Staging Portraits: Tourism’s Panoptic Photo-industry

Document Type


Publication Date



Ethnography, Photography, Neoliberalism, Visual studies, Cruise tourism, Display


Shifting from representationally-oriented analysis of images to analysis of practices—the production, circulation and consumption of tourists’ images, and from photos created by tourists to photos staged, produced and displayed by the industry, this article offers a qualitative, ethnographic study of tourism’s visual culture. Through observations conducted on a cruise ship, the author offers up-close depiction of photo-taking routines, and of the public display of multiple images of vacationing tourists. The article critically accounts for tourists’ desire to be photographed and portrayed by the industry in terms of visual surveillance (Foucault) under contemporary neoliberal visual regime. It is further argued that public displays of tourists’ images create, through collective mediation/mediatization, a commercially assembled touristic collective or public.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Noy, C. (2014). “Staging Portraits: Tourism’s Panoptic Photo-industry.” Annals of Tourism Research, 47(2): 48-62.