Until recently, when asked what my primary photographic interests are, I usually replied that it is travel photography (see for example http://www.vovsi.com/about). But now I am not even sure what “travel photograpy” is and if such a “genre” of photograpy actually exists. To explain what I mean, let me give a few examples. A few years ago I traveled to Norway and, as any of the many “photographer-enthusiasts” made tons of pictures (most of them were dreadful but it is not the point). Here are a few:
Together with the other images from that series they describe my trip to Norway and therefore for me personally they are travel photography. But if an independent observer were asked which genre of photography each of these images belongs to, the answers most probably would be: (a) portrait; (b) nature; (c) landscape. I doubt that travel photography would ever come to his/her mind.
Moreover, let’s imagine that precisely the same images were made by a Norvegian photographer right near his/her home (most probably they would be better than mine but it is not the point). The guy/gal would never think that they have anything to do with travel. And the word “travel” would quietly disappear from the conversation … .
So here is the point. Actually two points, both rather paradoxical.
1. The concept of travel photography is relative. It depends on who is the author of the images in question. Strange, isn’t it?
2. It does not make a lot of sense to speak about travel photography while considering a single image (even made by a “real” traveler, not by an aborigen). A single image is a portrait, a landscape, a street scene, a nude, a bird, etc. For me the words “travel photography” are appropriate only when we have a series of images giving a coherent description of a certain travel.
Agree? Disagree? Comments are welcome.