F... me I'm famous!
Something funny happened in Gwalior… As I was strolling around the fort, on Independence day, some local reporter spotted me and asked to take a picture of me. I was in a good mood so I agreed to the same! I was even so “nice” that he got bolder and gave me his Indian flag, then moved me twenty meters so as to have the fort in the background. All the while dozens of people were clicking dozens of pictures…
And here is the result:
Dave Prager described in Delirious Delhi this whole tourist picture thing perfectly (in my opinion) so I will just quote him here:
“ There's a middle-class India that thrives far beyond Saket Citywalk Mall, we learned, and many of them are just as interested in their narion's attractions as we are. And as they'd come to Delhi from around the region, these domestic tourists had the same goals that we foreign tourists did: they wanted to take pictures of things they can't see at home.
But while our list includes sidewalk tailors and roadside shrines, their list includes Western tourists like us. So as we'd rest in the shade at the Red Fort or Jama Masjid, it wasn't usual for a mother to place a baby in our lap and a father to take a picture. [...]
At first we were offended by all this unwanted attention. We wondered how people could be so rude as to take pictures of us as if we had been posed there by the Ministry of Tourism. Jenny initially made sport of teasing the men who approached her, agreeing to 'take a picture' and then pulling out her own camera and snapping shot after shot of the baffled men until they left her alone. Sometimes we'd scowl and chastise people who approached us with their cameras at the ready.
But as time went on, and our own photo album swelled with pictures of vegetable vendors, wandering saddhus and streetside omelette makers, we realized how hypocritical we were being. If we found the people around us to be fascinating, beautiful and photo-worthy - subjecting them to the sudden blink of our black lens and then disappearing without so much as a moment of eye contact - it was disingenuous not to accept ourselves as objects of equal interest. We vowed to happily accept photo requests from that moment onward, putting broad grins on our faces while anybody who pleased put their arms around our shoulders and stared into the cameras. [...]
After some time, we realized that it was much nicer when people asked permission to take our photo as opposed to when they attempted paparazzi-style photos from far. Which taught us that we owed our own photographic subjects the same consideration. Instead of suddenly stopping, snapping and speeding off, we began requesting permission for pictures and then thanking our subjects and showing them the output on the screen. Not only did that make our interactions with people more satisfying, but our photos got better as well.”