Too much photography

- - Blog News

Now it is almost impossible for me to shoot a photo where someone is NOT taking a picture or posing for one. So I am under the impression that no-one is really paying attention to the splendours and beauties of the site, as the urge to photograph is so overwhelming. The photographic record of the visit has almost destroyed the very notion of actually looking.

Martin Parr.

There Are 24 Comments On This Article.

  1. the cinemascapist

    I’ve always hated cameras and photographers. Especially during family get togethers, my kids hockey games, visits to foreign lands, etc… I rely on grampa or someone else to capture the moment if they feel the need, I’m too busy enjoying the moment through my friggin eyeballs. I just happened to need a camera to work out and portray a few emotional periods in my life since I was no good at writing or painting. Actually can’t stand most photographers and their small talk of lenses and newest cameras.

    • the cinemascapist

      sorry… hate was too strong a word. I Don’t “hate” photographers, maybe some, I’d say I am simply perturbed by them when they are in “photo mode” in my vicinity.

      • Interesting then that you are reading a blog dedicated to photography…and those of us who make photographs…ummm photographers!

  2. At last years Pushcar Camel Fair in India there were so many people taking pictures I suggested renaming it the Pushcar Camera Fair!

  3. I too have found a plethora of cameras at events and landmarks, so much so that my motto has become, “Go where they ain’t.”

    • Exactly. If nothing else, hordes with cameras at a major tourist sites should be an excuse to go find some other, less popular place to explore (like maybe the Camel Festival in Bikaner rather than the Pushkar one @John Lund mentions?). The world’s very big, with plenty of places to visit with nary a camera in sight.

  4. My father, Robert Rodale was on a group trip of journalists to China – 1971 including Susan Sontag. Susan Sontag was the only person who did not have a camera for the trip! On Photography!
    I do believe we are not really looking anymore. Its about time we begin to disconnect from technology from time to time and re-connect with Nature and Place.

  5. c.d.embrey

    Even worse is the amateur portrait photographers, who subjects their children to endless portrait sessions.

    Way too many people let photography interfere with their life. Then they are compelled to interfere with your life by showing you their vapid & banal digital captures. Meh.

  6. Two things come to mind: Some genres of photography seem futile nowadays, because there exist already millions of photos, many quite good, of the same location, sight, etc. If you can’t make it at least 10% better than the best photo out there, why take another one, instead of enjoying the moment and then relying on the existing image?

    I’ve read that 10% of all images ever taken with cameras, have been produced in the last 12 months. It’s an exponential growth curve. But neither population or scenery or what people do is growing at the same rate. So naturally there is an increasing repetitiveness that’s not adding value.

    The other thing I discussed with someone the other day, is that it may be time to separate the term ‘photography’ and simply the activity of using a camera. No value judgement, both activities are totally valid and valuable. But just because someone used a camera on a vacation or with their kid, may not elevate it to ‘photography’. Should we reserve that label to people who practice the craft professionally or semi-professionally and with a purpose? It seems society calls everyone with their camera in hand a ‘photographers’ instead of just Joe who enjoys taking pictures.

    Just because I cook a decent meal from a recipe in a cookbook doesn’t make me a chef. At best I might be a good line cook. A chef requires a higher level of purpose and craft.

  7. John McD.

    A little Parr goes a long way. I take his point, but really Martin…

  8. As photographers we’re always taking photos with our minds. It’s simply a natural part of what we do. We enjoy seeing, we enjoy the view. Other people take pictures because they’re afraid they’ll forget.

  9. “Now it is almost impossible for me to shoot a photo where someone is NOT taking a picture or posing for one. ” – Martin Parr

    And someone standing just behind Mr Parr as he takes his photos is thinking “Damn photographer, why doesn’t he get out of my way so I can just enjoy being here with my wife and kids?”

  10. “Travellers don’t know where they are going, tourists don’t know where they have been…”

    The great thing is that the vast majority of tourists all go to the same locations, and a lot also spend a great deal of time at the beach. This means that in many places you only need to go a few miles away to get off the beaten track. The world is a big old place.

  11. You have actually make me think. Its true and I can testify with what you saying. I live in the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa but sometimes one might think this is Hollywood. There people taking photos all over and its no longer ok just to go out and enjoy the beauty of the City.

    Some people will even make you feel guilty that you standing on thier way……this is madness.

  12. john mcd.

    ” Margaret, can you ask that big English git with the ring flash to move out of the way so I can take MY pictures?”

  13. I know well Guell park, I shot commercially there a few years ago, its astonishing how rapidly this change has happened.

    I love Martins work. I wonder if it will have to change to adapt to this way that people are being sucked into excessive representation.

  14. The most interesting thing to me about that blog entry was seeing how pedestrian Parr’s snapshots are. I’m a fan of his work, but so many of the shots he uses to illustrate his blog entries are just…not good.

  15. I don’t wholly agree or disagree with Parr. Besides this seems like the old Delillio “White Noise” most-photographed barn argument in new clothes [that were bought from a smartphone online.]

    One one side: When hasn’t the context of photography been changing rapidly? Better, yet, last I checked photography has since it’s inception been cited as one of the drivers of new forms of thinking about the world. Nor is “Vernacular” photography new or novel. Sure, the volume is different, but still.

    On the other: I know I’m not the only photographer who leaves their camera at home on vacation. I know I’m not the only photographer who loves cooking, or gardening or music or such. That is, that the visual sense isn’t the sole way of ingesting and existing in the world.

    I always go back to Bresson on the matter: “you shouldn’t overshoot. it’s like over-eating or over-drinking.”

  16. I agree with Parr. In some of the places I go, I could not enjoy looking through a scene because theres always someone who takes picture every now then. You could not see the true beauty of it. And its really sad to know that you only take photos just to post for social sites and not really enjoying the scenery.