Worth a thousand words?

As my cousin and I walked across the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern on Saturday afternoon we frequently found ourselves dodging tourists taking photos—and it lead us to discuss the entire idea of vacation photos. The picture below is from my first trip to London ten years ago. And it’s one of the few, of the hundreds I took, that I still regularly share with people when recalling that trip. I took other pictures then—the journey took me from London to Ipswich to Aberdeen to Paris and back again. I have a lot of fond memories—but I don’t often look at the pictures.

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I especially don’t find a place in my vacationing life for the pictures that everyone takes. Perhaps because I have access, as a design professional, to all the high quality images of world landmarks I could ever want… but also, at what point are we capturing our experiences versus living them? I’m happier with my collection of Parisian doorknobs from 2009 than I am with the series of terrible photos I took from the London Eye six years previous.

I will likely end this trip with no more than a few dozen phones, and half of them food. Is this the next stage in the evolution from film to digital? First we took pictures of everything because we COULD, and now we take less because we really don’t need to?