Oliver Curtis landscape photography
Taj Mahal, Agra, IndiaOliver Curtis

Every time we go on holiday there is the desperation to get the quintessential shot that will be different to everyone's photograph of the Statue of Liberty, Taj Mahal, Mona Lisa, and the list goes on. Problem is, they all end up looking similar, unless you follow the style of photographer Oliver Curtis who has, literally, turned his back on the traditional view of the world's most famous tourist attractions and created a totally new set of images.

After visiting the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo in 2012, Curtis decided to turn his back on the iconic structures and photograph what was behind him and he liked what he saw. Fascinated by the results, he then spent four years travelling the world and turning his back on the most photographed monuments in the world to capture the minutiae of life, from strangers milling about in the dust behind the Hollywood sign to the stream of memorabilia peddled near the Roman Colosseum.

Oliver Curtis landscape photography
Collosseum, Rome, ItalyOliver Curtis

In his forthcoming exhibition 'Volte-face' Curtis will present his images together, and succeeding in what most of us fail at and provide totally refreshing holiday photographs essentially. "I found this visual sandwich of contrasting colour, texture and form intriguing... because of the oddness of my position; standing at one of the great wonders of the world facing the 'wrong' way," Curtis said about his work.

Taken over a period of four years, Volte-face, which means to turn around in the opposite direction, is an invitation to see the over-photographed sites of the world from a new perspective. To see the simple in the extraordinary.

Oliver Curtis landscape photography
Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan, MexicoOliver Curtis

Whilst the likes of the Lincoln Memorial and Mexico's Pyramids of the Sun are awe-inspiring and breathtaking, Curtis' images are the opposite. Mundane is probably the best way to describe each scene, but the dichotomy between the traditional subject and his own work is startling and original. Of course, not everyone is going to want to Instagram a picture of the debris behind the Great Wall of China but they provide a wonderful alternative backdrop rich with insight.

Oliver Curtis landscape photography
Great Wall of China, Mutianyu, ChinaOliver Curtis

Speaking about his first visit to Giza, Curtis remembers the moment that sparked his visual discovery: "After walking around the base of the tomb I found myself looking back out in the direction I had arrived from, with the pyramid behind me. Then, in the mid-distance I saw a newly constructed golf course, its fairways an intense green under the late morning sun. I found this visual sandwich of contrasting colour, texture and form intriguing not simply for the photograph it made but also because of the oddness of my position; standing at one of the great wonders of the world facing the 'wrong' way."

oliver Curtis
Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, EgyptOliver Curtis

Whilst it might not make all of us turn our back on The White House next time we are visiting, it is a welcome change to the ten million badly-taken snaps of the Mona Lisa and Vatican that normally clog up social media feeds.

Scroll down to see more of Oliver Curtis' Volte-face series:

oliver Curtis
Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles, USAOliver Curtis
oliver Curtis
Parthenon, Athens, GreeceOliver Curtis
oliver Curtis
Cell 5, Block B, Robben Island, South AfricaOliver Curtis
oliver Curtis
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, SpainOliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis landscape photography
The White House, Washington DC, USAOliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis landscape photography
Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UKOliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis landscape photography
Lincoln MemorialOliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis landscape photography
Wailing Wall, Jerusalem, IsraelOliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis landscape photography
St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, VaticanOliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis landscape photography
Statue of Liberty, New York, USAOliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis landscape photography
Ministry of Internal Affairs, Bucharest, RomaniaOliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis landscape photography
Christ the Redeemer statue, Rio de JanieroOliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis landscape photography
Reichstag, Berlin, Germany Oliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis landscape photography
The Mona LisaOliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis landscape photography
Mao Mausoleum, Beijing, ChinaOliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis landscape photography
Lenin's Tomb, Moscow, RussiaOliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis landscape photography
North Korean JSA, DMZ, Panmunjeon, KoreaOliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis landscape photography
Buckingham Palace, UKOliver Curtis
Oliver Curtis landscape photography
Arbeit Macht Frei Gates, Auschwitz, PolandOliver Curtis

Oliver Curtis' 'Volte-face' exhibition opens from Mon 19 September - Friday 14 October, 2016 at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR.