I got an email last night from a participant from my Harris workshop last year telling me he's in South America. His email told me that he'd been to see the Stone Tree (El Arbol de Piedra) in Bolivia. He told me that there is now a fence around it, because there have been too many tourists climbing on top of it.
Whilst I was there, I did think that it was amazing how the entire stone sculpture was so vulnerable, yet I was grateful that I had easy access to it so I could photograph it. In other parts of the world, we are getting a little too controlling of our heritage - so much protection that it can actually spoil a location.
But I think that in this case, the fence has been a necessity. I did notice whilst I was there, that people had been scratching their names on the stone tree.
I often find this sort of behaviour at odds with a location like this. There are certain kinds of people who come to visit a location of this nature. They appreciate the beauty and rarity of what they find here.
But there must, I fear, come a point when a place gets so popular that it appears on the radar of those that 'don't get it', that will never appreciate its rarity and think that the best thing to do when they get there is climb all over it and scribble their names on it.
That's the part of human nature I find hardest to deal with about such rare and beautiful places like this.
It seems that morons can apply for, and get granted passports too.