Traveling for the arts is not as old as the hills, but it comes close. From the 18th century onwards, Northern European artists went to Italy for a Grand Tour to see and study the remains of classical antiquity with their own eyes.
Half a century later, the photo camera was invented. In the 19th century cameras were huge devices, making it more practical for travelers to buy prints of photographs of the sites they visited, rather than taking pictures themselves. Such pictures usually depicted tourist attractions such as the Pyramid of Cheops, the Partenon or a Japanese tea ceremony.
The turning point to a more documentary-like travelogue is in the 1930s when the US government sent Walker Evans out to capture life in remote villages in the Southern states. For his book The Americans, Robert Frank photographed the people he met during his road trip through the US and their immediate surroundings in the late 1950s. Ten years after Ed van der Elsken applied Frank's concept to the entire world in Sweet Life.
Traveling became accessible to many and the cameras gradually became so small that they could fit into a mobile phone, allowing everyone to take pictures anywhere and directly. Yet the days of the professional photographer aren't over. Contemporary photographers such as Robin de Puy and Ruben Terlou work in the tradition of Evans and Frank and have a keen eye for people and their environment. A tradition that was further explored by Michael Wolf who paid attention to the living conditions in metropolises such as Hong Kong and Tokyo.