Testing Out an Insane Photoshop Hack to Get Rid of Tourists

Dana Schwartz
Dana Schwartz / Dana Schwartz

On January 16, Reddit user OmerRAnderson posted a tip from Imgur about how to delete the pesky tourists from travel photos. According to the instructions, the first step is to set up your camera on a tripod in front of the historical or scenic site you want to capture and then take about 15 photographs, one every ten seconds or so:


Two problems here. First: I don’t have a tripod. Or a real camera for that matter. My photographs are all taken on my iPhone and at an angle where I can take a selfie with good lighting. Second problem: I’m not on an exotic vacation in Greece. So, instead of attempting to take a perfect picture of crumbling columns that represent the birth of humanity’s philosophical current, I settled on a bodega on Graham Avenue in Brooklyn, sans tripod. (Who brings a tripod with them on vacation anyway?)

Although the place wasn’t crawling with tourists eagerly taking pictures of a sign advertising egg and cheese sandwiches, there was a relatively good amount of foot traffic and plenty of cars going past. I was excited to see whether Photoshop would make good on the promise to show me what the area would look like if there were no cool coffee shops or vape/tattoo parlors to lure Brooklynites out from beneath their Urban Outfitter duvets.

Some notable, thrilling highlights from the four minutes I stood outside:

Hello biker!

After taking 16 pictures (one extra just for good measure), I borrowed a friend's laptop and got to work on Photoshop, following the directions listed on Imgur. File, Statistics, Median, and then selecting pictures—just like the suspiciously easy directions told me to!

Hm. Alright. The final product:

So, here’s the rub: The premise is sound but make no mistake, you do in fact need either a tripod or a surgeon’s steady hand. Unless you’re a fan of impressionist brushstrokes, in which case feel free to print out and frame the above photograph composite, entitled Bodega In the Afternoon.