Visiting other cultures
with cameras

Copyright 2012 Bob Harvey and Diane Kelsay

Images by Bob Harvey and Diane Kelsay

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One trip I (Bob) was involved in several conversations about corn.  I discussed some of the many kinds of corn with both farmers and in markets.  I learned that there are different corns grown at different altitudes.  There are kinds of corn to eat fresh and others to grind.  There are types of corn grown to make juices – and corn beer.  There are types to store and then add to soups.  Some are toasted and others are popped.  And each comes in a different shape, size, and color.

And, the local folks learned that our corn is grown in giant fields.  They learned that farmers don’t save their own seeds – rather they buy seeds to plant.  They learned that we plant and harvest with machines rather than by hand and that there really are only a handful of types of corn and ways we store and use corn.

Those conversations inevitably opened an opportunity for me to make images.  I was unable (because of border crossing issues) to purchase ears of corn to bring back, but I often left behind a small tip (customary in Peru but not everywhere) to show my appreciation.  Often times we buy something that we can’t take home and later give it to our guide or driver – this is a much more dignified way of making sure both sides win than handing out tips.  And we almost always show our images to our conversational partners.

On a recent trip we brought our group to meet with the same family of weavers we visited the previous year.  Diane worked hard between trips to print an image of each member of the family with her weavings – and of the previous year’s group learning and appreciating their experience. 

It was amazing to watch their faces as they saw the images and realized we had completed our promise to bring photos back.  It was also clear that they had been promised photos many times but that follow-through was rare.

We work hard to set up our Nature Photography Adventures in such a way that encounters between cultures are respectful, mutually rewarding, and inspiring for all parties.  We try to be ambassadors for North America while creating opportunities for those traveling with us to see inside other cultures.

We have photography adventures planned to coffee villages in Costa Rica, Mayan villages in Belize and Guatemala, among the Maasai in Tanzania, Navaho people in Arizona, and Quechua speakers in both Ecuador and Peru.  We have other cultural encounters on the planning table.

Whether you travel with us, with someone else, or on your own, we hope you enjoy your encounters with other cultures and strive to make those encounters rewarding for the people you visit.

Rewarding travels to you!

 

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