Miss(ed) Manners

January 10, 2008

My Global Initiative for 2008

Filed under: Golbal Initiative,Photography,Tourism — missedmanners @ 5:47 pm

My commute to work is 80% awesome, 20% infuriating. The 80% being the fifteen minute train ride in from Brooklyn wherein I almost always get a seat. The 20% is the part where I walk from the train station through a gauntlet of camera wielding tourists.

Between the station and my office lies the new nexus of New York tourism. The New York Stock Exchange, Trinity Church and Ground Zero. Every day it’s literally an uphill battle to weave in, out, about, over and through crowds of both commuters and travelers. Not to mention that since security got all beefed up down here, there are these crazy car barriers shaped into what someone at Homeland Security thinks is corporate art (That’s bureaucratic corporate art) and fencing that cuts a lot of the formerly large foot paths into six foot choke points.

It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, there is ALWAYS someone standing in the middle of this little passageway getting their picture taken in front of the NYSE entrance.


Have you ever seen the  entrance to the NYSE?


That’s it. It’s a fucking doorway.  Why people feel the need to photograph themselves in front of it simply baffles me. In fact, the whole idea of landmark tourist photography is completely lost on me. You are taking a picture of something that millions of people have already photographed. The only difference is you.

Will the addition of you really make that photograph any better?

Why are you taking your picture there? Will your friends and family not believe you when you said you saw the world’s largest ball of string unless they see photographic evidence?

This applies to any landmark.

Yeah, I’m super stoked you went to Egypt. Wow, a picture of the pyramids? Double wow, A picture of you in front of the pyramids? That’s amazing. Really. I’ve seen pictures of you, I’ve seen pictures of the pyramids. Why would I want to see a combination? Your winning smile?

There is a reason that slide shows are a worldwide euphemism for boredom. Because usually they’re pictures of things everyone’s already seen, only with your ugly mug in front half of them.

Show me a picture of something I’ve never seen before.

Which is exactly the topic of my global initiative for 2008: End tourist trap photography.

The next time you’re off on holiday in France, don’t go stand in front of the Louvre like a douche and say cheese. Instead, find something completely unremarkable nearby, somewhere out of the way, and take a picture of it. So when you show the picture to one of your friends you can say, “Here’s me and my significant other standing next to a lamp post about a hundred yards away from the Louvre. We didn’t have to wait for anyone to go by, we didn’t get in anyone’s way and we are now showing  you something that you could not easily see for yourself by typing in ‘the Louvre’ into Google, but we’re still expressing that we visited a famous landmark and got ourselves some culture. Aren’t we awesome?”

Real quick, here’s an artist’s rendition of an example:


That’s me standing next to a trash can, next to the Taj Mahal. Never mind that it’s a New York City trash can. Do mind that coquettish grin and awful haircut though.

I’ve got a few trips lined up in the near future, and I’m absolutely going to start doing this. Ideally I’d like to get a picture exactly a quarter mile away from Buckingham Palace, one of me sitting on the ground next to some litter near the Sydney Opera House and definitely a picture of me facing away from but thinking about the Golden Gate Bridge (not visible).



  1. At the risk of sounding *entirely* like a web dork (which I occasionally am, but whatever), you (or someone) should start a flickr group for this because, seriously, awesome.

    Comment by dria — January 10, 2008 @ 11:01 pm | Reply

  2. Actually, I do something similar with celebrities. I hate paparazzi and don’t want to be one, so if I do see a celebrity, I don’t take their photo. I take a photo of me in front of the restaurant/store/whatever they were in instead.

    Comment by Tamsyn — January 11, 2008 @ 5:33 pm | Reply

  3. Try Hyde Park across from the palace. The scenery is amazing with tree lined avenues and there are several fountains in there actually worth takng pictures of.

    Who would want a picture of themselves in front of the Stock Exchange?


    Comment by Ally — January 12, 2008 @ 12:15 pm | Reply

  4. Here’s one for your I hate tourist pictures….I lived in Orlando for 15 yrs, nuf said there, but it gets worse I now live in Northern IL not far from the Naval Training Center and have seen recruits taking pictures of themselves in front of White Castle (a little square hamburger place) Fl’s verison is called Krystals. Im talkin the chicks not just the dudes! When I was in Newfoundland CA the pictures I took of historical sites were only a coincidence that they happen to be in my blizzard shots! Damn historical places got in the way of some remarkable gray skys and snow drifts. The only photo evidence of me being there was of my being “Screeched In” marking my official acceptance as a Newfoundlander. To bad someone didn’t take a picture of me taking a swig out of a 3/4 full bottle of Screech at 11am at the St. Johns Nfld CA airport to prove it was safe to board with. Hehe made those Newfies eyes water. Proving yet again that Americans drink better than Canadians. ROFLMDAO (D=drunk)

    Comment by Teri — January 13, 2008 @ 5:10 pm | Reply

  5. What I don’t get are the people who take pictures of landmarks without themselves in it. Shit, go to Google and search for it, post one of those pictures and say you took it. That’s what I would do.

    Comment by andria — January 13, 2008 @ 8:20 pm | Reply

  6. You are a cutie and your coquettish grin is in fact nicely coquettish but I have one question. What is it you are doing with that hand in your buttocks region?

    Comment by conundrum — January 14, 2008 @ 10:30 pm | Reply

  7. lol… if i hadn’t taken that pic, i’d be having a lot of fun imagining what it is you’re doing with that hand… lol… i won’t give up your secret…

    can’t wait to take some fabulous shots while you’re in cali… 😀

    Comment by sunshine — January 14, 2008 @ 10:45 pm | Reply

  8. This morning I saw Maroon 5 on Good Morning America and while watching the lead singer, I couldn’t help but remember the pic of you at that trash can I had seen last week. Your picture is cuter of course but the resemblance is as unmistakable as the matching haircuts.

    Are you the same person in real life? Inquiring minds need to know.

    Comment by Augusto — January 15, 2008 @ 9:56 am | Reply

  9. I don’t care much one way or the other if idiots take pictures in silly places of their stupid selves but I can’t help but be intriqued by this business of butt-fondling boys at trash cans with coy grins.

    Wait just a minute now – ok, the trash cans don’t have coy grins; that would be the butt-fondling boy.

    We deserve some explanations there Mr. Miss(ed) Manners.

    Comment by Harleyguy — January 16, 2008 @ 12:16 am | Reply

  10. While living in china mostly what we took pictures of were signs in “chinglish” rather then pictures of stuff that we could get better pictures of in books/web searchs.

    You know, signs like “Make somnappy happy”

    Much more fun and brings back more to memory then your stupid face in front of the Great wall.

    Comment by Seth — January 16, 2008 @ 9:59 am | Reply

  11. Hehe.

    I’m heading to San Fran in a day, so I’ll be sure to get some more pictures of the elusive butt fondling boy in his unnatural habitat for ya Harleyguy.

    Comment by missedmanners — January 16, 2008 @ 12:25 pm | Reply

  12. I went through India taking pictures of toilets. Does that count? http://tinyurl.com/3yhqkg

    Comment by nwsart — January 16, 2008 @ 10:18 pm | Reply

  13. I respectfully disagree. Not to sound too schmaltzy, but while preparing recently for my mother’s funeral, we went through boxes of pictures she had taken of my brother and I on various trips, in front of scenic vistas, historic landmarks, etc. Not to mention pictures of herself and my father, separately and together, from when they were dating and newlyweds.

    These pictures helped to serve as a visual contribution to the tapestry of her life. And while I understand that slideshows and vacation albums may be boring to strangers and even friends, for me they were a way to reconnect with her even after she was gone. It was especially valuable considering the long decline into Alzheimers that preceded her death, robbing us of the chance to share in her memories near the end.

    I take cheesy shots – I have one, in fact, of friends standing in front of the NYSE. I apologize that it may have inconvenienced those who needed to work nearby (though I doubt it was too much trouble, it was 8 pm when taken), but I will continue to do so, if only so that someday my own friends and family can see what I have seen, and remember that I was here to see it. Yes, there are many better ways to do so, and I’ll follow some of them as well.

    But I’ll keep taking touristy photos, if for no other reason than I realize we are all only tourists, here.

    Comment by Andy — January 18, 2008 @ 1:13 pm | Reply

  14. […] My Global Initiative for 2008: Update Filed under: Humor — missedmanners @ 4:48 pm This is a follow-up to this post: https://missedmanners.wordpress.com/2008/01/10/my-global-initiative-for-2008/ […]

    Pingback by My Global Initiative for 2008: Update « Miss(ed) Manners — February 27, 2008 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

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