You don’t have responsible travel without responsible travel photography. Respect the privacy of others. If they don’t want their photo taken, respect their wishes. You might lose the candid shot, but if you ask beforehand, you will earn respect and might have a wonderful conversation.
Locals, visitors and total strangers are invited to take photos in a public space and share these online using the social web, including Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Random passers-by are invited to join the fun. Again, photo safaris are inclusive rather than exclusive events. Think of this as a mobile meet-and-greet!
The objective is to ‘walk the talk’ of responsible, conscious travel and develop digital literacy while respecting natural and cultural worlds. Instead of taking pictures of people, take photos with people. This is a heuristic trek that combines mobile devices (smartphones, I’m looking at you!) and face-to-face communication. Be social and … be social!
Organizers’ Checklist: How to announce a Photo Safari
Select a time and venue
Identify themes or checklist for the photos
Figure out prizes and rewards
Direct participants to apps and social websites where pics should be uploaded
Make a poster for the event
Announce on the social web
Participants’ Checklist: How to participate during and after a Photo Safari
Take photos in a responsible manner
Upload photos to recommended social websites
Check in and engage via the social web
Be generous to the organizer(s)
Be generous to other participants
Photo safaris (foto safaris in Spanish) are fun, frugal, lo-fi activities that can be incorporated into any event or public celebration. The activity costs virtually nothing to organize. We encourage you to take the following ideas and adapt what works in your own local space.
The format pioneered in Oaxaca by Ron Mader (and featured on this wiki) is a free event that takes place in a public venue (preferably a city park) with a special invitation to locals and visitors to attend. Info needs to be online and in dead tree format with local distribution. The preferred location is one that is easily accessible and has character, history and plenty of nature. Participants are asked to bring a camera and invited to share their pictures in relevant Flickr Groups. Participants can then add one another pics to their own galleries. We’ll use the stars and comments given to select favorites that will be shared online and presented during a video night.
Among the pluses — photo safaris bolster meaningful engagement among locals and visitors. Safaris create opportunities for face to face communication without the need to be buying or selling anything.
The second option is to call for photos about a specific subject. In Oaxaca, Mexico we ask visitors to ask permission and then to take photos of animals depicted in folk art. The photos can be uploaded – with the name of the artesano and village – to the World Crafts group on Flickr.
Safaris can help participants become more comfortable with their cameras, learn the basics of uploading photos online and discuss the practicalities of what constitutes responsible tourism. Organizers might want to create a checklist of things to take a picture or a list of trivia questions that the safari answers. Use your imagination! It’s important not to program too much. Let the participants raise their own questions and converse with one another, make up songs, whatever they want to do.
Add-ons (if participants are willing) are trading cameras or asking people to take one another’s photos with one another’s cameras. The point here is to get people used to other cameras or smartphones.
The street is a theater, admission free.
– Henri Cartier-Bresson
Give people a fun, exciting ‘catch’ activity and use that as the baseline from which more meaningful dialogue can evolve.
– Tom Walter
Checklist (English, Spanish)
Digital camera = Camara digital
Drinking water = Agua potable
Comfy shoes = Zapatos comodos
Notebook = Cuaderno
Hat = Sombrero
Extra batteries for your camera = Pilas extras para tu camara
Recharge your batteries = Recarga tus pilas
Stuffed animals (can be a prize)
Please do NOT bring
Dogs on leashes.
Your presents. (something to share … it could be a local item such as food or crafts or a postcard).
Make up a game.
Bring prizes and gifts, particularly for kids. Bonus points for prizes that locally made and eco-friendly.
Hand out simple flyers or a single sheet of info that serves to focus participants locally (example: a checklist of local trees) AND guides them to relevant Flickr groups.
Welcome random visitors to join you on the spot.
Photos: Ask for photos in a few broad-themed categories that encourage creativity, conversation and attention. For example at Monte Albán: trees, reptiles, the ball court and that monument that looks like it inspired Han Solo in the Empire Strikes Back.
Recording: Listen to the soundscape and record your favorite sounds. It can be the bird songs or the mix of languages.
Language: Make friends and learn some words in a different language.
Everyone! We’d like to encourage locals and random visitors to share the safari.
Bonus points for making the event family-friendly. Children should be welcome.
Bonus points for making the event wheelchair accessible. Accessible tourism is travel accessible by all.
The photo safari was created in Oaxaca City’s Llano Park, one of the largest and oldest green spaces in town. The park has the distinction of having several historic trees (planted by heroes of Mexico’s Battle of Independence) and eight charismatic lions, two at each corner of the park.
Here’s our archive of event posters. It’s very helpful to post the event posters online Flickr at least a week in advance so that they can be tweeted, facebooked, embedded using the social web. We also encourage people to print and display the posters.
Elsewhere on the Web