Statues help tell the Story of your Travels

A statue and fountain in the city of Vienna, Austria.

Here's a very straight forward photo documentation of an interesting fountain in Vienna, Austria. While not a portfolio image I've decided to post it to demonstrate the advantages of photographing such structures. For the sake of simplicity let's summarize those advantages as follows:

Where the Heck Were You?

Photographing man made monuments, large and small, is a great way to help you remember where the rest of the images in that series were made. For those folks who keyword their photos during and/or just after download this is no longer an issue, but for most folk this approach is almost as useful as photographing nearby street signs. What's more the photos are likely to be considerably more interesting.

History, as Told by the Winners

Statues often describe historical events and/or characters. Whether kind or cruel; brave or coward; hero or criminal; the way these figures are represented is sometimes determined by the way the story is told. And that story differs with the telling.

What we so often see is the version of the story as told by the winners.

Exceptions to the Theme

Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow is an interesting place as not all of the public figures buried there are immortalized in a particularly positive manner. The grave of former Russian Federation President, Boris Yeltsin, is an example of being immortalized in not so much the way you’d like, but perhaps more in line with how the common people remember you.

Exploring the Human Condition

Probably the thing I like most about statues are the relationships that are often explored between the characters depicted. By seeing your share of statues you'll likely witness the full range of emotions (e.g., courage, despair, joy, horror) experienced during epic events. And of course the relationship to power, both secular and religious, is also explored in some of the world's most famous statues.

Practice Your Portrait Photography

While the above image is really just a documentary photo of what was in front of me, I usually like to explore the more emotive aspects within a statue. For example, if the statue features a well crafted, expressive face I'II photograph it in much the same way as a human portrait.

So by photographing statues, even though they be made of stone, I'm able to explore the Human Condition. And that's a very important concern for me in my journey as a photographer.

So, next time you're out and about, head into a park or square and check out the statues on display. If you time your visit well you'll find subject, light and weather all coming together in a way that will make for great photography.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru