This paper explores the connections between travel; heritage and photography. It suggests that the increasingly restless and expanding audience for heritage is directed by a yearning for closeness. The heritage tourist is driven by the perception that what is longed for is not to be found in the immediate surroundings; indeed the heritage industry feeds on the fact of distance and the promise of proximity. And yet; as anyone will discern who has travelled toexperience treasures from the past at close hand; the restrictions installed in-situ as protection ‚Äď restricted access; barriers; prohibition to touch or even photograph the object in question ‚Äď re-enact the delays of travel itself. The longing to be close is denied by distance; on the other hand without this distance played out in space and time; the old would be all too familiar to be desired. Using as a case-study the photographic documentation of Venice by the English writer and traveller John Ruskin; the paper speculates on how photography; since its emergence as a new technology in the first part of nineteenth century; has been implicated in generating this desire for the old.