UnSeen

In News & Stuff, Pep Talks, Rants and Sermons, Travel by David71 Comments

I just walked through the door a couple hours ago, sifted through the pile of mail and stuff that builds up over a 5 week+ absence. Tomorrow I’m on a plane again. Feeling a little rough around the edges!

The images above and below are two I shot in Kathmandu while feeling I was having a hard time seeing things. The man in the top image was blind and sat there each morning, statue-like, hoping for alms. The contrast between being both unseeing and unseen struck me. This man kept me conscious of people being unseen, and it might have been that that made me both angry and saddened by the tourists and photographers I saw on this trip.

We teach our students to engage people wherever possible, to create images that have some context of relationship, and to give subjects the chance to say “No.” I think this is just basic respect and the recognition that others are no less human for the fact that they live elsewhere or wear different clothes. So why do I see over and over and over and over again the tourists with cameras who act like they’re at the zoo? I see it so often it makes me furious. They walk around, checking things off on their mental checklist as though to merely have looked at it is to have experienced it. They have vacant eyes, raise cameras at people without ever really seeing them, and they move on without so much as a handshake, a cup of chai, or a Namaste. Hell, not even a nod or eye contact. It’s not even the zoo, it’s worse. At least people interact with the monkeys.

Perhaps that’s the reason I shot so little work with people, I think I’m just way more sensitive to the issue right now. But man, some days my camera made me very uncomfortable on this trip. Sometimes it stops us from really seeing people, really enjoying a place.

When I expressed my difficulties on this trip, a number of wise voices reminded me to take a step back and just relax. Great advice. We all photograph for different reasons, but I want my photography to enhance my life, not to be a substitute for it. And I want my images to be more than a record of what was there, but what I experienced and truly saw.


Anyways, I’m rambling. I wanted to drop a line and say hello, let y’all know I’m home. A little ragged, but man is it nice to be home again, if only briefly. In the past I’ve posted things that my jet-lag-addled brain has come up with and it’s always been a bad idea, so I’m stopping now. Glad to be home, thank you all for the kind words and concerned emails. 🙂

Comments

  1. Pingback: I Love New York | JWNPhoto

  2. Barbara ~ Did you interpret the man’s gesture correctly? There is a “head bobble” or side to side wag that is popularized by Indians… Nepalis also tend to do this. In Nepali culture shaking your head from side to side means “yes” while shaking your head up and down means “no” (the opposite to Western culture). But I am pretty sure you were there long enough to know this. 🙂

  3. Author

    Hey Eliora (smartest, cutest, girl-child on the planet!)

    Yes, some people do that. There is a tradition in photography of making photographs of daily life on the streets called “candid” or “street” photography. In the best cases it helps say something about daily life in a particular time and place, and often people – even strangers – are part of those photographs.

    It’s a tricky situation because sometimes people don’t want to be in those photographs, but then if you ask them it changes the scene and is no longer as honest or as real. So photographers for a long time have been wrestling with how to create honest images that also respect the rights, feelings, and dignity of the people that appear in those photographs.

    If you look through my photographs there are many where I have asked people if I could make the photograph, but there are also many where I did not. It just depends on the situation. And in some places, like France, it’s not even legal to make photographs of people without their permission.

    Thanks for asking! I’ve got a little something coming to you from Nepal, so keep an eye on the mailbox (I haven’t mailed it yet, so don’t keep too close an eye on the mailbox! 🙂 )

  4. Hi David! I just had a question for you about photography. do some photographers take pictures of people and some times don’t tell them? Because, there was a man when mom, Elijah and I where on vacation, we where walking on a bridge. There was a man in front of us and he had a photographer’s camera. at the end of the bridge he started lining up his camera at us and taking pictures. Just wondering! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Bananas: Very fresh « Dinesh Hegde's Blog

  6. As always, David, thoughtful advice that transcends photography (as important as we believe that craft to be). I enjoy the way you broaden the discussion in ways that embrace a more holistic, humane framework…which, if we are disciplined (and perhaps a little lucky), can improve our photographic work.

    Really a joy to encounter your work and ideas here.

    Cheers from Chicago.

  7. I am happy to see this discussion regain some balance in some of the comments, ’cause one of the unflattering tendancies of ‘pros’, instructors and aspiring photographers is to look down on ‘mere tourists’ as not ‘getting it’. This kind of elitism and condescension is unecessary, unhelpful and unhealthy. David is an inspiration in most things he does and says, but as one earlier commenter noted, it is too bad that his philosophy of ‘seeing the humannity’ can not be applied to all, including the co-called ‘ignorant tourists’.

    Keep up the good work otherwise.

  8. David,
    Your images and words reflect your compassion and love for humanity. Continue to light the path for others.
    Safe travels.

  9. Pingback: Being, seeing and feeling « Dejar de imaginar

  10. Thanks you for bringing us back to the center. There are times when we need to quiken the apeture of our minds and perspectives, and times when we need to slow it down. One is not better than the other, it just helps us to see, or re-see things, so we can experience and share them. Thanks!

  11. If this is what you capture after “not seeing”, I should be so lucky. The pictures resonate with me. Perhaps its what my heart tries to capture. The “passer-by” feeling while the beggars long for someone to share a moment with him is good for all of us to remember – whether a photographer or not. People matter! Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Inspirational, a true lesson.
    Thank you for taking the time to post this, and above all for having seen them. They weren’t lonely there. Namaste David.
    Safe journey

  13. enjoyed your post – it so true
    but isn’t standard in our modern world where people have grown up with TV ; they are often like detached observers with a high barrier for becoming emotionally involved with any person around them .
    hiding behind a camera is even making the barrier bigger

  14. David, I don’t think we differ at all actually, I completely agree with what you said.
    What I was trying to point out is that, at a certain level, photography and especially people photography makes “use” of “subjects”, even when it’s done with acceptance and in a respectful way. Ideally it should be a win-win, but most times, I believe it’s the photographer who gains more from it than the person who is being photographed.

  15. David – excellent post; while I totally agree, I have to ask – Why are you surprised? In a world where a huge source of entertainment is staring at a screen and watching someone else’s “life”, is it so surprising that people would treat each other as a show put on for their amusement? Being somewhat cynical, I don’t really see this changing until more people decide to live life rather than watch it; and understand the far greater benefits that come with human interaction. But I love that you’re talking about it, and challenging us to think about our behavior. Who knows where that might lead!

    BTW – have you ever read Bob Krist’s “Spirit of Place – The Art of the Traveling Photographer”? He makes some excellent and similar points.

  16. Author

    Dumitru – Wanted to also say thank you for the reminder of Paul Stand’s work. I went looking when you referenced him and found this quote:

    “Your photography is a record of your living–for anyone who really sees. You may see and be affected by other people’s ways, you may even use them to find your own, but you will have to eventually free yourself from them.” – Paul Strand

  17. Author

    Dumitru – Thanks for the comment. In terms of making art, I agree, the results alone are what we need to judge. However, if being a great artist had to come at the expense of being a great human being, I’d happily sacrifice the art. I think art made through ugly means is ugly art, and while that makes me something of an idealist, even naive, I prefer the respectful and kind approach. I know it means I will lose some opportunities to create amazing photographs, but if that comes at the expense of creating amazing encounters and human moments, then I’d rather take the latter. If it were a preference of art or love, I’d chose love. I don’t think the two have to be mutually exclusive of course, but I think we differ on the macchiavelian approach. 🙂

  18. David,

    Thank-you so much for your frank and honest posts. I subscribe to a number of photography feeds, but your’s is completely unique and incredibly moving. It helps so much in developing the ethic and motivation for the pictures I take.

    Technique of photography can be found anywhere. It is your posts that help make the photographer.

    Best wishes,
    Matt

  19. Hi David,

    Your post made me smile, I was upset for the same reason while in Havana a couple months back.
    However, I don’t think we should be discussing the approach and the results at the same time.
    People photography is a kind of intrusion, voyeurism even. It can be done gently or disrespectful, but it is what it is.
    However, the results alone are the ones who determine if it’s worth it or not.
    Your photo reminded me of Paul Strand’s “Blind Woman”. A stronger photo, with a very brutal message.
    Lots of questions can pop to mind, but then again, that’s the purpose of a strong photo…
    Hang in there

  20. Both images are extremely beautiful! I love the tone you processed these with. It seems to add to the measure of the moment. I also love the ghosting caused by the long exposures. The movement of a world turning…
    I definitely “get it” about the clicking w/o seeing. my favorite statement from your post is this…
    “… I want my images to be more than a record of what was there, but what I experienced and truly saw.” .. as do I. When I look back on the pictures I shot last year, or five years ago, I want to be able to know the what and the why … to remember the feeling of exhilaration I felt when looking at whatever it was that I wanted to capture it forever. I shoot it to remember all aspects of what I was doing in that moment, in that one little slice of time, that made me realize “this ” was something I wanted to capture, so I could relive it long after I was no longer in it’s presence… whatever “it” is… a person of interest, be it a portrait or a candid, a beautiful flower, a magnificent sunset… Sometimes I just shoot the moon, even though I have many pictures of the moon, I shoot it because it calms my mind to just stare at this fabulous source of light, that I know was created by God.
    Thanks for sharing your travels, and have a safe trip!

  21. I was in Kathmandu in 2001 and wanted very much to photograph an elderly man on the street – interesting face and dress. I held up my camera and gestured to ask “ok to take your photo?” He shook his head no, so I smiled, said “namaste”,and climbed onto our group’s waiting mini van. As other members of our group came onto the van, we chatted and laughed and waited for the others. After a few minutes, I glanced out my window and there was the man. He put his hands together, raised them to his forehead and smiled at me. That small gesture, that momentary connection means more to me than any photograph ever could.

  22. I completely agree that people should be treated with respect no matter what you are doing, but especially if you want to photograph them.

    The bit of your entry that resonated most with my owns feelings was this sentence: “They walk around, checking things off on their mental checklist as though to merely have looked at it is to have experienced it.”

    I went on a trip a few months ago and found all the tourists taking photos pretty annoying simply because they were more concerned with snapping a photo than actually *being* where they were. I actually watched several people take a photo of painting in a gallery and then move straight on to the next one. They spent most of their time looking at it on their camera’s little LCD screen.

    This approach was taken with nearly every subject that these type of tourists (and I acknowledge that not every tourist behaves this way, but there were a lot of them!) photographed and often while being completely oblivious of the other people around them. People pushed and shoved one another to get a shot. Some even held their cameras right in front of my face to get a photo, as though I didn’t exist or my ability to see what I was looking at was totally unimportant. Most people ignored me if I politely said ‘excuse me’.

    So many people engage in this sort of checklist travel where they run to the handful of places in a city (or even a country) that are famous, snap a quick photo without really experiencing the place, and then hop back on the plane. For those of us privileged enough to be able to travel, we should be using it as a way to really explore and be in a place, to learn about the people and their culture. We could do so much to break down the cultural stereotypes and see where other people are coming from if more of us really tried to *see* the places we visit and the people that live in them.

    Beautiful photos, by the way! What you said about being unseen and unseeing is very poignant. Thanks for sharing…

  23. I just spent a long weekend in NYC – my first time there. A place to watch all kinds of people do all kinds of things.

    Sometimes, my camera was a huge weight. There was so much coming at me that I couldn’t even process it fast enough to shoot it.

    I took a lot of photos but not anywhere near as many as I normally would. I wanted to absorb the city through my pores. Sometimes, to do that, you need to put the camera back in the bag and trust that there will be another time. And if not, so be it.

  24. There is nothing wrong with being sensitive to other people being infringed upon by photographers. Being sensitive to the rights of others, regardless of the circumstances they live in, is important. It is one of the issues that prevents me from walking up and making portraits of strangers. There seems nothing wrong with meeting and interacting with new people, but bringing the element of a camera into the conversation can somehow be selfish to me. Who benefits from making these images? On the other hand, photographing candid images of people interacting with life is less intruisve, than bothering people to pose for portrait style images. I have always had trouble as a photographer with the latter.

    I think perhaps after making many images we learn a lot about ourselves and our feelings. Perhaps you have felt a regret for somehow interfering with people lives to make images. Raising a camera does change the nature of a conversation and interaction. I agree it is important to just enjoy the moment sometimes instead of making images.

    Good luck David, glad to hear your honesty and stuggles as these are all real to many photographers.

  25. Isn’t it all about respect? The latin word “re-spicere” means: look again, take a second look – before judging or knowing it all – and then you can become aware of things/people/emotions/colors/ideas etc. you didn’t notice before. And if respect meets photography we get pictures like those two. Wow.

    @ron carroll: thank you for your great comment.

    @David: you are an exceptionally teacher, and the best teachers are those who know that they are still on their way …. thanks for sharing.

  26. powerful words and images, and i absolutely love how the long exposure conveys so much.

  27. I love that first photo because his gesture reminds me of someone who’s frustratedly talking about and lamenting the very thing you discuss in this post.

  28. “I want my photography to enhance my life, not to be a substitute for it. And I want my images to be more than a record of what was there, but what I experienced and truly saw.”

    In the vernacular of 80’s rap, Word.

    Though, I mostly agree with you about asking permission, I believe in the public space, and street photography.

  29. I live in Dubai.. while my surroundings do not resemble a village, I am always amazed at the tourists who step on and off buses and snap their picture on their check list and get back on.. I observe them and want to feature this interesting phenomenon/behavior that I do not understand..however, I hesitate for that same reason.b/c then would that be hypocritical.. anyway, lovely images! and totally agree with you! – And even if at a zoo with animals, I would feel the same! – not just in regards to people!

  30. Point taken. I imagine I would be bothered as well if I witnessed what you saw. You’ve travelled internationally and photographed cultures extensively, and I have no doubt it was as bad as you say it was. I just needed a little clarification on the boundaries you were talking about.
    Anyway, glad you were able to drop the camera, take a breath, and realize where you were instead of over focusing on getting the perfect image. You’re very lucky to be able to travel to these places, let alone have the oppourtunity and talent to take back images like the two you have posted. Take care.

  31. David, loved your latest post. The picture of the blind man was like poetry. Compact, saying a lot. In today’s hectic world more and more people are “seen but unseen.”

    I admire your ability to function on your schedule.

  32. Author

    Ron, you’re right. Your comments often balance me, and I’m grateful for not only what you say but how you say it.

    So this is my Mea Culpa. There’s a great deal of interpretation and assumption on my part, and sometimes I wonder if I’m just seeing what looks like an ugly version of me in the behavior that makes me so angry. But it’s more than that, I think. It’s because I am learning to see people – in this case Nepalis – with wider eyes and heart, and it hurts when others treat these people with such lack of kindness.

    Still, it seems to be the way I learn. I react more strongly than I ought to, only to find my balance later. I hope you’re right about us all being on the same path.

    Thank you for the kind reminder and call back to graciousness. It’s hypocritical of me to defend those very things in a way that is unkind and lacking mercy.

  33. Hi David. I remember you making similar comments about the tourists when we were in Leh. You make a lot of good points here, but I think you’re being a little hard on the “other tourists”. I think your statement up top — “…the recognition that others are no less human…” — applies to everyone, including those who annoy you. And the truth is, you ascribe motives to their actions (“vacant eyes” & “mental checklists”) when, in fact, none of us has any way of knowing what’s going on with others, unless we take the time to come to know them. If it’s truly making you “furious”, perhaps it’s time to step back and ask, Why?

    We’re all on the same path, we’re just at different places along that path, so I think it’s a good idea to cut other folks lots of slack. It’s called compassion. I know whenever I hold myself apart from others and somehow above them, I start feeling disconnected again, and that’s not a good place to be. Everyone’s just doing the best they know how to do. And it’s true, some people are more highly evolved than others.

    Humanitarian — syn. benevolent, merciful, kind, sympathetic.

  34. Wow…..such an odd mix of emotions this post caused…..
    sort of related; but perhaps only vaguely….

    I took a group of photographers with me during the “Scott Kelby worldwide photowalk” and came upon a lady painting flowers on a wall downtown. there was a rush to get to her and start photographing; but I stepped up to her ( she was a bit like “whats going on?” ) and I started by explaining who we were and what was going on- and ASKED if she would mind if we photographed her while she was creating her beautiful work ( post is here:
    http://photographicdesign.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/random-acts-of/
    anyway…the whole time we were photographing, I was asking her about what she was all about- and after- I thanked her for letting us be a part of her world for a minute. She felt better about having us there; and we felt like we got to know a beautiful person in return.
    After we moved off- I explained that as photographers, we leave something of ourselves behind when we take photos of our subjects…and it can be “good” or “Bad”….the choice is ours to make….but we always trade like this ; and we need to be aware of how what we do will influence future contact, or even their day by how WE act towards them!
    The worst thing , at least for me as a photographer, is to become distant from my subject- the more I learn from a place or someone- the more curious I get about them- and that leads to images with heart.
    always stay curious….and David, thank you for sharing what you saw….and I hope that it will be taken more for how you meant it; and less by how it was interpreted- because we all know ….some things are lost in translation….namaste

  35. Author

    Justin. Wow, a bit harsh, don’t you think? Re-read the post. I didn’t say my life was shitty because other photographers annoyed me. I like my life just fine. I was saying we could all use a little more love and kindness and respect and it would be nice if more of it came from our quarter. You’re defending the dignity of that blind man, as well as recognizing the harsh reality of his life, and that’s the same argument I’m making. So why the harsh words? Grab a cup of tea, relax. I appreciate your love, but I think it might be time to count to three before hitting the Submit button. 🙂

  36. I think that these two photographs are the best you have ever done. Your heart and soul are there, absolutley no words required – but please keep writing.

  37. this gripped me in a profound way David… “but I want my photography to enhance my life, not to be a substitute for it.”

    For so long the camera could be a shield, a cover, a hiding place in the open. Perhaps a substitute for real life. Time to rethink its’ potential.

  38. Dude, I love you. I really do. But you sound like a little whiny bitch in this post. Try living an hour as that poor blind man in your photo then try telling me how shitty your life is because other photographers annoy you. That blind man should be so lucky if that was the only problem he had that day.

    I say this because I love you. You’re a great guy.

  39. Author

    Duncan and Howard – Bear in mind I am reacting to certain events and things I’ve seen repeatedly. Street candids are one thing – and frankly it’s often more respectful not to interupt people and insist they engage in conversation, etc. What I am talking about, and what has my hackles raised is the act of walking up to someone, sticking a camera in their face and shooting as though they weren’t living, breathing people with thoughts, feelings, and dignity.

    This is about respect, not making prescriptive rules about how we do things.

    I think we’re on exactly the same page on this matter. As for not being offended by tourists, Howard, I think if you were treated the way I saw people treat the Nepalis on this trip, you’d absolutely be offended. Discreet and respectful candids are one thing but the aggressive predation I saw, and the way people treated Nepalis as some kind of theme park mascot, was unacceptable. I know people do it in ignorance, and my post wasn’t written to change those people, it was just an observation and a reminder to those of us who care.

  40. Been mulling this one over and completely agree with the sentiment but it didn’t sit entirely right with me. I think Howard above conveyed most of my thoughts quite well.

    Being disrespectful (with or without a camera) is one of the biggest sins, but being respectful doesn’t mean you have to neccesarily engage with everyone. It’s all about balance. I can’t believe everyone we want to take a photo of wants to give you a photo *and* get involved in a conversation with you over a cup of tea, the world doesn’t work like that! Those things may happen and the experience is all the richer for it, but it would be wrong to mandate that must happen with every experience IMO. On the other extreme you have people getting in there invading people’s personal space, intimate moments or revelling in their misfortune and you just have to think WTF?

    “Street” photography is, for me, the most difficult for that very reason that you need to recognise (across cultures) and respect those invisible boundaries we put up around ourselves.

  41. I just wish I could take images this good when I was struggling to see things!

  42. Hi David,

    I’m a little confused. What you’re saying is great, and every subject should be treated with respect, I absolutely agree. However, tourists are just that, and I’m afraid they aren’t reading photography blogs every day and keeping up on photography etiquette, and are often rushing from one place to another and they just want to photograph their trip to show friends and family where they’ve been. I don’t think this should be something that should upset, nor surprise anyone. I don’t think I’ve ever been offended by a foreign tour coming through town, each person with cameras snapping away. Not all tourist work with their cameras much, and haven’t come to the realization of how the equipment at times can get in the way of the experience. I think a little understanding of that should come into play here before we look down our noses at them.
    Of course, getting in someone’s face with little respect for personal space is an entirely different situation, and is seen as rude by anyone, I’m sure.
    I started this comment saying I’m confused, and the reason I am is because I was thinking about street photography. Some people are very good at photographing a scene without giving any indication that they are shooting the people in the scene, and the last thing they want to do is give anyone a chance to say no, because that isn’t what it is about. I love some of this style of photography and I’m wondering how you feel about it and how that comes into play here?
    Anyway, excellent images here, and very fitting with the theme of the entry.

  43. David, Very well said; I learned much on the trip. Thanks so much for reminding me to really stop and see. – CJ

  44. David, Thank you for these two touching emotional pictures. These have grabed my heart and stopped me in my tracks. I could be and am one of those passer buys. Thank you for slamming on the brakes.

  45. Thank you for making us see what can only be seen through the `eyes of the soul’…
    To me these photographs are `wow’ and have such an impact because of their immeasurable qualities…they evoke a deeper sense of awareness in you.

  46. Thank you for sharing. This first capture is awesome on so many levels. I recently was staying in Fiji with the family and visited a local village. I could of easily snapped like a hungry tiger shark, but waited and built a rapport with a family from the village, later one of the kids asked to have his photo taken. However I let him take a picture of me first to break the ice, later I was rewarded with some great shots of the kids with my kids along with a nice shot framed within the window of old church!

    Thanks for reminding us about the importance of building a relationship with your subject.

    James

  47. Pingback: Are you a unseen tourist? « discover the best family holidays

  48. Hi David…you are truly inspiring, your photos, books, and your blog….I love that you share your struggles with us….God bless the rest of your travels…get some rest!

  49. Great post as usual.

    We teach our students to engage people wherever possible, to create images that have some context of relationship, and to give subjects the chance to say “No.”

    Brilliant! That sentance sums up so much.

    I think that one of the main issues is that people don’t know any better and are ignorant of their own actions. They’ve been sold on the notion that the Rebel and kit lenses they have in their hands make them serious photographers and the camera industy lets them get away with it.

    People need to learn from example. The more they see people interacting with their subjects the more likely they are to follow suit.

    I’m off to India next month. Just me and my camera. I was going to do it anyway, but after reading your post I thorougly intend to interact with everyone I photograph.

  50. @Fons I’ve just been on KWFT with David and Jeffrey and am still lingering in Kathmandu. I can tell you it was exactly the opposite. We stayed in places for days and most of us dispersed during the daytime. All of us were appalled at the behaviour we saw in other photographers/tourists. If anything it forced us to slow down even more.

    I struggled on this trip with what difference we can make. Others will try to replicate our images without taking the time to get to know/feel the story behind it. So are we making it worse? Or are we making it better because we are looking for stories that otherwise would never be told?

  51. Hi David, sorry to say but photo tours are also a problem in the respect. I’ve been at a few events where also a group of people from a photo tour showed up. Clustered together, putting camera’s in the faces of people with the air of “I am a real photographer”. As often they have a tight program to follow there remains not much time for them to quietly observe and becoming invisible as photographer or to spend some time to interact with the subjects. Maybe this never happens with your small tours, but still, being more than one at the same location destroys often many interesting moments.

  52. D-

    Love the images and the sentiment. The images are unlike any I’ve seen from you before.

    One thing I learned with you and Jeffrey while on IWTF was that for me meeting my subjects and learning their story or having a short converstion was as important as getting the photograph of them. Often it results in better images too.

    Safe travels-

    Jeff

  53. Wow, simply…wow! Well said and well presented David. I know you struggled a bit on this trip, but your honesty and willingness to connect not only with others but also deeply with yourself is inspiring and uncommon.

    Thank you.
    Brian

  54. thx david, i read alot ur article, it give me alot of kindness in photography people (a handshake, a cup of chai, or a Namaste i will include this to make photograph people).

  55. Personally, I think it comes from selfishness; many a tourist wants to learn about a culture but not interact with it. They simply don’t WANT to see. I think it was Jeffrey Chapman who said something on the lines of he wouldn’t be the same w/o Nepal. That is the difference. Allowing what you do see to become a part of you and wonder how you can ever “leave” wherever you are because it has brought something to your life that is indescribable and you will never be the same. You have to “see” to make that happen. It seems your struggle has brought you to see the unseen. So smile.

  56. Love the way you’ve captured the contrast between unseeing and unseen. Thanks for this touching reminder to “see” with our hearts.

  57. “And I want my images to be more than a record of what was there, but what I experienced and truly saw.” .. thank you. this blog post, specially this sentence, really inspire me.i have to repeat this over and over in my head every time i look at the viewfinder.

    thanks for the inspiration sir.

  58. Give the chance for the subject to say “No”…or hopefully “Yes!” I travel with a little friend that sometimes breaks the ice:

    http://bit.ly/ayTBOl

    Know you’re running, and may not see this for a while. Thanks for your reports from the road. Always fantastic. Godseed.

  59. This is something that always got me really angry too. When I lived in different countries in Africa it was horrible sometimes to watch the way tourists would treat the people who lived where I was at. Made me ashamed to be associated with anyone remotely white and of being white myself. I completely understand the zoo analogy. But I’m glad it made you come up with these two great images. Keep relaxing. More will come naturally. :c) Funny how these times give you eyes to see things you’ve never noticed before. :c) Keep up the good work and enjoy your rest!

  60. I was in Nepal twice in the early 90’s working on forestry projects. I too was appalled at the way people with cameras “took” photos of the resident population as if they had no feelings and were simply exhibits. But, I had several very enjoyable meetings with merchants who were very happy to sit and talk and after a while, agree that it would be ok if I wanted a photo. Of course, then they are not so candid an image. Why is it that humans can treat other humans with such indifference? I never did find an answer – but concluded that some times the memory is better left unphotographed, because by itself the image lacks the sounds, smells, and feeling of the surroundings.

    Have a safe trip back.

  61. I recently reminded myself to be in the moment at my son’s wedding. I wanted to experience it not shoot it. Thanks, be safe.

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