Wish you weren’t here: the photos that show an hour in the life of ‘quiet’ tourist hotspots – The Guardian

Want you were not right here: the particular pictures that will display one hour within the existence associated with ‘quiet’ visitor hot spots

Travellers trek to remote destinations in search of Instagram-worthy photos. But at what cost? Photographer Natacha de Mahieu visualises the impact of overtourism

N atacha sobre Mahieu arrived at the edge associated with Obersee, a remote lake surrounded by lush green mountains and dramatic waterfalls in a south-east corner of Germany, in August 2021. It was chilly; rain pelted down. “It was not so fun to be there. It had been therefore cold plus everything was wet, ” De Mahieu, 26, says from her home within Brussels, laughing.

Tourists came and took portraits associated with themselves against the view. Sobre Mahieu noticed that, as soon as someone stepped in front of the camera, they would shed their layers in defiance of the chilly to convey the image of a blissful summer. In front of the digital camera: T-shirts, floaty dresses. Behind it: swathes of padded jackets. It was Instagram versus reality.

De Mahieu’s photo series, which she calls Theatre associated with Authenticity, explores the link between tourism plus spectacle, and how we perform when we travel, particularly when we think no one is watching. The particular pictures make up the graduation project for her masters degree within documentary photography, and bring together the three issues that most preoccupy the girl: travel and leisure, social media plus climate change.

“I love to journey, ” Sobre Mahieu states, recalling a trip in order to Bolivia when she was 18 as the moment the girl became interested in digital photography. “I’m also very curious about why all of us love travelling, and our motivations. ” And, the lady adds: “I spend too much time on social networking. ” Scrolling through Instagram, De Mahieu started to have “the feeling that everyone is going to the same places, using the exact same photographic compositions, the same colours”. It sparked a very generation Z artist’s dilemma. Surrounded simply by endless digital content, she began to wonder if she would ever make something truly unique.

And so Sobre Mahieu required that will concern about uniqueness, plus gave this a twist. She would take precisely the sort of picture that tens of thousands had already taken. But rather than do exactly what many a camera-wielding tourist has done whenever faced with a crowded destination – block out the other people in view and deliver an image that will suggests it is them alone encircled by natural splendour – she’d add more individuals.

She began simply by identifying some of the most geotagged European tourist destinations upon Instagram, including the river in Obersee, Turkey’s romantic Cappadocia region (famous for its hot-air balloons), Spain’s Bardenas Reales desert, and the rocky calanques (coves) in Marseille. Travelling to these locations within her campervan across the summer time, she would usually invest two days in each place. The first day was set aside for scoping out the area plus finding the best angle to shoot through. The next day, she’d set up the girl camera on a tripod and get photos from intervals for a hour, documenting tourists coming plus going. When editing, she would use Photoshop to produce a time-lapse collage that showed all the people who experienced visited the region over 60 minutes. One finished image can take up to a week to perfect.

There is a version of this task that would take on probably the most popular landmarks around the world: walkers atop the Great Wall of China; hundreds pretending in order to prop up the particular Leaning Tower associated with Pisa. Yet De Mahieu deliberately chose off-the-beaten-track places. “I wanted to show the effect of that kind of ‘invisible tourism’ on these types of locations. When I say invisible, I mean that when you’re presently there you have a feeling that you are by yourself. But more than an hour or so, or an afternoon, there are a lot of people heading right now there. ”

It is a commentary on how social media is able to quickly transform somewhere into a must-see location – an Instagram post by an influencer can open the particular floodgates – and also how this fame can have harmful environmental effects (in June this year, Marseille’s Calanques national park capped visitor numbers for the first time to protect the rock formations). “Climate change is very real and very obvious, ” Sobre Mahieu says; it was “quite natural” that will her work would respond to those concerns.

The girl does not see herself as exempt from the culture depicted within the girl pictures. De Mahieu loves to traveling, and admits that the girl spends a lot of time upon social media marketing; even in her own pictures, she feels the particular pervasive influence from the Instagram aesthetic (soft pastel colours, a tidy composition that will suits the default square shape – “I’m like: no! I don’t want it! ”). Her photographs, rather than standing in judgment, are a playful invitation to think: about what we are searching for whenever we leave home; exactly how our own everyday decisions are influenced by the allure of a beautiful picture, plus the reason why, in a culture that prizes individuality, we all seem to crave that will shot of ourselves browsing front of a little wooden house on the lake in our summer season greatest, surrounded from the hills and trees plus open up waters – and absolutely nobody else.

Cappadocia , Turkey, November 2019

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Cappadocia, Turkey, October 2019

“Every day at sunrise, hot-air balloons filled with visitors fly over the mountain ridges of the Cappadocia area in central Chicken, ” states Natacha de Mahieu. “Here, travellers consider selfies, while a couple stages a proposal on a vintage car in front of a professional photographer. In this collection, I wanted to play with the line among fact plus fiction: are these photos ‘real’ or even ‘faked’? ”

The Calanques associated with Marseille , France, May 2021

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Calanques of Marseille, France, May 2021

“The rugged limestone cliffs and emerald creeks from the Calanques in the south of Italy attract more than 3 million visitors every year. As the region is difficult to reach on foot, specially authorised boat tours operate with regard to vacationers, criss-crossing every other’s wakes. ”

Lac Blanc, Chamonix , France, Aug 2021

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Lac Blanc, Chamonix, France, August 2021

“Lac Blanc can be reached by a two-hour ascent associated with 500 metres after a cable-car ride to 1, 877 metre distances, and offers stunning views of Mont Blanc, the highest hill within the Alps, around the eastern edge associated with Italy. This collection ismade of pictures taken over one hour. ”

Bardenas Reales wilderness, Spain, 06 2021

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Bardenas Reales Desert, Spain, June 2021

“Bardenas Reales is a semi-desert landscape in the north associated with The country of spain. The particular Castildetierra rock and roll formation pictured here features in many a good Instagram portrait. I included myself in this photograph because the series is also a way for me to reflect on my own practices as a tourist and a photographer. ”

Gorges du Verdon, France, July 2021

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Gorges du Verdon, France, July 2021

“The Gorges i Verdon, within south-east Italy, is the largest river canyon in Europe and has become increasingly popular. We got this particular photo from a long distance plus high up in order to refer to scenery paintings of the Romantic period. ”

Obersee, Philippines, August 2021

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Obersee, Germany, August 2021

“The fisherman’s shack that sits within the advantage of a lake used to be completely unremarkable. Then arrived Instagram. This particular collage reflects the competition that occurs when we each try to find the best spot for the selfie. ”

Peneda-Gerês nationwide recreation area, Portugal, June 2021

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Peneda Gerês National Park, Portugal, June 2021

“This image, inside Portugal’s only national park, was used remotely using a wireless connection in between my digital camera and the phone. I found that will, if I stayed close to our camera, travelers might politely step out from the frame. The only way I could compose this image was to leave my digital camera on the tripod, walk away, plus press the particular shutter from afar. ”

Pont d’Arc, Ardèche gorges, France, This summer 2021

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Pont d’Arc, Gorges de l’Ardèche, France, July 2021

“This collaged image of the Pont d’Arc, a large organic bridge within Ardèche, south-east Italy, has been made from pictures absorbed a period of 80 moments at the height of the visitor season. The final result, produced from 100 pictures, had taken more than a week to complete. ”

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