• Julian Napier

Up Where We Belong - or not?

Updated: May 7, 2019

Captured this award winning photo at a popular viewpoint in Ninh Binh, Vietnam earlier this year. I'd trekked to the top with my partner to see the vista and to hopefully capture a good landscape shot. Despite it being midweek, foggy, damp, cold and somewhat treacherous under foot, what awaited at the top was a literal scrum of selfie trophy hunters; the place was absolutely mobbed with people determined to get their new facebook cover photo! So what appears to be a romantic and intimate moment between these newly weds, was anything but...

... just outside of my framing, scores of tourists, mostly millennials, scramble over each other, scuffing knees, elbows, wrists on rocks, claiming an inch of jagged real estate over the next trophy hunter, as they try to get the bride and groom into their viewpoint selfie. After all that mayhem, I hope 

their own official photographer caught the moment for them.

This selfie-mania is a trend I encountered all over South East Asia and it's a topic I will cover in another blog. The breathtaking and pristine travel shot is more often than not total fantasy, an illusory doctoring of the real world, which tends instead to be noisy, bloated with fetid trash, drowning in plastic and overrun with day tourists who place no value on the location beyond bagging an iconic selfie then moving on.