Maps, mapping and materiality: navigating London

Catherine Palmer, Jo-Anne Lester

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


This chapter focuses on materiality as a way of mediating tourist experiences of place. We argue that ‘flat’ visual images of destinations and activities such as brochure images and photographs may encourage individuals to engage in tourism but these images tell us nothing about the actual experience of tourism. In effect, people do not experience images they experience other people and the materialities of place; architecture as buildings, parks and cities; doorways and staircases, paths and rivers; buses and trains, rocks and sand. Of course images can be evocative and thought provoking and they can trigger positive and negative memories, our world is after all a visually rich environment. However, we do not experience the world through images we find the world through them. We find the buildings, monuments, landscapes and things that are confined within the image and use them to navigate our way around and towards them. Our argument here is influenced by the anthropologist Tim Ingold’s work on walking and seeing where he states that the very idea of image as representation needs to be rethought. For Ingold (2011a: 197) images are ‘place holders’ for things in the world and travellers watch out for these things, and take direction from them,‘[c]an it be that images do not stand for things but rather help you find them?’
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMediating the tourist experience : from brochures to virtual encounters
EditorsJo-Anne Lester, Caroline Scarles
Place of PublicationFarnham
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781409451068
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013

Publication series

NameCurrent developments in the geographies of leisure and tourism


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