Understanding your subjects

I have always believed that if a photographer visits a country it is necessary to understand some  about its history, culture and art. It makes you blend better with the locals and it also helps you to get much better photos. People will talk with you more openly, and you will be able to avoid cultural faux pas.

In the last 8 years I have always had cultural mediators in the countries where I traveled to with my friends photographers, for instance in Brazil we had Andrè, Akemi and Claudia, and in Morocco we have had several cultural mediators ( Ayoub, Mustafa, Hussein, etc) , depending on the parts of the country which we visited, but it has been mainly Abdelghani, our omnipresent guide,  who has been able to show us the country behind the touristic scenes. He also taught us some useful words of arabic and how to pronounce the names of all the places we visited.

If we make an effort to thank people in their language, for instance, we get “closer” to them, as we show respect and interest for their culture. If we cover our heads in the religious places we visit, the way  we see them all do, we are demonstrating that we respect them.

We stay sometimes at hotels, but other times we stay with families and we try to deserve their hospitality and their generosity.

Most of the candid photos we got were fruit of a fairly good understanding of the country and getting up early in the morning. Nothing interesting from a photographic point of view seems to happen in the afternoon, till near sunset, and this is also due to the warm climate and the intense sunlight.

Paula

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