Santo Domingo (spring, 2017)

Street and travel photography have a legacy of voyeurism and exploitation. Film was originally optimized to capture pale skin—so much so that some photographers, on their travels, smeared Vaseline on their subjects’ faces to help their skin refract light so their features were more visible on film.

Modern photographers have a duty to challenge these exploitations.

Photographs of people of color, especially in heavily exploited places and communities, often appropriate a story that does not belong to the author, rather than granting the subjects autonomy to represent themselves. In photographs where the subject’s likeness is recognizable, ask for permission. We have an obligation to talk to our subjects. To work against capturing images through the lens of the fetishization of poverty and blackness. To do better.