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Tourists, Stop Ignoring the Ethics of Travel Photography

Reader's Digest Logo By Johanna Read of Reader's Digest | Slide 1 of 10: The golden rule applies to travel photography just as much as it does to the rest of life: Simply put yourself in the place of others and think about how you would feel in that same situation. When we travel, our goal should be to leave a destination a little bit better than when we arrived, or at least not make it any worse—in fact, this is what characterizes sustainable and responsible tourism. After all, if your grandchildren visit Thailand 50 years from now, don't you want their experience to be just as wonderful as the one you had? This is the right way to travel, according to environmental experts. Plus, no matter how much you paid for your vacation or how stark or beautiful the scene is in front of you, you are not entitled to that photograph. Other people, especially those with different colored skin or with low incomes, are just as deserving of privacy as you are. Overall, how you interact with the environment and the residents of the places you visit, including with your camera, leaves a lasting impression. Here's how to make that impression a good one. Keep in mind that we're in a pandemic and there are various travel restrictions in place.

Live by the golden rule: Treat others how you'd want to be treated

The golden rule applies to travel photography just as much as it does to the rest of life: Simply put yourself in the place of others and think about how you would feel in that same situation. When we travel, our goal should be to leave a destination a little bit better than when we arrived, or at least not make it any worse—in fact, this is what characterizes sustainable and responsible tourism. After all, if your grandchildren visit Thailand 50 years from now, don't you want their experience to be just as wonderful as the one you had? This is the right way to travel, according to environmental experts.

Plus, no matter how much you paid for your vacation or how stark or beautiful the scene is in front of you, you are not entitled to that photograph. Other people, especially those with different colored skin or with low incomes, are just as deserving of privacy as you are. Overall, how you interact with the environment and the residents of the places you visit, including with your camera, leaves a lasting impression. Here's how to make that impression a good one. Keep in mind that we're in a pandemic and there are various travel restrictions in place.

© Vesnaandjic/Getty Images

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