Tim Smith (CA) "In The World But Not Of It" - Helphoto 2022



United States

Tourists and Landmarks
The urge to document experience is shared across the globe. Tourist attractions are landmarks that are defined and created by the repetition of movement, poses, and of photographs. When looking at images of tourist spaces in friends’ selfies or on billboards, we employ an inherent learned lack of trust in images. Most of us assume a healthy perspective of optimistic skepticism. Unlike early ideas of photography as reality, today we do not consciously see images as the reality of visual experience. Because we all take photos every day, we actively employ methods to “better” our images. We recognize that images of expanse and beauty, like those of Icelandic waterfalls and beaches, are often, though an authentic depiction, created through intentional exclusion. In these two sets of images, Chimera Singer focuses her camera towards the subjects most often excluded in these photographs: The other tourists and practical man made objects. The first set of photos were taken during multiple trips to Iceland. In these photographs, Singer documents the tourists, but removes their cameras in order to prompt the questions: How does the act of photographing shape the tourist experience? What do tourists omit in framing their photos? What do these various inclusions/exclusions reflect about humanity and how we document the tourist experience? 

In the second set of images, Singer photographed scenes at landmarks on US Interstate 40. Rather than focusing her camera towards the tourists themselves, Singer is drawn to the objects that tourists exclude from their images. She too admits to omit them. The excluded objects become landmarks in their own right as they become symbols of how we adorn marked “scenic points” as well as how we curate depictions of these scenes through exclusion. With these images, Singer points to our learned distrust in photographs, by creating awareness of the subjects neglected in tourist images.

Chimera Singer is a nomadic photographer who currently resides in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from the University of WA in 2014 with a BA in Interdisciplinary Arts, in which she studied Photomedia and Post-Humanist studies. She works primarily as a commercial photographer; her work can be seen in Elle UK, Warner Records Press Kits, and LA Downtowner. In her personal work, she explores dynamics of visual portrayal and prompts viewers individually and collectively in order to engage critically in how they interpret and interact with imagery, challenging assumptions and norms of photographic portrayal


Chimera Singer (US) "Tourists and Landmarks" - Helphoto 2020
Chimera Singer (US) "Tourists and Landmarks" - Helphoto 2020