The Visual Advocate Blog

Creating images and relationships

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Yesterday I wrote a post about whether we ought to pay someone in developing countries to take their picture. A few different people wrote in with different ideas. Some talked about carrying a portable printer and printing off a picture for the person right there, which is a great way to honor them and give back in a healthy way.

The Pogo Printer is a great option for photographers wanting to give back.

Another healthy way to give back is to take the time to honor this person with your time. In my travels and work internationally, I have found that when I take the time out of my shooting schedule to sit and talk with people about their lives, it not only results in a richer cultural experience for me, but it also can lead to opportunities to create stronger images.

So next time you are traveling internationally with your camera, try to be more mindful about leaving space in your schedule to sit for a while and drink tea with someone and find out what matters to them. I can’t guarantee it but I am pretty sure that if you do, not only will your images be stronger, but you get to see another side of the person and culture that would have missed if you had hurried off.

This woman and her family wanted me to come to a wedding. I had to turn down the invitation because I was leaving Delhi, but I did take the time to hang out with them and it resulted in some fun images!

The icing on the cake would be if you get a Pogo-Printer and print off their picture for them right there! Not only will you be friends for life, but I bet they won’t ask you to pay them either. Its a win-win situation.

Happy shooting


Author: The Visual Advocate

Joe Murray, The Visual Advocate, is a Humanitarian and Cultural photographer based in Decatur, Georgia. Joe began his photographic career as an adventure and landscape photographer, but a month-long trip to India in 2009 deeply impacted him and proved to be a turning point in his life and photographic vision. Today, Joe is dedicated to using his craft to create and share compelling images and stories of the lives of the peoples and cultures of the world. While Joe loves and appreciates all the peoples and cultures of the world, he has a particular vision, passion and love for India and South Asia. As both an experienced photographer, public speaker, recruiter and advocate, Joe's goal as a visual artist is not simply to create awareness, but to move people to use their lives and resources to be a blessing to the world's most poor, abused, displaced, stereotyped and overlooked peoples.

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