With Instragram, smart phones, and selfies, we live in the age of self-documentation. On the one hand photos perfectly capture and freeze real life moments that we can instantly share. On the other hand, photos often misrepresent the actual travel experience.

A photographer once told me that the most powerful tool a camera has is its ability to frame – or its ability to include and exclude what it wants from a picture.

IMG_20150620_093811544-1

As tourists, it’s easy to fall into the trap of taking pictures that will look good on Instagram and perpetuate an ideal travel experience while sometimes ignoring what the moment feels like in real life. Here are some examples from my recent trip in Italy.

How I made  my experience feel on Instagram:

Laocoon and his sons at the Vatican Museum in Rome

A post shared by Laura Rowley (@rowleylaura) on

What it really felt like:

IMG_20150620_053438457_HDR

Instagram:

Michelangelo's Pieta in St Peter's basilica, Vatican city, Rome.

A post shared by Laura Rowley (@rowleylaura) on

What it really felt like:

IMG_20150620_090128170

Instagram:

Hall of maps, Vatican Museum, Rome. This hall is enormous and feels like it lasts forever!

A post shared by Laura Rowley (@rowleylaura) on

What it really felt like:

IMG_20150620_055826476

In the end, my experiences of these places falls somewhere in between the perfectly framed Instagram shots and the more claustrophobic images of overcrowded site seeing. Either way, it’s important to remember that photos don’t always capture the whole story. Sometimes travel is messy, or tiring, or crowded. Sometimes it’s just plain difficult.

And that’s part of the point. Travel isn’t only about experiencing beautiful paintings — it’s about experiencing the world in all of its glory and chaos.

— Laura Rowley

Advertisements

Written by Laura Rowley

I am an artist, flight attendant, and travel blogger.

6 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s