`Phototourist' or Photojournalist? (Letters)

By Nicholson, Jon | Geographical, November 2002 | Go to article overview

`Phototourist' or Photojournalist? (Letters)


Nicholson, Jon, Geographical


P M Wadge's letter `Payment for photos' in September's issue asked whether photographers on magazine assignments ever paid their subjects. As a professional photojournalist, I have several comments to make. Firstly, I think that tourists waving cameras in front of children and the poor are fair game to be hounded for money. In India I once saw tourists photographing people washing in the Ganges, without a thought for their privacy. Not surprisingly, they got chased for money. `Phototourists' who give money in such situations should know that their donations often end up in the hands of a gang, rather than the subject or their family.

The photojournalist who is true to documenting humanity should not have to give donations but should be accepted into people's lives, with both parties aware of the editorial outcome. If they are happy with this then pictures will be forthcoming. I also shoot stories for fundraising, in which case I let people know that I am trying to raise awareness for their situation, rather than trying to belittle it. …

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