In an age where digital documentation seemingly outweighs primary experience, it is perhaps unsurprising that we are glued to our phones and cameras when wandering around some of the world’s most impressive monuments. In a comical, evocative and colourful new photo series entitled The Tourist Trap, London-based photographer Oleg Tolstoy, turns the camera back on ourselves as he tries to capture the “frenetic energy of modern tourists as they strive to make lasting memories”.
In an interview with It’s Nice That, the budding photographer describes the series as “an unrepentantly in-your-face look at sightseeing in an age of digital media and insta-jealousy”. Over the course of two visits and ten days outside Florence’s historic Duomo Cathedral, Tolstoy reveals: “I got up close in order to capture expressions and reactions on an intimate level rarely captured on film, a perspective made particularly ironic as all my subjects and I are complete strangers in a foreign land.”
Aside from the rich colours and in-your-face close ups, what is perhaps most striking about the series is the apparent obliviousness of the subjects, caught up in their frantic pursuit of the perfect Facebook-post worthy picture. Tolstoy explains: “Everyone was so busy taking photos, listening to audio guides and gawping upwards that they barely registered my presence, even when I was just feet away… It was comical, but poignant. They’ve travelled across the world to be here, but in the act of obsessively making thousands of bits of postcard-perfect content to show to friends back home, they’re lost in their viewfinders and not really aware of their surroundings at all.”
Tolstoy’s The Tourist Trap is the latest series in an impressive string of previous works. A descendant of the great writer Leo Tolstoy himself, the photographer took the opportunity to photograph the now globally scattered family at a family reunion at the writer’s country estate, Yasnaya Polyana, south of Moscow, paying homage to his revered ancestor. The series, entitled The Tolstoys in the 21st Century, was turned into a photobook featuring numerous portraits of the family today, published by Merrell Publishers in April 2015.
Source: It’s Nice That