Hoi An, Vietnam
I had up until now heard a lot of great things about the 16th century town of Hoi An. Preserved to how it was 500 years ago, with French and Japanese inspired architecture and decorated with fantastically colourful lanterns, a bicycle ride through the streets of Hoi An was definitely neccesary.
Rain came and went all day as tourists peddled through the streets with umbrellas that almost poked my eye out at least five times and locals manned the shops that lined the streets full of clothes, fabrics and hand made trinkets.
Throughout the trip I was very cautious of photographing local people who were clearly doing it rough. My mum and I actually discussed this only yesterday - The photographing of locals in their environment. Is it inconsiderate? Is it sharing their story? On one hand, they are real people with real struggles, not a tourist attraction. On the other hand, it is only through the sharing of stories that the rest of the world can understand other cultures, living conditions and way of life.
I am divided on the topic so refrained from taking photos of people without their permission or knowledge that I was there. Standing nearby to this woman taking photos of the street (And controlling my urge to ask if I could include her in an image), eventually the lady spotted me with the camera and asked me to take a photo of her!
It was a cheeky trick as she then demanded I buy a bunch of bananas for 5000VND (Approx 40c). Obviously I didn’t want to carry 10 bananas through the streets of Hoi An so I asked for just one banana. The price was still 5000VND.
What do you think about visiting other countries and taking photos of the locals? Is it wrong to turn them into a source of Facebook likes? Or is it simply a tool in storytelling to help convey the difference in realities between our country and theirs?
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