Traveling around Europe, Steve Craft noticed something about the tourists in the places he was visiting…They were all doing the same thing. Whether with a selfie, a photo of a friend, or an unobstructed picture of the landscape, they were all spending more time capturing the landscape than looking at it in the present. Steve realized that these people were even more interesting to him than the destinations he was visiting, so he began a project where he’d turn his lens from the tourist destinations to the tourists themselves.
Steve has always enjoyed shooting wide landscapes with some small human element, so these photos naturally fit his interests. The combination of a strong, vast graphic with a tiny mark of humanity appeals to him, and with these, that human element is just magnified. These photos are different for him, though, in that they are more journalistic in style than his usual portraiture work. “I like being a fly on the wall,” he says.
Steve says for these photos, there’s no way to prepare for them. He goes to the location, sees where the people are shooting, then steps back and tries to pretend he’s taking photos from that vantage point as well. Really, he is scoping out who is doing what—selfie here, bunny ears there—and plotting out his frame. Sometimes he goes beyond fly on the wall and straight to secret agent, having a friend or coworker accompany him and pose for a photo, with Steve last minute changing the shot to get the tourists beside them.
For this photos series, a lot of the elements are out of Steve’s control. If he goes to a location and there’s no one there, or way too many people there, that can throw off the photos. And with travelling to such popular tourist destinations, getting moments without huge crowds can be tricky.
Getting the right vantage point can be a challenge. I try to keep things as simple and clean as possible so if there’s a lot of clutter, that usually ruins it.
Images from Steve’s series have been featured on APhotoFolio and received an International Color Award, and he hopes to secure a gallery show for the photos at some point as well. In the mean time, Steve continues to travel, and alongside his commercial work, keeps shooting images of tourists and their pics. So if you’re at a national landmark or major tourist attraction and you see someone pointing their camera your way, make sure your selfie game is strong.
To view more of Steve’s work, visit stevecraft.com.