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EXPLORING ECOTOURISM

Responsible Travel Photography
by Ron Mader

PHOTOGRAPHY WIKI

De la vista nace el amor. (Love grows from sight.)
- Mexican proverb

postcards from oaxaca

FLICKR ALBUM: Postcards
SLIDESHOW


Visitors have no better proof that one has made a journey than having a special photo that they took. Postcards are great as are viewmaster slides and coffee-table books, but what really has a special place in one's heart is the photo.

Locals want to document special occasions. They take pride in the traditions rooted to place.

Is there a way that photography could better satisfy visitors and locals? To better understand the opportunities, let's consider the point of view (pov) of locals and visitors.



TRAVELER POV

Here are a few reasons why travelers want to take a picture:

The photograph is considered a souvenir.

The photograph shows something that the traveler wishes to share with friends and family.

LOCAL POV

Here are a few reasons why locals do not want travelers to take their picture:

The photograph is considered a nuisance. This is particularly true in areas that are frequently touristed, such as markets.

The photograph 'steals the soul.'

The photograph is considered a portrait, and they would prefer to be groomed and in their best clothes.

Other photographers have promised to send a copy of the picture and they have not done so.

SPECIFIC SUGGESTIONS

For travelers who wish to take photos and not be a nuisance, the best recommendation when taking close-up photos of people is to ask permission. "If people take my photo without asking permission, I feel like an object," a friend told me.

Use photography as a moment to take a deep breath and reflect on the incredible the now, the privilege you have of being in a particular place. If you have a digital camera, show the photo to the person you have photographed. They might want to adjust their clothes or suggest a different angle. These are no longer candid shots, but they do give the person in the photograph more control.

The best food pictures show full plates. No one really wants to see half-eaten sandwiches or empty plates after a meal.

Include the panorama, show where the activity takes place.

TIPS FOR TOUR ORGANIZERS

Tour organizers can create a list of subjects that their group should be on the lookout. After your group returns, collect the best photos and host a reunion slide show.

OAXACA MARKET PROJECT

We propose a creative and generous use of Flickr. What if instead of taking photos, visitors gave the printouts of photos to the very subjects to show how they are represented on the Web?

Item. Oaxaca Market Project. We recommend that visitors print a particular page from our market album and give it to the vendor. The result? What might be a rushed visit becomes a search for familiar faces and seasonal products. This puts a new spin on the traditional 'take only photographs' mantra by giving the photos back and raising awareness and increasing purchases of traditional crafts and local food.

POSTCARDS FROM OAXACA

Ron's Flickr photos have been viewed more than 500,000 times and we have chosen some of our favorites from Oaxaca for a new series of postcards. The objective is to raise awareness and respect of the local cultural and biological diversity. Among the innovations - the cards credit the name of the artisan and include a bilingual proverb (dicho en español). Think of the postcards - the same way as the photos - as a map to the living treasures in Oaxaca. If you don't see the postcards, ask for them!

www.flickr.com

AUTHOR

Ron Mader is the responsible travel correspondent for Transitions Abroad and host of the award-winning Planeta.com website.


FEATURES

g What is responsible travel?
g Photography Guide
g Citizen Journalism: Flickr
g Perceptions of the Mekong Sub-Region - Joe Cummings

FLICKR

g New Photography Group: New Zealand and Australia
g Planeta.com Launches North American Ecotourism Photo Group
g Planeta.com Launches South American Ecotourism Photo Group

SLIDESHARE

g Responsible Travel Photography
g Flickr Lessons
g Flickr Lessons en español

FLICKR

g What is the value of attention?
ONLINE FLICKR

WIKI

g Flickr
g Photography
g Postcards from Oaxaca
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American Friend (Der Amerikanische Freund) directed by Wim Wenders, 1977



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