Taking Pictures of Strangers While Traveling
This is one of my favorite pictures from my trip to Southeast Asia.
Unedited, unfiltered and no cropping.
The glowing offering of marigold flowers, a halo of rusty umbrella spokes and the two o’clock, Beer Laos drinking, family social hour frame the flower lady perfectly. Her face radiates serenity and pride even on a balmy day on the side of a polluted bus station road in the capital city of Laos, Vientiane.
I always hesitate to ask locals for photos when traveling. One, because I’m shy. Two, because the last thing I want to do is make strangers feel like I’m on a cultural safari and “oh wouldn’t you mind being my next subject?”
But they are by far my favorite photos. Glimpses of culture diversity and universality muddled into 5 x 8 inch reason to travel. And so I muster my sweetest girl-next-door-who-lives-out-of-a-dirty-backpack smile and point to my camera, begging for a photo of a busy Laotian flower lady. Her family giggles and claps at the novelty of a falang wanting a photo of their daily routine. The flower lady gives a small smile before confidently grabbing a bouquet of white daisies and freakin’ works it, giving the camera all she’s got.
Because that’s what makes a damn good picture.