It’s easier than ever to find new places to travel to near and far on social media. What you might not know is that these places might not be ready for all these tourists (ex. Iceland and 2.3 million visitors in 2017) or that all the tourism might be ruining those places because folks are not socially responsible.
What you see on social media isn’t always what you should strive for. If you’ve seen a place over and over again it’s likely that when you go the place is going to be packed when you get there. You might see five tour buses at one waterfall. Or you’ll find out that the exact shot you saw is behind a fence. It’s can be devastating. However, it can give you a reason to find a different angle. You can find your unique angle instead of the shot you wanted to copy.
On a recent trip to Banff National Park I discovered that a lot of those shots I see on Instagram are not taken in areas that people shouldn’t be. Some of those places are trying to be restored and have signs not to enter. Some of those places are off the main path with well worn side paths. And some of those places were just plain dangerous to be. I didn’t necessarily want the same shot as someone else but I also didn’t like seeing the destruction that we are causing to get “that shot”.
This is out of bounds in Banff but I did not go past this rock that was right next to the viewing platform and a sign that says not to go further. I don’t agree with making our own paths as it takes years for that path to come back to life.
I think we need to be a little more socially responsible about what we are doing to the planet we live on. I mean, after all, we just have one. You might just be one person that went off the path but I guarantee you might see another and another and then pretty soon you’ve got a path where no plants will grow.
If you go behind a fence or lean over the edge to get the shot. You might think about how it will be seen by others when you post it to social media, in other words being socially responsible. The shots you post, in a way, give permission for others to take that same shot. People like to emulate what is popular, they want to emulate other creative ideas. Instead of emulating what is popular how about showing your own creativity? Take those ideas and make them your own. Shoot a different angle or add a signature rain coat to your shot. Don’t cross the line just for the shot (literally and figuratively). Think about the consequences to the earth and the example that you will be setting for others. I now think about that with every shot I post — What example do I want to set?
Things to think about in your own photography
What do you want to be know for? You could copy someone else but then it’s not what you are known for.
Will you be kind to the earth or leave your permanent mark on her?
What’s your signature? A rain coat, a color splash, an editing style? Find something that’s yours and run with it.