A few years ago I stumbled on a wonderful series of pictures by artist Corinne Vionnet. Corinne has created her images by layering hundreds of virtually identical images of prominent landmarks, each individual photo taken by a tourist standing in more or less the same place. Her images are striking to look at in their own right. But they also say a lot about the repetitiveness of a lot of travel photos.
One of the biggest challenges of travel photography is avoiding the ‘postcard’ perspective and finding an original way of portraying the ‘classic’ landmarks. There is always a way: waiting for the light to change, for an interesting person to cross the scene or simply moving around to find an unorthodox angle. As a keen photographer myself, this is one of the joys of travel. It also, I like to think, makes our travel tales a little more interesting for friends and family when we get home.
Success in this game, I believe, lies in allowing yourself to look at the world through your own eyes rather than through the eyes of others – taking your own pictures rather than replicating those of others.
This challenge of originality, and the key to success, applies just as much to writing.