Picture the scene: below, a stampede of socks-and-sandalled feet, at eye-level a sea of sweat-tinged bucket hats, the air is filled with the clink of plastic lanyards and enough flash bulbs to temporarily stun you.
London-based photographer Oleg Tolstoy’s latest series the The Tourist Trap turns a lens on the tourists who have come to capitalise on Florence’s famously good looks: an army of insta photographers in search of the perfect shot.
“The series is an unrepentantly in-your-face look at sightseeing in an age of digital media and insta-jealousy,” Oleg explains. “The work captures the frenetic energy of tourists in Florence in spring 2017. As one of the only big European countries still perceived as a ‘terrorist-free zone’, Italy is experiencing such an unprecedented tourist boom that locals have taken to the streets in protest, and overcrowding at famous attractions has become a serious issue for officials across the country.”
“I immersed myself in the crowds by Florence’s historic Duomo,” the photographer continues. “I got up close in order to capture expressions and reactions on an intimate level rarely captured on film, a perspective made particularly ironic as all my subjects and I are complete strangers in a foreign land.”
The series is Oleg’s follow up to Who’s Driving You, an contemplation of the night-time world of black cab drivers which was awarded a finalist position in the LensCulture Street Photography Awards last year.