I love photography, and as a travel junkie, I love looking at travel photography. But even though a picture is supposedly worth a thousand words, pictures can’t tell the whole story.
It’s frustrating to page through images on Photobucket, PBase, Flickr or somebody’s travel blog and not know enough about what you’re looking at. And that’s why, if I’m given a link to someone’s travel photos on a photo sharing site, I only give them a cursory glance, if I look at them at all.
I want to read an informative blog so I’ll know the story behind the pictures. I want to know how you came to meet the stranger with the beautiful smile or the lady with the beautiful scarf, what you said to him and what they said to you. There are many photos and photo collections which can stand alone without explanation. But even if they’re hanging in a museum, there’ll be a little card next to them with a few words on it.
Whether you go to an exotic, off-the-beaten-path location or visit Paris, there’ll always be scenes that warrant a bit of explanation. There’ll be things about your images that you, the traveler, will know but the reader who hasn’t been there won’t have a clue. What does that sign in a foreign language say? What about the body language of the person in the photo? Sometimes even what a person is wearing has meaning in another culture. These are the mysteries in the photos that need to be revealed in words.
No matter how beautiful the images, I lose interest much more quickly if there’s no story to accompany them.
On the other hand, don’t go overboard. When travel blogs turn into history essays, I also lose interest. A little historical background is good. If I want to know more, I know where Google is.
What I really want to know is your travel experience: what you felt, who you met, what you ate, what occurred. And, of course, I expect photos to illustrate each and every one of these things!