Photographer shows how similar tourist's Instagram travel images are in 'Instatravel'

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During my trip, I felt that many people didn’t really enjoy the moment and were hooked to their smartphones. [/quote]
I find this sentiment obnoxious. I find that taking photos while traveling is like taking notes during a lecture. Sure, everyone else has sufficiently similar notes. There are probably even official notes of a much higher quality that I could refer to afterwards instead. But taking my own increases my engagement and enjoyment.

ETA: Hmm. I do not know how to fix these tags.


The sweet sweet smell of condescension is strong in this one.

Even pictures of the most common sort with no person in the shot are important. It brings back the memory of the activity. It may not be artistic or important photography but it’s important to us. Any photograph you’ve personally taken or been part of is orders of magnitude more important that the exact same “stock image” we see elsewhere.


During a University trip to Florence my professor did not bring a camera and admitted he never brought a camera while traveling. Without a doubt one of the most intelligent of persons I’ve known. My photos were indeed a good visual aid to recount the experience upon my return, yet I never look at them anymore. And you know what? Every once in a while, I’ll see some other photograph of Florence, and it still brings me back.

It’s truer today now that most travelers don’t limit themselves to film. Hundreds of photos from last year become thousands of photos from last decade. No one has time to go back.


The last time i made a big trip, which was to Sweden, i was very much aware of trying to be present and put down the phone. I took very very few pictures, i sort of relented toward the end and took more pictures just to have some kind of mementos for later for 90% of my trip i made sure to savor the moment and really enjoy whatever place i was in for what it was and not me being somewhere because it was photogenic.

It’s a tough act to balance because i really do wish i had taken more pictures, but i do appreciate my visit more knowing that i tried my best to enjoy it. I’m currently hoping i can really go back and see more of Sweden :slight_smile:


Cell phone cameras weren’t a thing when I took my only international trip of consequence (to the UK), but while I did take a fair number of pictures, I wasn’t about to turn that into the entire objective of my trip.

I stayed away from London, and spent more of my time off the beaten path, especially in Wales, and I don’t regret that decision at all. One of my favorite moments, which I couldn’t photograph, was having to stop for the farmer driving his sheep across the road. It was fascinating to watch his dogs doing their work.


And that’s a fair thing, even if done these days. Though i think because its so much easier to take pictures now people get a bit sucked up into getting those perfect shareable moments. As long as one is aware of it that should be enough to make one more present.

I don’t photograph things while traveling, or rarely do. Not because of some deep wisdom, it’s just that I don’t really have the coordination to enjoy myself in the moment and photograph things. I only dig out the phone if I see something that surprises me and I feel I won’t be able to find online later.

That said, I’d probably enjoy some sort of wearable camera I can cull for interesting snaps later.


And yet he missed the entire “Leaning Tower of Penis” genre.

I find it very ironic that I indulge in photography while traveling for the exact opposite reason that everyone else avoids it: it slows me down, allows me to be in the now, study the minutiae under the guise of being an annoying photographer.

If I sit and watch a sunset, I’m weird.

If I sit and watch a sunset with a camera in hand, I’m weird, but in a way everyone understands.


He should have rotated each picture to make it look like the people pushing on it were having an effect.


I love the video. I love the irony, the recognition of being part of what the video shows. At several points I found myself thinking ‘I’ve taken that shot’.

I rarely take a camera with me these days, but usually have my (camera containing) phone. Like most people. It’s interesting how it changes photography, and continues a trend that started at about the same time cameras were first invented. It just keeps getting easier and more affordable to take pictures. I no longer try to carefully compose beautiful shots. I snap things, largely as a memory cue. But I’m also a big fan of putting the camera down, and really do believe you can’t capture the most significant moments in a photograph. The picture is only ever a cue. As is the story, if that’s how you prefer to remember your travels.

I stood back-to-back with a friend in the middle of nowhere in Iceland, as the sky twisted and morphed so many shades of green. It was so bright and strange and alive. There are photographs of far more spectacular shows than I saw, but I remember being there, I remember the experience. And as I tell you this story, the memory comes back to life in my mind.


I can’t wait until I can get continuous recording eyeball cameras. Nearly all of everything I see is unremarkable, but it’d be nice to actually have records of those once in a lifetime things I see without notice.


Wow. People’s personal photos all kind of look similar. I’m going to have to sit down. This is a revelation. Has…has anyone told photo lab technicians? I’m sure they’re going to want to hear about this…once they recover from the shock. /s

Social media, the advent whereby total strangers can dig through your family photo albums and use some of their valuable finite time on this Earth to snark at you.

Remember when you needed a slide projector and a screen to subject even friends and relatives to your vacation photos? Pepperidge Farm remembers.


Sweden is just Norway for beginners. :wink:

Yes. Yes, I am totally biased on this one.


I doubt our travel photos look much like anyone else’s, to be honest.

Most of the things I photograph I use as reference.

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I’ve been playing a lot of Elite: Dangerous recently, and I’ve taken a lot of screenshots while playing tour bus in the galaxy.

Guess what? Most of them have the same or very similar composition. A lot of the water worlds are blue. Earthlike planets have green continents. Gas giants are mostly either violet, orange or brown.

Visually pleasing photos are visually pleasing. Human brains, as a species are all nearly identical. We like shit that’s picturesque.

So what if the same photo’s been taken a million times? Doesn’t that mean that it’s a good photo?

And besides, a lot of these at least have a person in them. That makes it completely different. Maybe the photo isn’t about the place. Maybe it’s about who you are there with and what they mean to you.

See? My ship points at the cool thing, you should look at the cool thing.

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I think he was just ashamed to realise that his photographic skills and impulses are entirely ordinary. The same as most of the people around him.

I work hard to photo “interstitial” moments - precisely what you’re saying. It started with moments of fleeting beauty - a sunset over west London that looked like millions of cotton balls variously and evenly coloured in cute pastel shades, when I didn’t have my camera. I caught the moment, and rather than die, submerged into it and enjoyed the few seconds of unrepeatable beauty and amazement.

Then I got into it, finding those fleeting moments, or being ready for them. Planning ahead, figuring out positions of the sun and the shading I’d predict on views etc. It works!

So if this guy can’t get up at 4am for the Trevi shot, he’s just plain lazy daisy.

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It’s partly that, but also I wish I could just screenshot my visual field.

I don’t want to spend time in photography school and however many hundreds to thousands of dollars on camera gear so I can capture the subtle beauty of walking in a moonlit, but heavily forested park. Nor would I be very happy to lug the equipment around. There’s plenty of times I whip out the phone for a photo and realize I’m going to need to download special apps and figure out some kind of tripod when my squishy meat eyeball in my bone-and-jelly stabilized head works better than anything.