The Illusion of Travel Photography

*Note: I didn’t plan on publishing this post on April Fools but it totally works!

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As an art history major, there was always the debate of photography’s position as a “fine art” – was it a technical skill or an artistic one? I think by this point, all but the most senior art historians would probably agree that it is indeed “art” and deserves a place alongside painting, engravings, statuary and the like. But as an audience, we still like to imagine that photography is just capturing life “as is.” Perhaps the controversy over people’s overly curated Instagram feeds is changing that delusion but I personally still droll over people’s pictures of their idyllic quite household moments and compare my messay abode with theirs. But I have to remember that they are showing me what I want to see: beautiful perfection.

The same goes for travel photography. Or, travel photography actually augments the issue. We all want to go away on this amazing Eurotrip with these postcard-worthy photographs to bring back home. And we, as Americans, I think perpetuate the idea that Europe (in particular) is a bygone paradise on earth. Now, as someone who travels yearly to Europe, I do love the place but I now am always looking to see what a photographer may have done to enhance their already picturesque landscape.

Case in point: the two photos below. Taken from the same spot in Assisi; one with a “look” in mind, the other with unmasking that “look” in mind. πŸ™‚

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Normally, the second photo would have never been taken. I mean who wants to be reminded of parking lots while in a gorgeous Italian town on a foggy winter morning!? But that is the reality.

*Note: neither photo has been edited in any other way than just choosing the “right” angle.

So next time you see some blogger’s breathtaking landscape imagine that there just MIGHT be a trove of cars nearby. Does that ruin the landscape? I don’t think so; beauty can be found everywhere, even in the drudgery of modern life.

JMF

P.S. Don’t even get my started on poses. I hate them yet they seriously make all the difference!


illusion behind travel photography

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