Pilgrimage

 

The intention of the series Pilgrimage, has been to invert the tourist gaze at two of the most visited sites In the Eastern and Western world: The Taj Mahal in India, and St Peter’s Basilica in Italy. The buildings are described not by their architecture, but rather by the tourists visiting them, and all identifying context has been excluded from these two endlessly reproduced landmarks. A queue is a procession, partly of national identity and demographics, and partly of dress code and body language. It is a temporary community, whereby a collective spirit of anticipation exists in between the boredom of waiting. Strangers have one thing in common: they are all waiting for the same thing. While in this temporary state of waiting, the action of photographing has become a habitual aspect of the tourist gaze, and many use photography as their frame of reference for looking at the object they have come to admire.

 

With over one billion international tourists travelling each year, contemporary society is a mobile society, and the modern day tourist can be described as a contemporary pilgrim. The traditional and contemporary pilgrim meet in the space of St Peter’s Square and the Taj Mahal, with a mix of package tourists, religious tourists, independent travellers and families. The architecture is the main attraction, but is absent from the images, symbolising the ubiquity of the modern day tourist trail.

 

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