A Travellerspoint blog

Faces of the world

large_Faces_Collage.jpg

In my last entry, Markets, I mentioned how much I enjoy taking photos of local people on my travels. Of course, people’s willingness to be photographed varies enormously from place to place – they certainly don’t always share my pleasure, I have to confess. I also have to confess to shooting candid photos on many occasions – not only because I realise that my chosen subject may be unwilling to pose but also (and primarily) because I prefer the natural look of an unposed portrait. That said, if anyone sees my camera and asks me to put it away or not take their photo, I always do so.

Africa

4675897-Musician_in_La_Mouette_Essaouira.jpg
Musician in Essaouira

My experience of photographing people in the various African countries we have visited is quite variable. In Morocco I found most locals very wary of my camera – even to the point that on a recent visit I was challenged to show two men the photo they claimed I had just taken of them, when I had not actually done so. It was only when I showed them every image, right back to those of our flight the previous day, that they believed me. You can imagine that I was very careful not to alert anyone there when taking pictures, and to restrict myself to long range shots. Some of these may find their way into later entries, but this one is focused (literally) on faces.

But in sub-Saharan Africa, on trips to Senegal and the Gambia, I found people much less interested in me and my camera, and portraits were relatively easy to capture.

Gambia

I have already shared some images from the huge street market of Serekunda in my earlier entry on Markets, so here are just a few of the portrait shots I captured there:

Serrekunda0017.jpg 6994321-Serekunda_Market_The_Gambia.jpg
large_7708632.jpg
In Serekunda Market

Our tour to the small villages of villages of Albreda and Juffureh offered much better opportunities to take photos of local people. I described that tour as follows on my Virtual Tourist page about the Gambia:

If you have read Alex Haley's book, Roots, have seen the TV series or are simply interested in the history of slavery in The Gambia and West Africa, this tour provides an interesting insight into the places and people behind his story and that of thousands of others. You board a boat in Banjul for the two hour journey on the River Gambia to the villages of Albreda and Juffureh. In the former you visit a museum dedicated to the slave trade and see various monuments to that time, as well as getting the opportunity to observe village life (albeit somewhat distorted by the locals' understandable desire to entertain and thus make money out of the many tourist groups). In Juffureh you meet the village chief (when we visited, February 2014, the role was taken, unusually, by a woman) and also members of Kunta Kinteh's family. The latter was the ancestor of Alex Haley to whom he traced his roots, and this village was his home.

6994239-Kinteh_family_member_The_Gambia.jpg 7708633.jpg
Kinteh family member, and village chief, Juffureh

large_6994256-In_Albreda_The_Gambia.jpg
Villager, Albreda

Senegal

To visit the southern part of Senegal, as we did, you need to start in Banjul, Gambia, and catch the ferry across the river – a perfect people-watching and people-photographing opportunity:

Photo_04-0..6__10_53_03.jpg

Photo_02-0..6__10_07_30.jpg

Photo_02-0..6__09_27_37.jpg

Once in Senegal, we took every opportunity to get out and about from our hotel bases, and met local people wherever we went:

7577781-Local_woman_in_Djiffer_Djifere.jpg
Local woman in Djifere

7578285-More_market_photos_Ngueniene.jpg
At the market in Ngueniene

7580190-At_the_market_in_Ngueniene_Fimela.jpg
At the market in Ngueniene

7580206-Locals_after_the_Mass_Fimela.jpg 7708630.jpg
Locals after mass in Mar Lodj, and animal trader in Ngueniene

India

There is no difficulty in India in taking photos of the people. While a few may wave away your camera, most are tolerant of it and many not only willing but eager to pose. As I have said, I prefer a natural look to my photos, so while I will take the posed shots, and show or share them if asked, I usually take a few extra when my subject is less aware that I am doing so.

large_Khimsar_8_Hotel_K_Fort.jpg
Security guard, Khimsar Fort hotel

173409467534340-More_photos_..ge_Khimsar.jpg Khimsar_28_village.jpg
In Khimsar

7553523-On_City_Palace_Road_Udaipur.jpg 7553522-On_City_Palace_Road_Udaipur.jpg
Locals in Udaipur

On both our recent visits to the country we have spent quite a lot of time driving (or rather, being driven) from town to town, and with all the activity to be seen on and beside the road there are plenty of opportunities to grab some candid shots. I already shared this photo in my Road to Jaipur blog, but it's one of my favourites and I can't resist also including it here:

large_Road_to_Jaipur_28.jpg
Camel herder on the road to Jaipur

Japan

This was another place where I found it very easy to get some good portrait shots, with many people willing to pose or to ignore my camera:

Photo_06-10-2013_06_44_24.jpg
Wedding at the Meiji Shrine, Tokyo

6927605-Rickshaw_driver_Takayama.jpg
Rickshaw driver, Takayama

125068956927655-More_shots_o..t_Takayama.jpg
Market stall-holder, Takayama

668618586941775-Toshogu_Shri..tion_Nikko.jpg Photo_08-10-2013_18_01_57.jpg
Two different faces of modern Japan - Buddhist nun and bullet train guard

Latin America

On occasion it is worth ‘paying’ for a shot. The lady below, in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala, was happy to pose in return for our purchase of one of the little bead key-rings she was selling, while the guy in Jamaica was equally happy to be in my shot once I had bought a cold drink from his shack:

172103864991022-Local_costum..Panajachel.jpg 3963243-Faces_of_Jamaica_Jamaica.jpg

Others there though were perhaps just too spaced-out to notice my camera at all!

040_OR_Nine_Mile_03_F.jpg
Guy selling grass at Bob Marley's birthplace

037_K_Bob_M_Museum_04_F.jpg
At the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston

A few more of my favourites from that part of the world, taken on our recent trip to Chile, and a couple of years ago in Ecuador:

4_127_Atac..16_Machuca_.jpg
Kebab seller, Machuca, Chile

large_12_13_Rapa..6_Ahu_Tahai.jpg
Souvenir seller, Rapa Nui

1_6_Santia..za_de_Armas.jpg
In the Plaza de Armas, Santiago, Chile

6468709-Otavalan_dress_Otavalo.jpg
Local in Otavalo market

Europe

90_P1110103.jpg
Musician, Tallinn

Special events often provide an opportunity for candid photography, such as the Old Town Days celebrations in Tallinn which I saw while at a Virtual Tourist meeting there in 2014, and the same city’s Medieval Days a year later on a return visit:

Tallinn00022.jpg 7095472-_Tallinn.jpg
Musician and stall-holder, Tallinn Old Town Days

7442090-Stall_holder_Tallinn.jpg
Stall-holder, Medieval Days fair, Tallinn

Closer to home

Here’s a selection from much closer to home, in London:

P1000196.jpg
90_P1000251.jpg 90_P1000215.jpg 90_P1000316.jpg
Performers at a carnival at City Hall, London

P1120582.jpg
Portobello Road Market

And finally, let us remember that portraits don’t always have to include the face to tell you something about the person portrayed, so here are three photos taken from behind the subject:

7534386-And_colourful_turban_Khimsar.jpg
In Rajasthan

6612571-Choosing_a_scarf_Lisbon.jpg
Football fan in Lisbon

6877327-Geisha_Japan.jpg
Geisha, Kyoto

Posted by ToonSarah 05:42 Tagged people parties london japan india chile guatemala jamaica photography tallinn ecuador rapa_nui street_photography

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

Beautiful portraits. I'm too shy to photograph people so I have very few and mostly just because they were in the scene I was photographing. Perhaps it's because I hate to have my own picture taken. I'm so glad other people make portraits because I love them. Your's are beautiful.

by Beausoleil

Thank you Sally. It's something I've started doing much more in recent years - maybe I've got more confident about it, or maybe it's just because I have a much better zoom lens than I used to ;)

by ToonSarah

Another beautiful blog with amazing photos.

by Galaxy31

Thanks Angela - I enjoyed putting it together :)

by ToonSarah

Great idea to produce this beautiful display

by ADAMYAMEY

Thank you Adam :)

by ToonSarah

another interesting subject we humans are and yep, we never get boring wherever we are! :)

by Ils1976

Good point Ils!

by ToonSarah

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Login