Picture this (particularly parents)
Your 15 yo is sitting at the bus stop outside the corner shop 150metres from the school gates. She is sitting talking to her best friend. Probably gossiping. Probably not talking about homework!
The location is a transport hub. Behind the shops is the ferry wharf and about 600 metres (650 yards) away is the train station.
From the train station comes a foreign tourist in his late 20s/early 30s and his girlfriend. You can tell he is a tourist. Talking loudly in a foreign language, dressed in holiday clothes and carrying his camera on the end of a selfie stick.
Without warning he leaps over to the girls sits down between them putting his arms around them.
Your daughter is mortified and pulls away but he laughs and pulls her closer. Before anyone realises what has happened, the girl friend has sat down, put her arm around your daughters embarrassed looking friend and using the selfie stick taken some shots.
They then saunter off to the ferry wharf.It happened so fast! Your daughter remains looking mortified and her friend embarrassed.
There is no thanks. No introductions. No email addresses exchanged and no parental or participant permission. The tourist has some happy snaps of some random school girls in their school uniforms which may or may not go up on Facebook or Snapchat or Instagram or a printed copy of the couple’s exotic holiday!
I am not over reacting when I think this is not okay. I checked with some parents who said they would be indignant too.
This is what I saw in Thailand recently. The tourist was Italian and the girls Thai. I don’t think the guy was a paedophile- he was just completely caught up in the moment of being in exotic Thailand!
I don’t think he would approve of a tourist behaving like that in Italy to his kids. So why was it appropriate when he was a tourist?
I have seen travellers march into people’s homes, yards, block traffic and interrupt clergy, chefs and teachers all in the name of capturing a photo.
It is not on. If we want to build bridges when travelling, this is one simple way to do it. Those who fail to show respect ruin it for the rest of us:
- Get to know people: Chat with them, share a laugh so you have some meaningful connection before randomly photographing them
- Just because you meet someone or start a conversation with them does not mean you have to photograph them. Whilst many people are very happy to join you for a selfie or group shot, some are not
- Ask permission
- Do not assume because someone is poorer than you, that they will want money for being in your photo. Do not assume they won’t want money either!
- Be careful photographing kids and where you display their photos. The internet whizzes pictures around
- Thank people for being in your picture. Offer to send it to them.
Any other tips?