I’ve just finished a tour of Torres del Paine national park in Chilean Patagonia. Thanks so much to everyone who came and shared some time with me :-)
I’ve been coming here since 2003. It is my favourite national park by far, simply because I feel I have history with it. Some places get under your skin and become part of who you are, and I think shape you as a person through the experiences you have with them.
So many wonderful encounters ranging from Sabine, my guide who is such a lovely person, to seeing Puma’s on just about every tour I’ve done here in the past 5 years.
The park is changing quite a lot now. As is the case with everywhere else : things are busy. Too busy.
So many photographers now, and tourists. We are living in a smaller world.
I’ve been running tours now for 10 years and I’ve seen so much change in that time. Airports have expanded, tourist numbers have gotten larger, and there are more photographers. It is becoming harder to have a solitary experience in the world’s famous places.
Scotland is overrun with tourists. Lofoten is overrun with photographers in the winter. Iceland is the same. Everywhere that has a magnetic pull, is now no longer the idea of the sole traveller but the idea of the many. Having that solitary experience is becoming less and less a possibility.
Much like the hiking community, a set of principles, a code of conduct would be very welcome. I feel that things are changing and park guidelines are becoming more and more restrictive.
I’d love the national parks to consider the dreams and wishes of all landscape photographers, but at present many of the rules and regulations are going in the opposite direction: things are becoming more restrictive. This is of course to save these places from the increasing footfall they’re experiencing.
If we want to get the photos we want, we have to cooperate as best as we can: we all have to be the best ambassador we can for the photographic community. I don’t know what that might entail and far be it for me to suggest, or put some thoughts forward on this.
In the meantime, all I can do is go out into the world and care for it: realise that it is a precious thing and that I represent the photography community at large with my actions. Act responsibly and try not to put the pursuit of my photography above everything else.
I wish for all of us to consider that regulations are becoming much tighter, and if we want to continue to photograph these special places without too much restrictions, we need to go lightly, and with much care into the world.