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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…



Amazing experience. Just got back from Bosnia and was on this train trip from Sarajevo to Mostar. I strike up a conversation with this lovely lady and we talked liked an hour. Our train journey was cut into half unexpectedly and I didn’t take a picture of her. Am so frustrated but at least I learn quite a bit the life of a Sarajevan. Thanks for sharing

Andrew - The Unframed World

I completely agree. It’s really rewarding to share photos with the people you photograph afterwards, but often difficult to get to them. In a jewelry makers shop in the Andes Mtns in Ecuador I photographed a master craftsmen making silver goods. The shots turned out quite well, but sadly I haven’t been able to show him. I linked my name in this comment to the post if you’re interested. Maybe someday he’ll find my travel photo blog, however somehow i really don’t think it’s likely.

Thanks for tweeting some of my posts by the way, really friendly of you. Keep it up. You’re site is quite attractive and well laid out. Not cluttered or confusing like a majority of blogs these days.

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