Don't Leave Behind Your Sense of Adventure in the Age of Google

Don't Leave Behind Your Sense of Adventure in the Age of Google

I'm guilty of it. Are you? Have you ever heard about a cool place nearby, and the photographer inside you can't help but search Google Images for it to see if it's photogenic? Based on a few photos you see that were taken there, you decide right then whether or not it's worth your time to check out. Couldn't this actually be a huge disservice to yourself in the pursuit of creativity?

I've found that this is a very normal piece of the workflow for the modern day photographer. On Google, 500px, Flickr, or Instagram, anyone can easily type in a location and instantly see not only what a place generally looks like, but how a photographer chose to photograph it as well. If nothing looks inspiring in the several frames you view, you pass on it.

I get it, taking a trip out to somewhere and bringing home nothing to show for it can be really frustrating. But why are we taking cues on the creative potential of a location from casual tourists or even other photographers? I'm sure we can all agree that each one of us has something unique to share with our work. It's why we still continue to make photographs. Each one of us sees a location differently because we all have different strengths and weaknesses with our creative vision. The thing is though we have to be there in the flesh to know what we can offer. There are places out there with incredible stories waiting to be shared, it just takes the one right person to tell it.

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5 Comments

Joel Sartore did a tutorial for The Great Courses on travel photography. His main point was to take interesting photos rather than pretty ones.

Kyle Medina's picture

This is why I stopped following travel photographers and photography blogs for my state, and Facebook groups (sorry Elia & Trey). The repetitive sites ruin it for me. Though in contrast, I found one of my grandparents National Park books from like the early 90's and all the featured photos are the same photos that you read today, 'It's over photographed." In the end, its for me not you.

Michael Comeau's picture

I'm primarily a street photographer, but I see the same thing -- photographers looking for a "magic" corner in NYC to find the action.

But across all genres of photography, there's not emphasis placed upon roaming and exploring. Everyone's obsessed with the end product.

The journey IS the destination.

This post reminds me of The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows and this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ftDjebw8aA

I think it can definitely be difficult for some to see something that has already been done and feel like whats the point. I am guilty of this. There is something to be said about the feeling you get after you go out even though it "has already been done before."

I have found that National Forest's are great places for landscapes that haven't been over-photographed & photographers with more than a smartphone are a rarity.