Winston Aldworth enjoys taking photos as much as the next snap-happy modern traveller. But he says things are getting out of hand.

Few things are as memorable as the first time you see the Mona Lisa. After winding your way through the many halls and galleries of the Louvre, finally the weary traveller reaches the painting hailed by many as the pinnacle of Western art.

And that first glimpse - the first encounter with Leonardo da Vinci's crowning achievement - comes ... via the screen of some tourist's phone. Hordes mass around the painting, holding their phones aloft like a high-tech offering to an ancient lord.

In fact, the first glimpse a modern-day visitor to the Mona Lisa will see of the great painting is, in all likelihood, an image on someone else's phone showing a whole lot of other people's phones. The screens held aloft at the back of the throng are simply capturing the image on those screens further forward.

Those at the back wait for their turn to shuffle forward and ruin the photo for someone else. Peering out, somewhere beyond them all, the real thing is smirking at us.


It's not just at galleries. I've witnessed the same scene playing out at major sports events and concerts. I got a fascinating look at the screen of someone's iPad just as the Melbourne Grand Prix roared into life.

Good thing she got that photo though, as up until that point literally no one on Earth had ever taken a picture of Lewis Hamilton driving a Formula One car.

Now, I enjoy taking photos as much as the next snap-happy modern traveller. But things are out of hand. Few photos are as rubbish as photos of people taking photos.

Hot tip: There's nowhere on Earth that you will ever go that a better photographer hasn't already been.

Trouble is, our phones are so good at taking pictures, and we've become so much better at taking them. But we need to call for a technological time out. A full ban would be too much, but major tourist sites such as the Louvre should consider blocking out certain times of day for periods of no phone or camera use.

We might just appreciate the view a little more.