Revealed: the ten most photographed buildings

Having a grasp of the uniqueness of the photo they are about to sell is a task freelance photographers should confront - ideally before they approach a stock library or a picture agency.

Seeming to take the pain out of the process, for building photographers at least, stock imaging giant Alamy has come up with a list of the ten most captured monuments or landmarks.

Ranked in order of popularity, and according to the latest count on the Alamy website, the full list (-below) might cause some surprise, the London-run group said.

1. Eiffel Tower (Paris) – 15,536 images

2. Big Ben (London) – 14,896 images

3. Empire State Building (New York) 13,637 images

4. London Eye (London) – 12,734 images

5. Statue of Liberty (New York) – 9,573 images

6. Great Wall of China (China) – 8,907 images

7. Taj Mahal (India) – 8,544 images

8. Notre Dame Cathedral (Paris) – 8,185 images

9. Brooklyn Bridge (New York) – 7,990 images

10. Sydney Opera House (Sydney) – 7,848 images

Reflecting on the list, head of content at Alamy Alan Capel said: “As you would suspect, many of the buildings listed are predictable, particularly when we look at the world’s most visited cities and tourist destinations.

“However, there are a number of entries which came as a surprise – The London Eye, for example, is now hot-on-the-heels of Big Ben. Also would your average man in the street be able to name the Brooklyn Bridge? It’s so popular because almost every image of it has the distinctive New York skyline in the background.

“And, when it comes to monuments you would expect to be most photographed, I was surprised not to see The Pyramids featuring. On reflection, their desert location and the consistent climate of Egypt may provide the answer to this – there are only a certain number of photographs you can take.

“This list clearly indicates that photographers should not be afraid of clichés. They are clichés for a good reason; they are iconic and instantly symbolic of a country or city. When photographers visit a tourist destination, it goes without saying they should take a photo of the most photographed monuments – no matter the time of day, or the weather.

“Today, people are more widely travelled and more adventurous, and travel photography has grown in breadth and diversity to reflect that. Remember, next time you take a shot of the Eiffel Tower, why not take one of the ticket guard at the bottom too, or the person selling souvenirs and ice creams. This will capture the essence of Paris without disregarding the world’s most photographed monument.”


12th July 2011

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