These photos are about tourism: not about the tourist industry or about tourist destinations, but about the act of being a tourist. Being a tourist is a self-induced transformation of cultural status and mental state as much as it is a change of physical place or daily routine, and expresses a common human experience of ambiguity and estrangement that happens at home as well as abroad. My own experience of tourism is one of periodic self-exile, born out of habits established early on in life (my family were compulsive travelers). Early travels with my family introduced me to travel photography, and the gold-standard to which we aspired was National Geographic. Now, as a long-time photographer, I've discarded that standard. My eye is deeply jaded against the single photo that claims to represent a place, a concept that is confederate with the creation of cliches, and I'm drawn to more metaphorical and ambiguous expressions of experience. The tourist experience often necessarily includes closing ones eyes to a lot of reality: the tourist destinations, and even our reactions to them, are pre-defined by books and magazines (including National Geographic), travel brochures, travel agents, and by other vacationers before us who have submitted to this experiential luge. Now my photographic impulse when traveling is to try and see what is taken for granted, or pushed to the back of the vision in order to have the "proper" experience of a place--the in between moments of existence. Is Disneyland fun? Yes, at times. It's also boring, sticky, tiring, surprising, run-down, depressing, exhilarating, and gross.
Technical NotesThe images were taken on color film with a medium format camera (Mamiya 6), then scanned and printed.