This past week I was conversing with a taxi driver while in Jamaica. At one point I noticed a slum of houses and quickly shot a picture of it as we drove by. He responded abruptly, "Why are you shooting the ugly parts of our country. All of you media do the same. You should focus on the beautiful areas, not the ugly ones." He was absolutely right! I had fallen into a trap that so many of us tend to when traveling. This video from Devin Graham addresses this and other issues and gives some great tips on ways to get wonderful photos and video while traveling in foreign countries.
You might recognize Devin from other videos of his we have featured here on Fstoppers including the Epic Giant Rope Swing, which is definitely worth checking out. When I watch videos Devin has created I can tell the guy loves to have a fun time and is passionate about his career. In his video, "Breaking the Barrier" Devin points out that just learning simple words to communicate with people in their native language makes a huge difference in the types of images you will get. For instance, while in the Maldives and in Africa he learned two words, "Smile" and "Cheese" which he would use over and over again to get beautiful natural smiles from the kids. It wasn't the words so much as it was hearing Devin try to speak in their native language that would make the people so happy.
Devin also points out that many of the videos we see of the people in Africa look "super skinny" and "miserable." But when he got there he says he noticed they were actually some of the most happy, genuine people he had ever met. The point is that sometimes we stereotype people from certain areas and rather than document them as we see we try to find the footage that would fit according to that stereotype. It is a great reminder for all of us to open our eyes even more while traveling and document the beauty that is around us in all parts of the world or as Devin says in the video, "capture the people as they truly were, not to try and just show the miserable side of Africa, because there is miserable sides of every country you go to from US, Canada or even countries throughout Africa."
Take 3 minutes today and check out this great video from Devin Graham about "Breaking the Barrier." Also check out his complete video titled "Children of Africa."
Want even more from Devin - be sure to check out his YouTube Channel to see some more very entertaining videos.