Clichéd Photography: The Statues in Our Shots


One of the great things about travelling is that you're taking part in a shared heritage, not only with the locals in the places you visit, but also with other travellers. When coming across other tourists on our journeys - perfect strangers though they may be - there's a sense of bonding that transcends nationality and language. One way in which this shared bond is expressed is through photography. There are some types of travel photography that are so commonplace as to have become cliches. They're the type of photographs every single tourist has taken with a given monument since handheld cameras became commonplace.

If you pick up a car hire Faro for a relaxing beach-side holiday, take a day to drive up to Lisbon for one of the most striking examples of this type of photography. Baixa-Chiado is one of the most charming quarters of the city, perfect for a bit of sightseeing and some window shopping. Here you will find one of the most historical cafes in the city, A Brasileira. Sitting outside, among the tourist-filled tables, is a statue of Fernando Pessoa, a Portuguese poet who is almost akin to a national institution. Next to Pessoa is an empty seat, which never stays empty for long since 90% of the tourists take the chance to get their picture taken next to him. Everyone does, it's as important a part of a trip to Lisbon as going to Belém for some of their heavenly custard tarts, the popular Pastéis de Belém.

Pisa is another good example of photographs that never get old. It is almost an ironclad tradition that anyone visiting the Leaning Tower has to have their photo taken as if they were holding up the side of the tower, stopping it from toppling over. Another often-used trick is to stand far away from a monument, holding up your fingers in front of the camera as if you were holding it with your index finger and thumb and snap a shot. The Eiffel Tower, the Lincon Monument, the Pyramids, it works on anything.

It's cliched and it has been done thousands - perhaps millions - of times before, but it's also a fun way to pay homage to all the other global citizens who've come before you, and who like you thought that was a clever idea worth repeating. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

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