Some thoughts on photography, or: Making photos of Angkor Wat

In the theoretical debate tourism is often descrbed as production and consumption of images.  Touristical publicity films and folders are produced to create desires and the travelers themselves make photos not only to show to everyone where they have been, but also to preserve for themselves the places of their longings.  Both the promotion material as well as the own photographies have the purpose to arouse emotions – by evoking longings and memories.

But here is also another aspect of photography: the concentrated attention on the environment, even the almost complete immersion, which converts a simple sightseeing into  an almost meditative experience. At least that is what happened to me in Angkor Wat (the largest and accordingly one of the most photographed temple complex in the world). For days we  stumbled around, sometimes surrounded by throngs of other tourists (and thus photographers), sometimes almost alone. Early in the morning, glaring at midday and just before the sunset – always on the lookout for beautiful impressions and fine paintings. The visit is therefore attractive as a search of photo opportunities. The criticism of it is, of course, thatyou do  not immerse properly,  build a barrier, which materializes in the camera. On the other hand, there is always a barrier and  while traveling you are  always an onlooker, as my  my travel companion noted so well. For me at least,  the three days in the temples of Angkor Wat (where I’ve photographed as much as the remaining 4.5 weeks of vacation together)were a lasting experience. And here are the results:

The social scientists like to call this the appropriation of the attraction. Through photography, I make the attraction my own. This has something, altough the advantage is, that Which has also, with the advantage of this is that it is still common property
If you want to read and see more:
  •  The tourist gaze,, a nice essay by Paul Kubalek, which summarizes the most important aspects around the topic of tourism and photography.
  • John McDermott,, who does with two chic and beautiful galleries in Siem Rap Pictures (B&W)  certainly a good business.
  • Doris Böttcher, whose subtle, hidden gallery we have encountered by chance in Phnom Penh – B&W also wonderful photos – in 6×6