Point of View: Taking pictures of a picture

These two images belong to a small body of work I started several years ago. The idea was to capture fellow travelers photographing themselves against local cultural icons. I was interested in the backgrounds people chose and how their choices were transformed by my photographing them behind the scenes. The anonymous tourists - the main subjects in their own version of the photo - serve to highlight what we do recognize: the famous backdrop. My photo is about their choice.

The tourists' photos remind me of early studio photographs in which people used props and backdrops to create a portrait that was more about their subject's desires than about his or her realities. I could take pictures of landmarks without tourists in front of them. But for me, recording these photographic "events" reframes what is known and provokes insights.

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