Aside from the "big picture" roles on this trip, I assigned myself two photo-related personal projects. The first is to shoot a portrait of everyone at PE2 before I leave. The second is to use my camera to engage with people in the marketplace. I have been to the markets many times and have lugged a hundred trinkets back with me to the US and this trip I have decided to do less shopping and more sharing.
I am not taking photos, I'm giving them. I brought along my Fuji Instax camera and have spent time walking the market and really focusing on the people rather than the merchandise. When you focus on the people, you often get a smile back in return. At this point I will step closer and ask them if I can take their photo. Most of the time, they agree and I snap a few quick photos.
Next, I reach into my bag and grab the Instax printer, choose the best photo on my camera, and send it to print. The people in the area start gathering around to see what is going to happen with the strange white blinky thing in my hand and they are astonished when the photo ejects from the printer. When I hand them a blank, white card they stare at it for a few seconds and look puzzled until they begin to see their image slowly appear (que puzzled looks turning to smiles). I stick a pre-printed label on the back with my name and my blog address and leave them with the photo. This is always followed by "arkoun chraen!" (thank you very much!) as they show the photo to their friends.
It struck me that these folks see tens of thousands of tourists walking past, day in and day out, in search of items to bring home. They may even get their picture taken now and then. But no one ever gives them one.
Fujifilm X-T10 with either a 50mm f2 or 23 mm f 1.4
This small, mirrorless, interchanagble lens camera is plain, discrete and looks like an old film camera from the 70's. It makes the entire experience much more engaging and keeps the subject much more at ease than when using a big DSLR.
Fujifilm Instax Share Printer
This small, wireless, battery-powered printer works exactly like a small Poloroid instant camera, only better. You get to choose the photos you want to print and send them seamlessly from your camera to the printer AND you get to keep the digital photo on your card.