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(a process determined by gender, social, eco-
nomic and educational factors).
Literature in the area of tourism particu-
larly highlights the tourism-photography link.
Unarguably photography shapes tourism and
there would be no present-day tourism without
photography (Human, 1999; Urry, 2002). Pho-
tography anticipates and determines many
visual experiences, which more often than not
linger in the tourist's post-travel memory as
'reality', no matter how remote from the actual
visiting experience. Were viewers not previously
endowed with an available code of signs/images,
they would probably be readier to uncover
'Nature's lack of design' Vivian refers to in the
quote above, or even those intrusive elements
tourists promptly overlook to warrant calling
the travel experience pleasurable - Markwell's
account of the efforts undertaken by participants
in a nature-based tour to avoid satellite dishes
and any other sort of unpleasant sight is illustra-
tive of the gratifying holiday experience tourists
seek (Markwell, 1997). A prosaic truth is that in
demand-supply-based economies, consumers
need to acknowledge a balance of power in
the act of commodity acquisition: a fair deal.
Uncontrollable factors ranging from climate
conditions to social unrest - the unexpected
days of heavy rain or a strike at a museum -
frustrate anticipated gratifi cation, which should
result from the travel purchase and experience.
Hence, the selection of positive images is, for
most tourists, a way to justify expenditure, in
other words, to account for the purposefulness
of the tourist experience:
news reports, internet sites) dictate - covertly or
overtly - the tourist pre and post-visit experi-
ence and help reinforce or detract from the
destination image (Beerli and Martín, 2004).
For the travelling subject, photography
materializes the understanding of the visited
place, validates the tourist experience and plays
a social role in developing group bonds among
the travelling party (Markwell, 1997). Though
arguments over a 'power fallacy' may come to
the fore, it is hardly disputed that photography
may result in a form of neo-colonialism or a
statement regulating power and ethnic distinc-
tions and relations, as accounted for in different
ways and contexts by Cohen et al . (1992),
Human (1999), Mellinger (1994) and Rogoff
Ubiquitous it may be because of immedi-
acy and undemanding availability brought
about by technological progress, photography is
not the only representational medium bearing
an imprint in tourism. Long before photogra-
phy, painting (alongside literary writing) played
a major role in advancing the fame and fortune
of locations by fostering expectation within a
restricted elite of educated gallery-goers and
art-knowledgeable, well-off people.
There obviously emerges a great divide
between photography and painting. Though
subjective and carrying the photographer's bias,
photography is mimetic and frequently per-
ceived by image consumers as a frozen moment
of reality and while painting may be referential,
it is not necessarily mimetic. Still, the artist's cre-
ativity intervening in the process does not hin-
der the infl uence of paintings as mediators of
the way people perceive reality. Art infl uences
perception even when the mimetic aspect is
eschewed in favour of compositional tech-
niques, where structural factors are more impor-
tant than matter portrayed: true, for example, of
Modernist art where structural issues are part of
the message/meaning. Specifi c such examples
might include Léger's cubist painting The City
(1919): the profusion of angular intersecting
shapes and volumes and the contrast of chro-
matic patches and geometric forms, among
which abstract human forms can be spotted.
This seems a compressed metaphor of a travel-
ling experience undertaken in any big city - the
painting is far more forceful than any single
photograph, which can solely portray a splinter
[. . .] pictorial selectivity serves to reinforce the
myth of the perfect holiday in the perfect world,
rather than demonstrating the problematics of
travelling in the reality of a less-than-perfect
world, and thus diminishing the educational
value of the photographic collection, and by
extension, the educational value of the tour
experience as a whole.
(Markwell, 1997, p. 150)
When addressing matters pertaining to the
formation of a destination image, the role of
images can be more pragmatically understood
within the wider surrounding visual semiotic fi eld.
Not just photography but images of all kinds
conveyed through different media (especially
not for profi t output such as fi lms, documentaries,
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