Independent stock photo agency, Alamy, has the largest collection of images online. Here, the company provides its inaugural list of the top ten most photographed buildings across the world. And, there are some surprising results.
Eiffel Tower (Paris) – currently 15,536 images on the Alamy website. No visit to Paris is complete without a trip to the world-famous Eiffel Tower and every visual of France is likely to include an image of the monument. The Eiffel Tower also has romantic connotations – from proposals to romantic weekends away. Unsurprisingly it is top of the list.
Big Ben (London) – currently 14,896 images on the Alamy website. From the world’s most visited city, Big Ben is sure to appear on nearly every London tourist postcard.
Empire State Building (New York) – currently 13,637 images on the Alamy website. The world’s second most visited city’s famous building, stands at 1454ft. Getting a close up just isn’t possible!
London Eye (London) – currently 12,734 images on the Alamy website. A surprisingly high entry on the list, which is dominated by traditional buildings. The London Eye opened in 1999, but already its image is embedded in the London skyline.
Statue of Liberty (New York) – currently 9,573 images on the Alamy website. We can all recall images of this monument standing tall where the East and Hudson rivers converge, with the famous New York skyline as its backdrop.
Great Wall of China (China) – currently 8,907 images on the Alamy website. Given China’s growing strength as a world economy and an increasingly popular tourist destination, are we going to see this creep up the list again next year?
Taj Mahal (India) – currently 8,544 images on the Alamy website. The finest example of Mughal architecture, the Taj Mahal became a World Heritage Site in 1983. We suspect it will follow in the footsteps of the Great Wall of China and become an even more popular building to photograph in the years to come. India is growing as an accessible destination and the structure of the buildings and composition of the landscape is a godsend to photographers
Notre Dame Cathedral (Paris) – currently 8,185 images on the Alamy website. Another famous monument of the Paris skyline, and widely considered as one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture.
Brooklyn Bridge (New York) – currently 7,990 images on the Alamy website. One of the oldest suspension brides in the United States, which was completed in 1883, and spans the East River. However, a surprising entry on this list.
Sydney Opera House (Sydney) – currently 7,848 images on the Alamy website. No image of Australia is complete without a picture of its world-famous opera house, which was conceived and built by a Danish architect in 1973. One would have thought this would appear higher on the list.
Commenting on the top ten most photographed buildings, Alan Capel, Head of Content at Alamy, 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, but 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, 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.”
A representative from Lonely Planet Images which supplies Alamy added: “Digital photography and high quality cameras have revolutionised our attitude to taking photographs. Where once we would send a postcard (with a picture of an iconic building on), now we’re creating our own postcards.
“The world is becoming more accessible and with it more visual, as we share our photographs with the online communities. You don’t need to leave your house in order to see exotic landscapes, festivals, and insights into other cultures.
“Professional travel photographers have had to step up their game, and now work even harder to get unique imagery.”