A shift in perspective on passive tourism in Italy
Every year, Italy's enormous artistic and natural heritage attracts more than 70 million tourists from all over the world. Rome, Milan and Venice are among the top destinations. Louis De Belle's series Crowd reframes passive tourism by portraying isolated travelers on the active role of using mobile phones and cameras. Shot with a very fast exposure time and a portable flash, the images render the subjects out of context, almost "wandering in the dark"...
"The often passive fruition of attractions by tourists as they traipse along the routes from one absolutely unmissable place to the next, as sold to them by tour operators or cultural marketing strategies, is at last offered redemption here in the appropriation of such experience. Thanks to Louis De Belle's work, while following in the footsteps of their more sophisticated eighteenth-century ancestors, today's travellers take on an active role here in the use of their mobile phone cameras—a key tool for interpretation and reading, very much on a par with the notebook and fountain pen tucked into the pockets of young gentlemen on the Grand Tour of yesteryear. […]"
Louis De Belle (born 1988) is a photographer based in Milano. He studied at the Politecnico di Milano (BA) and Bauhaus–Universität Weimar (MFA). His works have been published by newspaper and websites including The Washington Post, Libération, WIRED, Slate, It's Nice That and The Independent. He is the editor of Forms of Formalism, and collaborates with STILL Magazine.