I wonder, do you think that seeing all these photos means we have less awe when we actually go there? Or do they just prime our appetite for the real thing, like food photos?
I take a lot of landscape photos when I travel, partly because I enjoy photography but also because it helps me remember the good stuff. Without photos, I think I tend to remember more of the bad stuff: how long it took to get there, how many annoying tourists there were all over the place, how cold it was, how hungry I was, etc. But when I look at a photo, I remember the good stuff.
For example, here's a photo I took of Gullfoss in Iceland. Just out of frame there were throngs of annoying tourists all jockeying to get a better look at the waterfall. I had driven a huge lumbering RV up narrow winding roads for hours to get there and had hated every minute of that drive. I was a little worried about being able to make it to our campsite before dusk that evening.
But when I look at this photo, I remember the awesome sound of the waterfall and the cold pinpricks of mist on my face and how it seemed like there were rainbows everywhere I looked and how the light that day was some of the most beautiful I had ever seen.
I saw lots of photos of Gullfoss while planning the trip, but they all fell out of my head the instant I got there. Now what I remember is what I saw and heard and felt, and every time I look at my photos from that day these memories come rushing back in a far more visceral way than when I see a photo someone else took of Gullfoss, even if it's a better photo than any of mine.
I think that's reason enough to go somewhere myself, no matter how many photos I've seen of the place.