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Thread: The other side.

  1. #1
    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    The other side.

    An interesting view of tourists with cameras meeting indigenous people:

    Hathos Alert The Dish

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: The other side.

    Unfortunately, many tourists from "civilized" societies behave like ignorant fools when they visit what they look upon as less developed parts of the world. They don't care to learn the language, don't attempt to have a civilized conversation with the locals, are uninformed about local traditions and take photos of people and homes that they would never dream about taking within their own societies. Mostly, they only spend a couple of hours, sometimes just a few minutes, at each "exotic" place, throwing a few coins to the natives when leaving.

    Modern technology and transportation methods have made it possible for anybody with money to visit more or less any hidden spot on earth. Sadly, most people have little respect for other cultures than their own.
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    Senior Member Elderly's Avatar
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    Re: The other side.

    I went to Ethiopia a couple of years back and travelled down south in order that one of my travelling companions could try and see a VERY rare bird.
    On the way down it would have been crazy not to have visited the areas in the Omo valley which were soon to be flooded for ever by the enormous Chinese hydro-electric scheme.

    The four of us were taken by our guide to visit the 'tribes'.
    I had NO interest at all in taking their photographs but I was literally inundated by the villagers fighting with each other to pose for me for a tiny set fee dependent on the sex and age of each person (also making up large groups).
    Not even our Ethiopian guide was able to communicate with them directly, it had to be done through a village 'interpreter'.
    I could have acquiesced, taken their posed photographs and given them their tiny set fee,
    but as an alternative I offered to pay to the whole village what would have been for them an ENORMOUS sum of money just to leave me alone and allow me to wonder round to be able to photograph maybe the odd bit of fence, bit of thatched roof, fallen banana leaf etc. etc.
    But the village interpreter said that they had tried that and the people would then argue ferociously amongst themselves that I had say photographed a landscape that had five distant chickens in it and whose chickens were they? and the person who owned three of the chickens should get more of the 'pot' than the other two people who owned one chicken each.
    Ian.
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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: The other side.

    I have made my own set of rules. Apart from taking general village scenes, if there's a person or more who looks like an interesting candidate for a portrait, I have a chat with that person in whatever language we have in common, using an interpreter if necessary, buy a couple of items from him, her or her uncle. Then I take photos. The process might take anything from 5 minutes to a day, and it makes travelling so much more enjoyable. Here's a girl who sold me a miniature brass elephant for $2 after some haggling with here aunt. I talked the price up from $1 under the condition that I was allowed one photo*



    Mostly, I try to spend at least two days at the same location, not taking photos at all the first day, so that I get to know the mood of the place. If the place and the people there isn't worth 48 hours of my life, I should question the purpose of my travellings and if it's worth taking a camera to the places that I go.
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