While aimlessly meandering the web yesterday, I came across Touris.ms and immediately lost hours of productivity.

I’ll be the first to come clean: I’ve never actually read a guidebook. I’ve owned a few and obligatorily toted them around with me in unfamiliar cities. Occasionally, I’ve pulled one out to grab an address or squish a bug or something, but as far as actually reading them goes?

Pass.

I’ve never once agreed with any mass-produced guidebook’s restaurant reviews and, while it’s worthwhile to have a handy list of nearby sights, I rather enjoy visiting sites without having first read about what a “hidden gem” they are.

Touris.ms photographic tour guides, on the other hand, are much more my style. Stripped down to the point where they don’t even include a full sentence, these destination guides put the intangibles of a place in the spotlight. Separated into “My Place,” photo essays about the photographer’s home, and “Your Place,” photo essays compiled by photographers on holiday, the guides found here capture an energy that you’re not likely to find in a Frommer’s.

My favorite locale featured on Touris.ms is this guide to California by João Biscaia, which features unusually desolate photographs of my home state, including a few from my current neck of the woods in the Eastern Sierra.

Check out the guides for yourself and if you’re interested in contributing, visit their Flickr photo pool.

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