My response to a question in a professional photography forum asking “why do people take cameras with them on holidays and shoot local buildings, museums, etc, etc, etc..:

Living in a tourist Mecca (Bangkok and greater Thailand) my observations lead me to believe "because it's there" and "marketing is telling us to.. so we must."

At Angkor Vat not so recently I was mildly to greatly annoyed when my serenity and thought processes were interrupted by large tourist buses of mainly ethnic Koreans and Chinese.. who universally appear to have little respect for this great sites religious and/or spiritual significance. The noisy and loud (not to mention stinky diesel fumes) extra large tour buses pull up one after the other, the cattle call is sounded, hundreds of tourists disembark with cameras in hand, and then proceed to loudly shout amongst one another while climbing on artifacts to have their photo taken.. often while "signing" like hip-hop artists.

The cattle call sounds again, they rush inside the giant tin cans, and an amazing amount of empty water bottles, food wrappers, and what not is left behind. I often join in with the locals cleaning the area to help make it suitable for being photographed once again before settling back into thought.. at which time another set of extra large tour buses appear...

This is standard throughout South East Asia, but it's especially irksome at such sites of religious or spiritual significance.

However, it is "the thing to do" as evidenced by repetitious advertising from large billboards to television ads mind bending the viewer into believing no vacation is complete, no visit to an attraction fulfilled, no experience meaningful, without pulling out the newest most feature laden electronic toy to document their invasion.

I can't wait until they start marketing individual robotic trash collectors and make them the 'toy of choice' at each site..

Don't get me wrong, I don't want the place to myself. I've long realized most compositions in this area aren't complete without people in the scene. It's more the method of encroachment and lack of respect. Because it's there and marketing tells us we must..


Until next time..