Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Souvenirs and Real Landmarks

Most people who collect souvenirs have either visited the real landmark or hope to one day. When you do, its fun to photograph the souvenir building at the real site as I’ve done in the past with Monticello and the Betsy Ross House for example. Tourist Michael Hughes has taken this idea world wide as he photographs souvenirs juxtaposed with real tourist sites. He uses miniature buildings, post cards, magnets, snow globes, mugs and other souvenirs to create his visual illusion. Hughes began his technique in 1998 and has perfected it after travelling to hundreds of famous sights. His series of stunning photos include a Golden Gate fridge magnet slotted ideally into the San Francisco landscape. He arrives at a destination, visits the nearest souvenir shop and buys the cheapest souvenir. He then takes up to 50 photographs with a wide angle lens on a digital camera until he has the ornament positioned in exact proportion to the landmark. He has photographed the Egyptian pyramids and Sphinx, London's red buses and the Berlin's Brandenburg Gate - all combined with their souvenirs. The pictures have earned Michael more than 5 million hits on file-sharing website Flickr and an invite to appear on America's prime-time The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.Michael, who works as a freelance photographer in Germany, added: 'I used to be a souvenir snob and I'd only buy the most expensive ornaments. Now I've turned that on its head by using cheap ones and doing this childish idea of putting them in the picture.” Born in Britain and now living in Germany, Michael Hughes is a freelance photographer who has gained international attention lately with his quirky photographs of souvenirs perfectly lined up with monuments and landmarks. The attention has been so great, in fact, that the photographer was offered a book deal. Of interest to building collectors are photos of Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Golden Gate Bridge, the Tower Bridge in London, Egyptian pyramids and others. Check out even more of Hughes’ photos on his Flickr page. Have you photographed your souvenir buildings at their real locations? If so, send me your photos and I'll s publish them on Building Collector.

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