The Herd Instinct – Or Photography En Masse

DSCF4318I made the mistake of visiting a local shopping center on the Saturday of the Easter holiday. It had been shut on Good Friday as a matter of law or religion but was open on Saturday as a matter of commerce. – and to relieve agonised mental pressure on the local inhabitants. Apparently one day deprived of shopping turns them into desperadoes, and they ALL crowd into the shops on Saturday. I suspect they circle the car park from dawn like vultures.

Is it the same with photographers? Yes, it is. Go to any certified scenic spot that has a camera sign, a horizon, and a trash barrel, and it doesn’t matter whether the day is wet or dry – the tourists will be there snapping. In the days when I sold film I would have applauded this and encouraged them with gay and cheerful music as they burned up the Kodachrome. Now I just find them a pain.

Fortunately I do not have need for scenic vistas and photo opportunity outlooks for my work – it is in my own studio and I am not displaced by crowds. I might occasionally trip over the light stands or trailing cords, but I have selected words that can alleviate that distress.

The cost of the tourist vantage point shot is much the same as it always was, despite the displacement of film by digital capture. You still have to motor or walk to the site, still have to pack a lunch, and still have to soak your feet in epsom salts when you get back home. The cost you might have borne in 1965 for a roll of Kodachrome that delivered 6 good shots was about a day’s basic wage. Now you have no film cost, but the camera, computer, printer, and ink still mean that you’ll pay a day’s wage for those 6 digital files of the beach or mountainside. We can only hope that you will have had enough fun getting there and enough relief getting back to reward you for the day’s work. The pictures are irrelevant. You could see them in any State Tourist Bureau brochure – you will never look at them in the future. It was just the day out, the dry sandwiches, and the ant bites that made it a holiday.

I’m off to the mountain lake beach on the desert vantage point and tea rooms ( Pottery for sale. ) for a spot of shark kite surfing tomorrow. Care to come?


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