Finally I've managed to find some time to edit some photos and write a blog post! It's been a busy trip and when I haven't been working I've been trying to catch up on sleep. I have been in Guatemala for a week now but it feels like it's been much longer, until now I've lost track of what day it is. But I always lose track of time when I've got a camera in front of my face and a job to do.
These are just a few photos that I've managed to catch in between what I'm gathering for work. Sometimes we have to hang around for a bit in-between community visits and it allows me some time to take a few portraits. Every country is different when it comes to photography, in some places they love to pose and then see the photos you've taken, in others they run away or get angry if you ask to take a photo. It's been a mix here, some people have flat out refused to have me take their photo and while it always makes me embarrassed for having asked in the first place, I of course respect what they say. And my desire to take photos is at constant war with my shyness.
Yesterday a grandmother was walking past me with her granddaughter, both carrying heavy loads of sticks on their back. A puppy was following along behind them and the sun was setting, it was a perfect photo! I asked the translator (who was translating a Mayan dialect) to ask them if I could take their photo and they said no, the reason they gave was that they were afraid I was going to sell their portrait and not give them any money - it was their photo after all. I put my camera away and instead tried to have a chat with them, they were really friendly and let me play with their puppy. But their reaction wasn't unique and their extreme aversion made me a little sad.
It's made me think a lot about respecting other cultures, which I've always been mindful of when I travel, but specifically I wonder how people feel about some girl walking around with expensive equipment snapping away - I wonder if they agree with what I'm trying to achieve or whether they think it's a bit of an indulgence compared to their life priorities. I wonder how they feel about it. Whether they resent it, or whether they think I'm just crazy. Maybe they don't even care. In my mind I don't see different people, I just see different lives - in the end we're all the same. But I wonder if that's an opinion I can afford to have because I didn't have to carry my own firewood every night at the age of six. It's hard to know other people's minds, but I hope I'm making friends with the people I'm meeting along the way, and not leaving them with a bad feeling about people trying to take photos and profit from their lives.