Isn’t the first picture just amazing? It’s a beautiful view of Angkor Wat on a lightly clouded day with beautiful reflections in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Does the first image look familiar to you? Even if you have never even heard of Angkor Wat you might have seen this image and that is excactly the problem. It’s the same motive that every tourist (millions per year) has taken for over a hundred years. The perspective may vary slightly, but essentially it’s always the same. Click to see what Google finds for “Angkor Wat”.
Sometimes I hear people commenting on a private photo, that it looks like a postcard. The amusing thing about it is that for some this means it’s great, meaning that it looks like a “professional postcard” that they would buy for a few cents, whereas for others it means that it’s boring and cliché. I believe that images lose on value (though never their entire value) if they have been seen and taken too often. Consequently, touristic photos have a greater value, when it is a rare motive and it is hard to get, like for example pictures that made it out of North Korea.
To make my point clearer I added a second image below, also taken in Cambodia. It shows a farmer that prepares a net to catch some fish on what looks like a lake, but is actually a highly flooded rice-field during the rainy season. We were passing by in our handmade boat that was anything but safe. Obviously it’s a touristic picutre, but this one is by far not as obvious to get and shows a lot more about the actual Cambodia, than the Angkor Wat picture above.