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Photography and memorable Pictures

During a camping trip to Kenya and Tanzania, photography was an issue throughout the trip. As a tour guide, I noticed from the beginning that everyone took a lot of pictures. Especially during the long trips by truck, there was a lot of photography: the passers-by, the cottages along the road, the markets, cheering schoolchildren, everything was interesting to take pictures of. It was as if my first briefing had disappeared from memory. Here I talked about taking pictures: never just take pictures without asking permission from the people you photograph. Especially tribes like the Maasai and the Samburu don’t like it if you take pictures without asking. Throwing stones at tourist vans are proof of this. It is therefore certainly important to take these opinions to heart. When we came with the truck in the area of the Turkana and Samburu tribes, I therefore repeated that you should not take pictures from the truck. One of the holidaymakers didn’t listen and refused to stop taking pictures. His arguments were that he had paid a lot of money for this trip and therefore found it ridiculous that he was not allowed to take pictures of everything. According to him, Kenya was not a free country. It wasn’t good enough for him to take pictures in the Samburu and Maasai villages we went to visit along the way. He wanted to go his own way and did not listen to the tour guide. The driver, Tanzanian, and the cook, Kenyan, repeatedly pointed out to me that people were taking pictures in places where they really couldn’t. Although I kept repeating not to take pictures out of the truck, it was difficult to convince the people in the group of this. When we bought wood from the Turkana tribe just before Samburu National Park, pictures were taken of the children, who in turn asked for money. Wherever we stopped, people from the group handed out money and sweets in exchange for photos. Not really a desired situation, because there was hardly any contact, it was only about the pictures on the one hand and the money on the other.

Tourists see their journey less through their own eyes than through the lens of the camera. Real experience, feeling and smelling is often not there, everything has to be captured in the photo and the film, that is important. This experience proves that photography can be a tricky subject on a long journey.

  •  Many tourists want to take as many photos as possible on holiday. This is not always appreciated by the locals. So always ask permission before taking a photo. In some places and times it is not even appropriate to take pictures at all. Think of religious processions and ceremonies, bathing people and army objects. Several indigenous peoples believe that taking a picture takes away their souls. Others wish to receive money for taking a photo. Be respectful of this and don’t take a picture without permission.
  • Take photos from home with you. People you meet during your trip love watching you live at home and who your family is. This is really cultural interaction!
  • If you take pictures of the people you meet, you will sometimes be asked to send them. Don’t promise anything if you can’t make it happen.
  • Ask yourself why it is important for you to take a photo in that moment.
  • For whom are you taking it?
  • What do you show in the picture and what do you want to express with it?
  • Don’t reproduce stigmas through photos or videos. Have an understanding of uneven social power relations and do not emphasise such in your pictures.
  • Do not publish anything without the consent of the person pictured.
  • Enjoy the moment ! Not everything needs to be captured in a jpg.

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