Sharing Mobile, Portable and Personal Travel Stories

From "I was there" to "I was there"

  • Gerda Cammaer
Keywords: travel, tourism, tourist gaze, home movies, mobile media, digital media, Baby boomers, Millennials


The purpose of this article is to offer a preliminary exploration of the similarities and differences between historical and contemporary travelogue practices of tourists by comparing some aspects of the travel behaviour and film culture of two generations, the boomers and the millennials. It focuses, in particular, on how amateur travel films have evolved stylistically and conceptually since the era when they were shot on small analogue film cameras (8mm and Super-8mm film) to recent videos of the “genre” shot on small, portable digital cameras and android devices. By comparing the travel films of these two generations, this article explores the ways in which mobile media has reinvigorated questions about the formation and proliferation of the tourist gaze. It also discusses how amateur travel films offer an alternative to hegemonic forms in film by demonstrating techniques and practices used by amateur filmmakers that are discouraged by professionals of the corporate media. Lastly, it explores how sharing travel stories is different now that the notion of community is at the heart of the internet, and home movies are not just for the home anymore.

Author Biography

Gerda Cammaer

Gerda Cammaer has degrees in Communication Studies, Film Studies and Film Production. Both as a maker, curator and scholar she specializes in experimental and documentary film. After her Ph.D. thesis (completed in 2010), a research-creation project about the so-called “death of film” and the importance of experimental film practices in times of accelerated technological changes, she directed her attention to various forms of ephemeral cinema and forgotten film histories. She co-edited a book titled Cinephemera: Archives, Ephemeral Cinema, and New Screen Histories in Canada (McGill University Press, Fall 2014). Her current research focuses on the revival of microcinema—various low-budget independent short films inspired by the creative possibilities of new moving image technology—and their lineage with historical non-mainstream films and videos. Her fascination for the history and practice of home movies makes her an avid student of how consumer friendly technology and mobile devices challenge the expectations and definitions of documentary film, and how they contribute to the “demythologizing” of the filmmaking process in general. Gerda is Associate Professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, where she teaches in Film Studies (BA), Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management (MA) and in Documentary Media (MFA).

How to Cite
Cammaer, G. (2015). Sharing Mobile, Portable and Personal Travel Stories: From "I was there" to "I was there". The Journal of Creative Technologies, (5). Retrieved from