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(Dis)Connecting Tourism and Photography

Corporeal Travel and Imaginative Travel

Jonas Larsen

Many connections between mobility and photography are traced and established in this article. It is shown that photography entered discourses of tourism before photography was even invented. Sketching and image hunting were central to pre-photographic tourists and they voiced passionate desires for a machine that could easily fix the fleeting and elusive image of the camera obscura and Claude glasses. The difficulties that Talbot experienced while drawing a foreign prospect with the camera obscura led him to invent photography, while Eastman reinvented photography after realising through his own body that holiday picturing meant 'travelling heavy'. The early history of photography is intimately linked to travel and tourism: pre-photographic tourists desired photography and it became designed with the tourist in mind and later for 'travelling light'. Lightweight and reproducible, photographs were designed for movement too. They were crucial in putting the world on display and globalising the 'tourist gaze'. At a time where travelling was associated with fatigue, hassles and risks on the one hand and visual pleasures on the other, photographs seamlessly transported distant places to the convenient and safe armchair. They allow touristic visual consumption where no actual tourism takes place.