Satire on Tourist Photography


This project is a satirical take on the idea of self portraits in popular tourist photography. As a tourist one is expected to bring back photographs of themselves in various foreign locations, forcefully smiling and looking happy. There is a lack of insight in such evidential photographs. I have deconstructed what goes on in the mind of tourist and categorized the different types of poses people make. Through the photographs and their respective captions I have tried to bring out the hidden and sometimes double meanings of what tourist photography is all about, using wit and humor as a tool. Since the tourist photography is about performing in front of the camera, self-portraits have been taken.


We all practice such kind of tourist photography, consciously or sub-consciously. The memories that are related to such evidential photographs is rather limited. It does not show insights, individual perspective and one's view of the place visited, which I feel is more interesting and what should be shared. Instead of showing people which tourist places one visited and how they had fun and smiled all the time, there is also a reality which is more often than not untold. Of course people want to remember their touristic endeavors as sweet memories but reality is not always sweet. And sometimes capturing that harsh reality is more important than the false one.


Special thanks to my friend Neha Malhotra, for clicking the photographs for me.


Digital photographs, 2009-2010


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The Perfect Guide to Tourist Photography


1. The Evidential Pose

(The typical Tourist Gaze: Every tourist spot must be covered, fully visible in the background with a smile on face.)




2. The Evidential Pose -2

(Proof of a happy trip is to smile! Even if not in a mood to, and background must not be cropped off.)





 3. The Bollywood Inspired Pose

(Right out of a Yash Raj film song at an exotic location.)




4. The Evidential Pose Photoshoped

(Make it black & white or sepia-toned because the past is so reassuring)


5. The Dramatic Pose

   (Perform a dangerous stunt to entertain)




6. The Thoughtful Pose

    (Pretend to be intelligent, knowledgeable of the high-class of arts)





7. The “Photography” with no (pur)pose

    (Either to show others what a good photographer one is or reaction against the guilt of having photographed oneself too many times)





8. The Dramatic Pose - 2

    (Perform crazy antics to shock and entertain)





9. The Columbus Pose

    (Look into the distance, above the world, show the power, know-it-all )





10. The He-Man Pose

      (The illusion of power and also to entertain)





11. The Constructed Group Pose

      (Make proofs of the existence of any event)





12. The Theatrical Pose

       (Performed to impress)




13. The Strange Pose

      (Perform to entertain, & make you wonder)





14. The Ethnographic Pose

      (Posing with the Locals, exotic natives of the foreign land)





15. The Found-Object Pose

       (Proof of finding objects that are not found in homeland, an evidence of exploration and discovery of the foreign country)





16. The Found-Object Pose -2

       (Creating fictional tales, exaggerated stories)






17. The Fake Rich Pose

       (Creating a false reality, aspirations to be ‘rich’ confused with happiness)






18. The Un-Posed

      (Make sure friends take photographs throughout)





19. The Pose at Airport

       (It is important to show how the ‘departure’ happened, evidences of having travelled by air, rail and road)





20. The Last Pose

      (Performed to exaggerate emotions, make others jealous)