Tag Archives: Life

The mistake we make with holiday photography

"The Brave". A tribute to the American Soldiers who landed on Omaha Beach on June 6th 1944.

“The Brave”. A tribute to the American Soldiers who landed on Omaha Beach on June 6th 1944. A brilliant recognition of the sacrifice.
(Sculpture by Anilore Banon, St. Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy).

Record shot or a family holiday moment?

I love the lines and drama of this sculpture. It is a tribute to the great sacrifice made by so many on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. It is, as a sculpture, invested with energy and power. It lifts the feelings and at the same time reminds us of darker moments in history.

Is it a fitting reminder of a family holiday? No, I think it is a photographers reminder of a wonderful sculpture. It’s a record shot.

Of records and tourist spots

Whatever you are photographing it’s fine to make a record shot. It reminds us that the subject has a character of its own. We see it in an uncomplicated and straight forward way. It is a pure record.

A sculpture like this, however poignant, is a reminder that we live our lives in places of great significance. Yet, as a photograph it does not come alive. In the same way, many postcards are records of a tourist attraction. They are not your experience of the scene. Why take pictures that are like postcards? Will they really remind you of your experience?

Of people and places

Everyone wants a photographic record of ‘being there’. Yet, most of these shots are a cliche. Google lists more than twenty five million images about the Eiffel Tower. Most of them are, well, the Eiffel Tower. Everyone who goes to the French capital takes a shot of it. You’ve just gotta do it!

While there, look out for different, unusual, bizarre and the odd angles. Have you ever seen a shot of the big rivets in the steel-work of the Eiffel Tower? What about the people who are there around you? They have a story to tell and you can show the location too.

Sit down for a while in these places. See what is going on. Wait for a story to unfold. Capture the old lady reading a newspaper on the pedestal of the monument. Snatch an image of the lovers kissing at the flower stall beside an iconic statue. Look at life and actions around you and invest the image with that life. You will remember the sights, sounds, smells and stories of the moment. See the attraction, but, picture the experience and people sharing it with you. Capture the local moment, the essence of the place.

Here are some sorts of things to think about putting in an image when in a tourist spot…

  • The restaurant where you had lunch.
  • Strong fishy smells from the market in the port.
  • A family playing games outside their home in the old town.
  • Condensation on the glass of a drink you had.
  • A crying lady on the steps of the Taj Mahal.
  • Peeling paint on an old building in Venice.
  • A local food you enjoyed.
  • A puddle reflecting street lights in the town square.
  • Character and integrity in the face of a devout worshiper.
  • Street performers doing something extraordinary.

Show something that makes a memory out of your visit. At the same time show the location. Enjoy!