Make someone’s day with a photograph
I love taking photographs of people when I’m travelling, but one of the things I always think is that it is a shame I can’t share the photographs with them afterwards.
Of course you can show them the photograph on the camera viewing screen and this nearly always brings a smile or laughter from the subject – young or old, but what you can’t always do is leave them with a copy of the photograph.
Before the last big trip I did, I bought an old Polaroid instant camera and managed to get hold of some film. This is a perfect way to share a photograph and to engage with the people you want to photograph. Alas this never made it into my backpack as I realised I could turn a profit selling it on and have a little more pocket money on my trip… I alway regret that decision!
One day though I did get to share a photograph when I was in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. I’d been on a bit of a wander around the markets and I’d gone into a mini-supermarket which also had a bakery attached. The Turkmen girls working in the shop seemed to be amused by the strange foreigner that had wandered into their shop.
I find going into shops is a great way to interact with locals, even if you’re not really after anything, you can pretty much guarantee you’ll strike up a conversation with someone. When it came to pay I noticed that they were using an abacus to add up the amount I needed to pay, and after a chat and a giggle about the ababcus I asked one of the girls if she’d mind if I took a photograph.
One of them was more than happy, if a little embarrassed. After I’d paid, we said our goodbyes and off I went… all of us no doubt thinking we’d never see each other again.
A couple of days later I found a place that could put my photos onto CD and they also did prints. In addition to my CD’s I got the shop to do a large print of the girl from the bakery.
As I was in Ashgabat for a few days I went back to the bakery and the shop keeper’s were a little surprised to see me again. I gave the girl her photograph and she was delighted, and I think from the reaction that I really made her day!
So, if you take a photograph of someone try and share it with them somehow and you might make their day too…