T O U R I S M

Each place is different and yet there are some similarities even between different countries. I have wondered just what it is that I am looking for as I move from place to place. Is it the common denominator of why everybody spends so much time travelling from here to there to be entertained? What are we doing with our lives here? Simple but deep questions meant without pretension. We are creating new concepts as to what is of worth to spend time or money on by being there.

Travelling to a certain place to be able later to say that you have seen it, eaten it, bathed in it, climbed it, rode on it, etc., etc. It’s a fact that we travel more today and our experience of strange and far away places has widened but has our experience deepened? We are looking for the perfect resort to travel to. There must be enough people like ourselves to make us think this was really somewhere to be, but on the other hand it shouldn’t be too crowded.
To get away from it all is rather like trying to deny the power of portability that our own thoughts can have. Leave your worries behind seems a futile thought but maybe it works often enough, otherwise would the phrase be around?
So what are the photographs about?
There’s colour and there’s sunshine, and blue skies, but what is their subject matter? Animals that have been built to represent some dead and extinct species, buildings and ancient monuments, flower gardens and parks, amusement parks, swimming pools and beaches. There are some people that populate these spaces but they seem to be behaving in some kind of unnatural manner, climbing twisting and turning. What vegetation there is appears to be controlled and bent to the will of man, at least temporarily. In fact the whole landscape has been changed of meaning to fulfil a new purpose that of entertainment. It should be colourful like children’s’ sweets, it should be accessible with footpaths and signposts and plenty of space for parking. A beach maybe no longer seen as a place where small fishing boats are shored, (in many places the boats have disappeared along with the fish) but a place to bathe during the sunny summer days and in winter days it may be all but deserted.

What has really happened is a shift in values. The land was once seen as a place for provided the food we ate. In today’s’ western society where the efficiency of the farming industry has grown and grown over the past centuries we are continually debating about how to deal with overproduction, while many countries do not have enough and people are starving. The vast majority of the population does not have any other contact with the land other than in their leisure time
John S. Webb
Helsingborg December 1992