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Foreign Thrills


Tourists. I am one, you are one, and there are quite a few of them here in Prague, in Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic, in Paris where I sit writing this, and in all of Europe. We have chosen to flock to this place because it is new and offers thrills different from our hometowns--whether museums to visit, architecture to photograph, food to try, or women and men to admire. We battle language barriers, and crazy Euro prices, and airport security, and long lines for the Eiffel Tower all for a new experience. We want something different, we want the promises of the postcards, we want to take stories back home to our friends and family, and really we want something greater than the souvenir, we want the memories.

The photos are from Cesky Krumlov, where the old man fondles a seat chair. I think he was German, not that it matters, but I think he desires something that he hasn't had in awhile. As he posed for this photo, several of his tourist comrades stood around him laughing. He is the brave one, the jokester, the comical vagrant. I think as tourists, we also realize that we can sometimes get what we want, and what may usually be unattainable for us. As a photographer in a foreign place, I definitely am more adventurous with my shots. I will put a camera right up in someone's face because if they yell....well I don't understand. For the young-en's in our program, they have access to beer and wine and alcohol. We get what we want in a foreign country.

For the packs of Asian tourists that trek across Europe, their personal foreign thrill lies in technology and the photograph. They are rather comical, the peace sign pose is a real thing, and they mov in unique ways. Possessing the latest digital cameras or expensive SLR lenses, they hold the devices outstretched from their bodies. Their subjects pose solemnly or throwing up the peace sign or lean against a statue, attempting to be model like. I like them. The elders allow their faces to fully display expressions of awe. The younger ones seem to pose for fashion blogs.

Ultimately, you have to love and embrace the tourist. It's in every one of us. Often, I forget to remind myself that I am a photographer first and then the tourist. Nonetheless, the role of the tourist allows us to get away with breaking the rules, going after the things or the photographs or the thrills that we so desire, and allows us to fully witness these new places.

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