It was good to watch “Artic Live” on the TV over the last three nights because it was very informative about climate change and the way it is destroying Artic habitats. Surprising really because the BBC seems to have been somewhat muted recently. I did wonder about the impact of transporting film crews around the Artic but it was worth it just for the strength of the message.
It is a pity that many photographers want to visit the far North with Iceland, Greenland, the Arctic and the Faroe Islands becoming popular locations for photo tours. I cannot understand the attraction. Is it about scoring points in competitions? Or is there something macho about going to these places? If so, then I suggest Grayson Perry’s latest book “The Descent of Man” will give some insight into why men do such stuff.
The latest place that on the photographers travel agenda is Saksun in the Faroes which, according a new book from National Geographic, is one of the “17 of the World’s Most Wild and Beautiful Places.” That surely must sound the death knell for anywhere on the list as hordes of tourists bristling with cameras will now descend on them.
Landscape photography has become big business over the last few years fuelled by endless competitions like Landscape Photographer of the Year with its £10,000 first prize. There are books and magazines full of hints, tips, lists of places go and adverts from people running tours to every wild and beautiful place on the planet. It has become big money.
I have heard photographers say that they are not tourists but ‘travellers’. What is the difference I ask because the end result is the same? As we experience more of the effects of climate change there can be no justification for such travel?
Then there is the question of the need to travel half-way round the world to take pics when we live on such a diverse and beautiful island. I think this says it all for me, it is a quote from Stephen Shore that I have on my wall:
“To see something spectacular and recognise it as a photographic possibility is not making a very big leap. But to see something ordinary, something you’d see every day, and recognise it as a photographic possibility – that is what I am interested in”.