Permanent Tourist

The personal website of Mark Howells-Mead

Take the tourist shot

When I first planned to hike to Bachalp above Grindelwald, I had envisaged not taking the photo above. The reason is that I try to seek out new views and sights which haven’t been seen a hundred times before; to try and be creative by finding something a little unusual.

Once we were there, though, the reflections looked pretty impressive and so I thought, “why not?” Why not take a high resolution view of the alpine panorama, just as an illustrative shot of the view where I’d taken timelapse sequences and sat quietly with Jo, whilst wild marmots scurried about almost within reaching distance?

However, the reception of the photo on Flickr has taught me something important. With over 650 views, 38 comments and being marked by a favourite photo by 64 people, this has almost instantly become one of my most publicly successful shots to date. What I’ve learned from that is that so many people actively like the standard postcard shots; that this kind of image – which I see as being attractive but not particularly creative – is the kind which most people are drawn to.

So, a slight shift in technique. Where I will continually be striving for the creative shot on such an occasion, I will also take the tourist view. Stand on the most popular spot and point my camera at the most famous mountain. That way, perhaps I will enjoy more commercial success and, who knows? Perhaps earn a little beer money on the side…

4 responses to “Take the tourist shot”

  1. Mum avatar

    At last- at last x

  2. Mum avatar

    PS Of course people like it – it’s so dramatic and how one thinks of Switzerland

  3. habi avatar

    i’ve just seen the image now (missed it on your flickr-stream). i do like it, but not as much as your other work, which is generally much more interesting, this image looks strangely flat to me, kinda like a theatre-backdrop…
    but if it earns you beer money, go for it! but also keep shooting the other stuff.

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