The Tourist-Spot Defense


General Photography

PDN has more about the copycat issue they raised yesterday. I wasn’t going to spend more time writing about it, but I’ll admit I’m surprised about all those people using the tourist-spot defense in the comments on PDN’s blog. Here’s why.

It’s true that there are lots of tourist spots, and it would be absurd to say “You can’t take a photo there.” But as I argued before, any serious artist will try to produce his own photography, even at a tourist spot. And that’s usually not even intentional.

The reason why there are so many different photographers showcased on this blog is because there are thousands and thousands of unique photographic voices.

To pretend or claim that if you go to a tourist spot your photo will simply look like someone (or, as some people even seem to say: everybody) else’s is simply absurd. You don’t believe it? OK, let’s look at some tourist spots, let’s say Paris, Niagara Falls, and New York City.

When Adam Bartos takes photos in Paris, they look like Adam Bartos’ work (Boulevard).

When Alec Soth goes to Niagara Falls, his work looks like, well, Alec Soth’s (Niagara).

When Mitch Epstein photographs New York City, it looks like Mitch Epstein (The City).

So if you go to Paris, Niagara Falls, or New York City I don’t think it’s very likely your photos will look like Adam Bartos’, Alec Soth’s, or Mitch Epstein’s. In fact, it would be an amazing and unbelievably unlikely coincidence if they did.