First off, when we say photo sharing we mean with the subjects of your images, not just Grannie, mum, your mate in the pub or whoever else you share it with on social media. Most people, whether in Southeast Asia or elsewhere, enjoy seeing photos of themselves. When taking people photos then the first thing to do is to show your LCD screen image to the subject of your shot – we’re yet to meet anyone who wasn’t interested. Ok, the much-photographed Padaung woman at Inle or meditating monk at Shwedagon may not get too excited but it can be a great ice-breaker and will often elicit giggles if not fits of laughter and……frequently requests for more photos.
The Enn girls we came across near Kengtung – all dressed up and on their way to market, (see above) – were initially shy and somewhat nervously agreed to let us take their photos but were fascinated by the images they saw on the I-phone after which they were more than happy to pose for more shots. (Bear in mind that these days even the poorest farmers from the remotest village know what a smartphone is!)
Even better is to provide prints to the people you’ve photographed. Obviously that is easiest on a repeat trip and not everyone has that luxury but there are other means. If you’re with a local guide for instance then he or she will visit that market or village on a regular basis and can forward prints you’ve made. Worst case, if you do wish to share your photos, would be to try to obtain a postal address and risk the local postal services.
As we mentioned in our previous photography post bear in mind that your favourites are not necessarily going to be the subject’s favourites so send something they will like and whilst you may not derive any direct benefits you’ll have the satisfaction in knowing that you’ve made some local people happy as well as making life easier for the next photographer who turns up. Note people love to see family shots or photos of their kids and that hill-tribe girls all dressed up to go to market are invariably proud of their attire and young women and teenage girls whether Hmong or from Manchester like to look good!
It may not be tourists she’s trying to impress but frankly, after going to all the trouble the Flower Hmong girl at Bac Ha market has gone to then she may well be pretty disappointed if no-one wanted to take her photo! Anyway, if you do wish to do any photo sharing with the image subjects please let us know and we’ll do our best to ensure the photos get to the intended person.