Understanding the relationship between tourism destination imagery and tourist photography

Brian Garrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

188 Citations (SciVal)


Photography and tourism are widely considered to be intrinsically linked. Photographs play a crucial role in the promotion of tourism destinations, working through a range of media including brochures, television commercials, and picture postcards. Meanwhile the practice of photography is often held to be intimately related to the condition of being a tourist. Urry (1990) links these two phenomena, suggesting that they may constitute a self-reinforcing 'closed circle of representation' in which tourist photographs both reflect and inform destination images. Using an innovative research approach combining visitor-employed photography with content analysis and quantitative statistical techniques, this article presents an empirical test of Urry's theory. Mixed evidence is found, suggesting that while in many respects the circle of representation may indeed be at work, in certain other respects it may not be. This suggests that a more fine-grained and nuanced understanding of the circle of representation is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-358
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number3
Early online date15 Aug 2008
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • imagery
  • photographs
  • postcards
  • representation


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