Watching. And Being Watched

Posted: 16 December 2015 in Cultural, Haiti
Tags: ,

Watching & Being WatchedSomeone was shouting – oh, at me it seems. Up a hillside, looking at some trees blown over by recent strong winds I had my camera out.  But the abusive shouting was by a local man.  Oddly I was not going to take a picture of him. But the hostility to picture taking is quite something.  As my companion had been here many years I asked him why.

Several likely reasons were likely.  That man was asking himself – if you want something, like a picture of me, then what do I get in return? If you take a picture of me, you are capturing something of my spirit, which makes me vulnerable.  Indeed, if you have my image, will you use it to abuse me, like with some sort of digital voodoo doll?

I’ve blogged on this before, but this reaction gives another perspective.  From what I gather elsewhere, the sense of hostility to “le blancs” (the whites) is far more prevalent than in Uganda. And the reaction to pictures may just be a reflection of that.  But then again, there is quite a bit of anxiety and tension directed towards neighbours too.  It is not just a “blanc” thing.



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