04 September 2009

On not taking travel photos

Just posted on World Hum: an essay I wrote about the best travel photo I didn't take.

Today, we saw something that perfectly summed up the points I make in the essay. Near Museum Island in Berlin (oh, we're in Berlin now, by the way ...), we saw a toddler with a little plastic toy camera, which he held firmly to his eyes as he walked, clicking merrily and bumping into people, light poles, and, well, pretty much everything. As Lee said, "a tourist in training," preferring to see the world through the comforting, limiting confines of the viewfinder.

That's part of the reason I've been posting the Not-So-Flattering Views of Famous Places (Brandenburg Gate coming soon!): I don't feel obligated to spend hours trying to frame photos and get the postcard-worthy shot, especially of famous places. In fact, I can't believe people spend so much effort getting those shots. More often than not, such photos are nearly impossible (see the not-so-flattering view of the Little Mermaid, for example), and I'd rather spend the time enjoying the site or, perhaps, doing something else entirely. Why bother to replicate the views that are so widely available on Flickr and postcards? Bragging rights?

I'll spend the time eating pastries, thanks.

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