with information taken from travel websites.
I see it as a critical / satirical reflection of mass tourism.
This is only the beginning of the idea, I haven’t done any academic research on it but I am sure I can find quite a lot about travel photography, identity of spaces, re-production of images, transformation of cultural capital into possibly capitalist capital?
Another thought that also came to my mind, is that sometimes places actually look very different in real life.. It might even be a disappointing experience to see the site when thinking or comparing it with all these images that float in your head and how it has been advertised to you.
For example Stonehenge, just comparing these images already gives you a different impression of the place:
I’m interested in places that are not so much (modern) architectural sites like the Eiffel tower, but rather ancient/sacred.. some that came to my mind were Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, Acropolis, Pyramids in Egypt..
More to come.