Family photo ritual, Scottsdale Civic Center, Scottsdale, Arizona, 2011
Tourism and photography are inseparable. Visitors who seldom get to Scottsdale’s Civic Center will often act out the ritual of having their pictures taken while smiling in front of, on top of, and within the giant letters of the parks famous “Love”sculpture by Robert Indiana. These three tourists are apparently deciding how they want to look within the letters. I photographed them with a long lens from off to one side while a family member was making her own shot of them. I like the way the soft evening light plays on the brilliant red and blue letters, and the way each subject reacts to the camera in facial expression and body language from their respective nesting places.
Pleasure at sea, aboard Seven Seas Mariner, off coast of Brazil, 2010
Cruises can be great for photography – the variety of subject matter is infinite. However when the schedule calls for a day at sea, photography is restricted to whatever we might find of visual interest onboard. Often parties and events featuring passengers themselves can work well as expression. In this case, I found three passengers enjoying the antics of other passengers participating in a seaborne “country fair.” While one of the passenger records the fun, the others explode in laughter, particularly the woman clasping her hands. While all three wear sunglasses, denying us a glimpse of eye expression, the faces and hands still manage to tell the story well.
Interlude, Devil’s Island, French Guyana, 2010
I found these tourists enjoying the waters off the former French prison colony. It is a study in incongruity – the gathering appears quite serene, oblivious to the horrific past of this place. I layer this image, starting with the bright orange towel on the bench in the foreground. The horizontal thrust of the towel is repeated in the subsequent layers – a reclining man and his family arrayed horizontally along the shoreline in middleground, and a horizontal line of boats including yachts, a ferry, and a cruise ship in the background.
Taking a rest, St. Barts, French West Indies, 2011
St. Bart’s harbor was crowded with yachts from all over the world on New Year’s Day, and this pair of tourists are taking them all in from a sedentary vantage point. I layer this image by photographing the tourists from behind, abstracting them in the process, and using them as my foreground anchor. The viewer sees the harbor from their vantage point – and what a harbor it is! The tourists seem to be an oasis of serenity amidst the clutter of luxurious yachts and sailboats that fill the middleground and background.
Tourist train, Durango, Colorado, 2010
I framed these tourists within a window of an early morning steam train. Seen in profile, they stare straight ahead, their expressions passive. What should be a moment of anticipation, just minutes away from a steamy ride into the mountains of central Colorado, seems instead a chance to perhaps catch a quick nap before the three-hour journey begins. The stolid expressions are contrasted to vivid primary colors – the bright yellow railroad car and the man’s red hat.
On history’s trail, Bannack, Montana, 2010
Guidebooks in hand, four tourists explore a bit of Montana’s past at the Bannack Ghost Town. A light snowfall has cloaked the old buildings in white, which adds considerable atmosphere to this image.
At the portal, Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2010
Using a 14mm wideangle lens, I photographed dozens of guests and tourists entering and leaving this historic inn. I tried to relate the people passing through the doorway with those reflected in the windows of the hotel. This was my favorite of the series – the child in the stroller is eating from a cup of ice cream, and reflected people appear in two of the three windows.
Patience, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2010
This young tourist, strapped to his father’s back, is patiently waiting for his turn at the mint ice cream in the lobby of the Old Faithful Inn. He places a hand on his dad’s shoulder, as if to remind him that he was still there, and still hungry. His expression tells the story.
Waiting for Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2010
Old Faithful, Yellowstone’s most famous geyser, erupts every 40 minutes or so. Permanent benches surround its perimeter, and are usually filled with tourists in the minutes prior to eruption. On this evening, however, a drizzle was falling, and a solitary child in a bright pink jacket gave us an incongruous audience of one. Old Faithful slowly gains its head of steam in the background and erupted a few moments after I made this image.
Getting the shot, Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey, 2009
I had just finished making a photograph out of one of Hagia Sofia’s thousand year-old windows. A young tourist had been watching me and immediately tried her own hand it with a point and shoot camera. The window was high and she was short, yet she managed to reach the sill. I made this image of her straining to frame her subject, probably one of Hagia Sofia’s minarets. The passion she brings to her photography is palpable. She really cares about making this picture and it shows. For her sake, I hope she got it. Photography has always been interwoven into the fabric of tourism. Some shoot to record what they see, while others shoot to reflect their feelings about what they are seeing. I am guessing she falls in the later category.
The Lobby, Vancouver, Canada, 2009
The logistics of tourism can be daunting. This image offers metaphorical proof of that statement. I don’t know whether these people are coming or going – and that is why the image hits home. There is a sense of disorientation here. Bags are everywhere. Who belongs to them? A man stands over it all and bows his head as if in meditation. A woman holds a door open – is she waiting for him to make up his mind, or is she waiting for someone else? I wanted this image to ask such questions of the viewer. Travel can be fun. It can also be very stressful.
Photo-op, Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada, 2009
I found these tourists in Stanley Park making pictures of Vancouver’s Canada Place, just across the bay. I wanted them to symbolize all who come to photograph and remember this very special city, so I abstracted them as silhouettes and converted the image to a black and white photograph as a tribute to the early days of the medium itself. They are photographing memories, while I am photographing tourists doing what tourists usually come to do.