Photo Phanatics – continued

We’re jumping with excitement at the rare sighting of a tree-climbing lion.

“Stop here,” they shout.

“I’ll go a little more forward,” says the driver.

“No, no, here.”

He stops. The cameras click away.

“I can’t get the right focus.”

“It’s the leaves in front of his face.”

I borrow the driver’s binocs and try to ignore the grumbling and complaining. The magnificent animal is sprawled along the tree branch, tail and one front paw dangling limply and twitching occasionally.

“Sawa sawa?” asks the driver.

“No, no,” they protest.

He moves forward anyway and we have an unobstructed view of the lion. I snap a quick picture as we pull away.

“Stop!” they cry.

“This is where I wanted to go but you contradicted me,” says the driver in his first display of impatience. “Now I have to move for the other vehicles.”

My picture is just fine. I show the driver. He grins, his eyes sparkle and he gives me a thumbs-up.

The driver slows as we pass through villages and towns. Workers, bicyclers, pedestrians, old ladies, and children—all become subjects of the fanatics’ cameras. Reactions vary, but most of the photographed appear disgruntled, offended, irate.

“Ah, look at that,” the safarians coo collectively when we cross a bridge and see a woman bathing a naked young lad. The boy waves. There’s another collective “ah.”

“Did you get a picture?” they ask the fanatic at the back.

“Oh, no,” she replies with a heartfelt sigh. As I begin to think there is hope after all, she adds, “There was way too much glare from the window.”

I put my camera in my knapsack, send silent apologies to the photographed and grope for something to say. I’m at a loss. The right words don’t come.

We turn onto a paved highway. We’re going too fast for picture taking. There is a god. Click, click, click. How naïve I am. Now the fanatics are comparing the blurs of their “drive by shootings.”

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6 comments on “Photo Phanatics – continued

  1. People can be so insensitive when they’re guests in another country. You’ve captured the mentality of the photo “phanatics” perfectly.

  2. Thank you for the compliment. These people were pretty bad. I know I wouldn’t like tourists coming here and taking pictures of us as the “quaint little locals.”

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this concluding part. Your words put me right there with you all.

    This Safari, the desire to take photos of whatever and whenever, poses this question to me: what will be my limit to taking pictures if I happen to be a safarian? I would like to behave (just as you did) and show respect for the locals. For sure, no one likes an invasion of their space and privacy.

    • Of course you would pictures of the animals and some of yourself in the setting — but to snap pictures of the citizens in their daily lives is a terrible and rude invasion of their privacy. All the more so when it’s a matter of “rich” tourists taking pictures of the poor (quaint) locals.

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