I recently read comments on a professional photography blog about whether or not one should pay those on the street whose photos one takes. Opinions varied; but I was surprised at how many thought that paying somehow compromised the photographer. I disagree.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to live in Ecuador and witness the poverty and warm hearts of the poor. They have spirit and determination to be successful; but they have little. Anything given is enormously appreciated.
They give me something when I take their photos. I am taking advantage of their life situation and, in return, I frequently give them a small token of appreciation. Even a dollar may be a lot. In many respects, I owe the beauty and success of my photography to them. Their friendship is an additional bonus to me.
I'd like to share two photos that I took this past week on the street where I live. One is of a young, indigenous mother, raising her child on the street while trying to sell confections and study to improve herself. The other, is an older indigenous woman who makes food at home to sell on the street. Her radiant smile and ready laughter lifted my spirits.
Isn't she jolly ?
She works long and hard and always shares joy with those around her.
As I try to do when I know that I will be returning to the area where I took photos of street people, I printed photos that I took of these two ladies and gave them copies. Most often, without cameras of their own, they would never have pictures.
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