Fotograf Magazine

The Aspirational Tourist Photographer

Much of the literature on tourist photography is highbrow, derogatory and
incomplete. Most importantly, it neglects the apirations and endeavours
that tourists put into their photography. In this article I draw a different
portrait of tourist photography by drawing upon practice and performance
theory and ethnographic research. Performance metaphors – stage,
script, director, acting and so on – can help us write illuminating and
dynamic accounts of tourist photography as an embodied and creative
performance, ‘full of life’, that produces memories, social relations and
places. Thus, the snapshot metaphor, and its undertones of headlong
shooting, is dismissed on the grounds that it prevents us from registering
the physicality, temporality and creativity of much photography. I begin
by outlining the intimate relationship between tourism and photography
and how much literature has seen this coupling as alienating and causing
superficial appreciation of places. Then I turn to performative metaphors
and ethnographic studies to highlight the case of the aspirational tourist

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