Take a look at Tacky Tourist Photos co-founder and curator Darren Garnick in the picture above. Sure, he’s one of the world’s most knowledgeable authorities on kitschy travel snapshots. But even he can occasionally forget the basics. There’s nothing particularly bad about this photo, but there’s nothing especially creative about it either.
The best Tacky Tourist moments happen when the model immerses himself or herself into the scene — or to borrow a tired phrase from American Idol, when the TTP model “makes it their own.”
Now take a look at artist Chandra Leming ‘s contribution:
Chandra is comfortable with who she is and her confidence shows. Would Evel be upset if one of his fans acted recklessly with one of his bikes? Perhaps. He was known to have a slight temper in his day. But Chandra doesn’t care. She’s badass.
More badass than Evel.
Even if Garnick dyed his hair pink and got a tattoo and nose ring, he still couldn’t pull this scene off.
To go back to American Idol-speak, it’s all about picture (song) choice and knowing who you are.
Aside from the models’ acting talent, there is also a stark difference in the framing here. Leming’s photographer went for the retro 1970s logo as a backdrop, which would look fantastic on a lunchbox. Garnick’s photog went for the pretty blue background, not a horrible choice, but also not the best one available.
Bottom Line: It takes two to tango. Make sure that your Tacky Tourist Model and Tacky Tourist Photographer communicate with each other and push each other to do their best work.
(Have a Tacky Tourist Photography tip? Send it in and make the world’s photo albums far more fascinating!)