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Photography Etiquette in the Developing World Discussion

Photography Etiquette in the Developing World Discussion
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Sometimes I write a post that seems to hit a nerve. Last week I shared my best advice for photography in the developing world.


It’s not easy, we all want to capture every moment of the incredible sights and sounds we are awash in. Yet we want (or should want) to be respectful of the locals.

The post generated such amazing comments and advice, I wanted to share them with all of you.

The best advice came from Petit World Citizen and was echoed by my friend Joann McKinney of The Rwanda Project.

She advised: “When possible, what I often did when traveling and taking photos in the developing world was to also bring a Poloroid camera. For a bit of reciprocity, before taking photos I’d ask for permission, promising to not only take photos for myself, but also for them. As you said, many in the developing world have never seen themselves in a picture so you can imagine their delight when, after receiving an actual Poloroid picture of themselves, that they could keep the picture. Mostly they were happy to have photos of their children. I also got great photographs I could keep and it was a win-win situation. Thanks for addressing this important topic!”

The children who have been learning photography through The Rwanda Project, Through the Eyes of Children all carry Polaroid cameras with them. They offer to give the person a photo in return for allowing themselves to be photographed. Sometimes they also travel with a small printer and print the photos and return with them the next day.


Simply brilliant




The other comments I found intriguing were from readers who had traveled to China and been on the other end of the camera; being photographed without being asked first. Many readers were also curious exactly how to ask for permission to photograph someone. I love the idea of offering to give a photo to take a photo, it’s so gracious and thoughtful. So many living in the developing world don’t have photos of themselves, what an extraordinary gift.

Do you write about travel? Do you use photos, especially Instagram to tell your story? Share your blog post on our Instagram Travel Linky. And please, continue to discuss. I’m buying a pocket printer for my next trip. Any great suggestions for a good one?



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