July 19, 2019

Why Does Everyone Take the Same Travel Photos?

“WITH 7.4 MILLION people crammed into its 426 square miles, Hong Kong can be overwhelming to tourists. But now an app tells you exactly what to see—or, more precisely, what to photograph.

Scroll through Explorest to find a surfeit of futuristic high-rises, minimalist staircases, and rooftop views perfect for selfies. Clicking on the pic tells you how to capture it—not only the GPS coordinates for where to plant your feet, but also the exact settings to punch into your camera (in the unlikely event it’s not a smartphone).

“Two of the most common questions asked on social media are ‘Where was this picture taken?’ and ‘How do I get there?'” says CEO Justin Myers. “We want to make traveling a more seamless, cultural experience using an extensive database of local knowledge.”

But Explorest is just an app-shaped version of something tourists already do: flit from attraction to attraction to take the same photos they’ve already seen of Buckingham Palace, the Golden Gate Bridge or even Brussels’ Peeing Boy. That script, staged again and again by countless visitors, reflects how photography has always shaped the travel experience—for good or bad.”

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