All travel is now merely a means of moving a camera from place to place, all travellers are ruled by the all-powerful lens. Visitors old-fashioned enough to wish only to stand and look with their anachronistic eyes are shoved aside by the photographers, who take it for granted that while they do their ritual focusing, nothing else may move or cross their vision. Those peculiar souls without a camera must step aside for those more properly occupied, must wait while the rituals take place, and must bide their time while whole coaches stop and unleash upon the landscape the Instamatic God. And the populations of whole countries seeing themselves cannibalised, swallowed up, vacuumed into the black-ringed staring eye, wrench what they can from the cannibals. You want picture my house, my camel? You pay.
None of this would matter, perhaps, if anything worthwhile was being accomplished. If all the constant busyness and clicking produced, at its end, what had not existed before, images of beauty captured or truth told. But, sadly, this isn't so. The camera is simply graffiti made respectable.
The camera is the means by which we stamp ourselves on everything we see, under cover of recording the Wonders of the World already wonderfully
recorded by professionals and on sale at every corner bookshop and newsagent. But what use to show Aunt Maud, back home, postcards of the Tuscan landscape, since we are not in the picture to prove that we were there?
No stretch of rocks has verity unless I am within it. No monument exists
but for my wife, leaning against it. No temple is of interest without my face beside it, grinning. With my camera I appropriate everything beautiful, possess it, shrink it, domesticate it, and reproduce it on my blank sitting-room wall to prove to a selected audience of friends and family the one absolutely vital fact about these beauties: I saw them, I was there, I photographed them, and, ergo, they are.
from "Amateur Photography: the World as it isn't and our Fred" by Jill Tweedie in the Guardian