Garden of Stars (2)



Click here for the first part.

Then the two friends moved over to the handprints of the stars. Here the “new” ways of taking and sharing photographs were in evidence. One of the friends took a selfie of himself as he put his hand in the handprint of one of the stars. The other friend, meanwhile, is engrossed not in what is happening around him but in what is on his mobile phone screen. He is presumably checking his photos, or sharing them on social media.

In both photos, however, we can see the importance of many travel photos not as a record of what we saw in a place but as a record of how we want to be seen by others at that place. This is a relatively old and familiar issue within discussions of tourism and photography, but it was interesting to see these two friends shifting between ways of capturing themselves at the Garden of Stars.

I used a digital camera to take these photos, but I find it hard to give up the old way of taking pictures that I learned when I first got interested in photography. I looked through the view finder to compose the shots, and the pictures capture a moment that I saw. I like digital cameras styled on the 35-mm SLR cameras of yesteryear. They mimic most closely what I see, and are most unsuited to selfies! Hearing the latest research on social media and tourism, and observing these friends enjoying a film tourism experience in Hong Kong made me feel my age a little, though …

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