During my time in Vietnam when I was walking through the hills in the north when I was hit by a moral dilemma. There were three half naked childern climbing on a fence to look over the valley below. It would have made a great photograph but I refused to take the photo. I knew it would have been a fantastic photograph and even after pressure from my friend I stood my ground.
I don’t think it is fair to assume that it is acceptable for us to take photographs of whatever or whoever we want. I wouldn’t be allowed to take that type of photograph at home, it would be seen as inappropriate. Yes, there is a difference in culture and maybe that would be fine in Vietnam but I am a firm believer that if you wouldn’t do it at home then you shouldn’t do it while travelling.
Now with social media so prominent in peoples lives a photograph can be shared instantly for the world to see. How do we now opted out? Is the answer to carry a sign that says no flash photography like we see in museum or some sacred sites. As a photographer I was taught to be this silent observer who can record the details of a war but never chooses a side. but isn’t really a question of morals.
I would like to hear what you think. Should we ask before snapping away? Have you ever stolen a photograph without permission? Where should we draw the line when social media is involved. Please comment below.
See how this is effecting tourism in other parts of the world and read the article by The Guardian, How eco-tourism in the Amazon is short changing the locals.