There is perhaps nothing more captivating and photogenic than the developing world. The yearn to capture it all is intense, the sights,the sounds, the smells, the teeming life in front of you.
As tempting as it is to whip out our cameras and document every moment, is it right? Doesn’t everyone deserve the dignity of being asked before you snap their photo?
Ask yourself why you want to take the picture
Are you telling a story or are you invading someone’s privacy? This photo tells a story that no amount of writing ever could.
Are you using your camera as a way to build a bridge? I have found that my camera can be the quickest way to overcome a language barrier. Many of the children in poverty stricken communities don’t get a chance to see themselves often. After I ask if I can photograph them, I always show them their photo, I love the poses they choose and the delight in their faces when they see themselves. I have no idea what this pose is, but he thought it was awesome.
Are you a drive by shooter? Imagine someone driving past your home and photographing your children as they play. Would it chip away at your dignity? How would you feel about the person who did it? This photo was taken in a cholera clinic shortly after the cholera outbreak. I asked, but somehow looking at it now, I feel like I still invaded her privacy.
What are your rules for travel photography? How do you balance preserving the dignity of your subject with telling the story?
Someone (I think my darling daughter) took this photo of me without asking. It tells a great story. Notice the ear plugs to keep out the music of the all night disco on the streets below, the head lamp on my baseball camp because power is out every night in the poor part of town, the air mattress on the cement floor and of course an iPad because I need to read to fall asleep. Since it’s on my camera and I’m choosing to share it, I don’t mind. I would feel differently if some tourist was sharing it as part of their “I saw the poor people” vacation album.
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Link to a new Instagram travel post and use the permalink of your post, not the homepage URL.
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