Being There.

I’m going to continue on the same travel thread that I started on Sunday. Well, sort of.

Jim and I attended a fine arts fair a couple of months ago, when the weather was still comfortable enough for walking around outside and admiring artwork. Although the majority of the pottery, jewelry, and paintings was lovely, I was definitely attracted to the tents which housed the work of photographers. The sizes of the pieces ranged from 8″ X 10″ to oversized masterpieces that would look perfect over a couch, or even in a museum. The photograph subjects that were my favorite? No surprise: they were beautiful locations all around the world. From Greece to Japan to Italy to the shores of California, these works of art made me drool…especially the gigantic ones that begged for me to step inside.

Here’s the thing, though. The over-the-couch pieces were priced in the range of $6,000 to $10,000. There is obviously a market for this price point because all of the photographers who were there priced their wares similarly. They were also obviously very talented: the combination of their eye for beauty and light and angles and their high-end, technologically advanced cameras (that can produce pictures so detailed that they can be blown up to the size they were) created what I would indeed call “fine art”.

That said, I felt that for me personally, the money–if I had that kind of money to spend on framed works of art–would be misspent because I’d rather take that $6,000 to $10,000 and set up a plane ticket and accommodations to any of those destinations and take my own pictures there, with my average DSLR camera.

Being there, seeing it for myself, smelling the air, tasting the foods, and hearing the sounds: all of those things contribute to memories. Photographs are my favorite souvenirs from any trip because they are more than just a piece of paper (or a picture on a screen).

I’m sure there are people who are well-off and have no problem spending that kind of money on that kind of art for their home, but give me the experience and a smaller picture any day: I’d rather be the photographer.

German Alps


  • Sandy

    I feel the same way about travel versus spending money on a high end camera for photos of those places. We travel yearly, and it’s always on a budget. I research the best, lower priced restaurants and cafes, and we stay in small, family run hotels, but we’re there, and our memories are priceless. When we look at a photo we’ve taken with our small, digital camera it takes us back there. Looking at a beautiful, blown up photograph taken by someone else just doesn’t have the same effect.



  • Liz

    I love this post, in so many ways, and you are very good at capturing (and sharing) your special moments. That is truly priceless, my friend.

  • Ally Bean

    I cannot imagine spending that kind of money on a photograph to put above your sofa. It blows my mind.

    Of course I agree with you. Travel trumps impersonal art any day. Go somewhere. Take a photo. Make the art in your home personal.

    Wowsa. $10k?!!

  • Shannon

    Amen! I would rather spend money traveling than almost anything else. If I won the lottery (better buy a ticket first, eh?) I would much prefer a trip around the world to a new house, car, art, or any other thing.

  • Headless Mom


    However, one of the ‘souveniers’ that HD and I get are prints of things from the places we visit.For instance, we got a print of an advertisement for a summer art fair in the town that we honeymooned in. It’s beautiful, matches our decor, has the year on it to remember, and didn’t break the bank. We have others too. It’s kind of a fun tradition.

  • Melissa

    I totally agree with you. We do not put up any pictures from places we haven’t been. We have actually started collecting crafts from everywhere we travel to now. I rather buy from the local artisans. There is just something about having something truly authentic from places you have been.