In this episode of the Rough Guides podcast, we’re exploring the idea of responsible photography – how we can be more mindful when photographing a particular place or a person.
As in the words of the famous Rabelais quote, we may travel to “Go to seek a great perhaps” – but when we come back, we want to remember all the details. So we take photographs. Thanks to social media – particularly Instagram – it’s easier than ever to share experiences from our travels, but taking a photograph can come at the expense of something – or someone – else. If a single photograph has the power to shape a narrative, what story should we tell?
We travelled to Stockholm to interview the award-winning travel writer and photographer Lola Akinmade Åkerström, an expert on responsible photography. She explains the importance of having respect for photographing the places we visit, the people we meet and how we explore their ground. She also provides tips and advice, such as asking permission to take someone’s photo, asking for their name and taking the time to listen to their story, and explains the benefits of how this can be culturally enriching for both sides.
We also speak with photographer, documentary film-maker and artist Hoda Afshar, whose portraits seek to counter preconceived narratives surrounding the subjects of her images. She discusses the impact images have in shaping our understanding of the world, and how new images can battle old stereotypes.
Photography presents us with the opportunity to celebrate and share cultures from around the world. It gives us the chance to peer into other people’s realities, understand and empathize with situations different to our own and listen to their stories, and present this in one powerful shot.
In the next episode, we’re sticking around in Sweden to learn more about cow-singing, or kulning...
This episode was hosted by Aimee White (@aimeefw) and produced by Femi Oriogun-Williams for Reduced Listening
Aimee is an in-house Senior Travel Editor at Rough Guides and is the podcast host of The Rough Guide to Everywhere. She is also a freelance travel writer and has written for various online and print publications, including a guidebook to the Isle of Wight. Follow her on Twitter at