Today, my family and I went up to Game of Thrones country, on the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland. The first stop was The Giant's Causeway. It had been 8 years since my wife and I were last there, and it would be the first time that our sons will have seen the UNESCO World Heritage site.
The National Trust visitor centre was very impressive, and something that was not there when we last visited. The sleek modern columns of the building was a contemporary interpretation of the geological rock formations of the causeway. Also, the grass-covered curved roof echoed the National Trust's commitment to conserving the environment.
After winding our way down the coastal path to the famous rocks, the scene was very different to what I remembered and what you see in postcards and pictures for sale in the gift shop. The Giant's Causeway was swarming with people. Many of them were either photographing themselves, or each other. The tourists seemed to be viewing the attraction through their phone and camera screens, rather than enjoying it first hand. Nearly all of the 40,000 rocks must have been photographed today! With so many people there, it was impossible not to include 'photo bombers' in photographs. Some people were even taking photographs with two cameras at the same time! The tourists seemed to be intent on capturing themselves and each other in as many photographs as possible Each image will certify that they were there. I wonder how many images I have inadvertently appeared on!
Eight years ago, it seemed a much quieter place. Other people were there, but there didn't seem to be the sense of urgency to take the. Mount of photographs. I suppose this is partly due to the improvements in phone camera quality and the storage capacity. Furthermore, a. new season of Game of Thrones has just started, so visitor numbers have been fuelled by its use as one of the locations.
Only eight years ago, the Giant's Causeway was a quiet place. Now everyone appears to have the same idea, to capture the same images. The number of people taking selfies would suggest a desire to provide proof that 'I was there'. I rarely take selfies, because I know I was there and if I post the photograph then it shows that I must have been there!
After leaving the Giant's Causeway, we went across to the Dark Hedges in nearby Ballymoney. It consists of an avenue of beech trees, which distinctively twist their branches skyward for the last two centuries. Better known as the King's Road in the Game of Thrones, it is another popular photo opportunity for the show's fans. The images below were taken just after 6pm. It was ironic to hear many of the people complaining that there were too many people there to capture the perfect picture!
After walking further away from the crowds, I took the photograph below, which isn't as busy. I wanted to get a slightly different view point.
Cameras on mobile phones have made everyone a photographer, yet we all seem to be taking, or collecting, the same photographs. Also, with filters being easily applied to those images, all of the creativity seems to be post-photography. Where is the creativity in terms of approach and subject. I hope to explore this further during the course.