The photograph: Tourist repsonses to a visual interpretation of a disaster

Wright, Daniel orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9976-5799 and Sharpley, Richard Anthony john orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2135-3206 (2017) The photograph: Tourist repsonses to a visual interpretation of a disaster. Tourism Recreation Research, 43 (2). pp. 161-174. ISSN 0250-8281

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Photographs have long been used as a means of interpretation at museums and other tourism attractions, including dark tourism sites. Typically, such photographs are documentary, recording or depicting subjects relevant to the theme of the site. Less common, however, is the use of respesentational or artistic photographs, and little is known about their effectiveness as interpretation tools. This paper address this gap in knowledge. Based on research in L’Aquila, Italy, the site of a major earthquake in 2009, it explores the responses of tourists to a photograph interpreting the disaster displayed in the city centre. It reveals that the photograph is a highly effective form of interpretation, connecting tourists with the human dimension of the disaster, although the provision of background information on the photograph would enhance the tourists’ experience.

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