One of the interesting things about working on a long term project – like Sightseers – is that you get a chance to do some due diligence and see who else has approached the subject matter, how they’ve dealt with it and what their focus was.
I was trying something a little different on this shoot – I was getting in close with the 50mm and attempting to get an idea of the pictures people were actually taking on the their phones, iPads and cameras. It was dusk, so the screens stood out nicely against the slightly darker landscape. Nobody seemed to mind me pushing into their groups or photographing what they were doing. Lots of people were too busy on their own pictures to take any notice of another tourist with a camera and those who did notice me, just laughed or asked what I was doing in a friendly way.
One of the areas of London that’s changed the radically during the 30 years I’ve lived here has been Bankside. When I came to London it was an area that was pretty much deserted – films like The Long Good Friday used it as a gangland setting and it was a place where artists like Derek Jarman could occupy massive waterside lofts for a few pounds a week.
Here are some more pictures from my project on the way tourists in London use photography. These were shot around Buckingham Palace on a sunny afternoon in August when nothing special was happening, no trooping of the colour or state visits. But there were still plenty of people snapping away.
For the last year or so I’ve been mingling with tourists and photographing them as they take pictures of the sights they’re seeing.
Several photographers and writers – Martin Parr and Susan Sontag for starters – have written or said some fairly snitty things about tourists and photography. A common theme is that people are so busy taking pictures that they’re not really looking at where they are or that people take the same pictures from the same place as everyone else. I started this project with the idea of exploring and expanding on those thoughts but after a couple of shoots I was forced to change my mind.