Why do backpackers insist on taking photos of children wherever they go?
Sure, foreign kids are cute. I’ll give them that. But they’re also often super dirty and smell funny. I suppose all kids are dirty and smell funny though, not just foreign ones.
But do immigrants come to Canada/U.S./U.K./Australia, wander onto a schoolyard and have someone snap photos of themselves with their arms out, surrounded by white children? Just wondering.
The following is a journey into the mind of a backpacker taking photos of local children, particularly in the developing world:
- “OMG look at how cute these local children are!” (snap)
- “Look at these kids. they live in tin shacks, but somehow they’re so happy.” (snap)
- “Look at their genuine smiles and the joy in their eyes. These kids literally have nothing.” (snap)
- “I’m honestly shocked they’re not asking me for money or trying to pickpocket me…” (snap)
- “…like those damn gypsy kids in… Hey, kid. Take your hand outta my pocket.” (brushes kid’s hand away) (snap)
- “Look at this one, touching my face and my hair. Never seen skin or hair like mine before. WOW!” (snap)
- “I am so enlightened by this experience. More enlightened than my friends back home.” (sigh) (snap)
- “I am so glad I came to (developing world country). I appreciate (developed world home country) more now.” (snap)
- “Seriously. Look at these children.” (snap)
- “I don’t want to say that I’m like Jesus. But I love little children, just like Jesus, which explains my arms-out messianic pose.” (snap)
- “I hope their parents don’t come out during our photo shoot. I don’t want them thinking we’re exploiting their kids.” (snap)
- “Hurry up, Kevin. Take the picture. I think that might be one of their parents.” (snap) (takes off running)
For those of you interested in “The etiquette of photographing strangers” (of any age), check out this article by Lonely Planet author Richard l’Anson.
“Photographing strangers can be daunting, but it needn’t be,” he writes. “Most people are happy to be photographed. Some photographers ask before shooting, others don’t. It’s a personal decision, often decided on a case-by-case basis.”
But approaching foreign strangers and children in a palms-out messianic stance certainly can’t hurt.