Photographing kids in public places is highly controversial subject in most of the western world at least. As a subject kids are very good and even easy. They are cute, they make all kinds of funny things and they don’t ask questions. On the other hand, they don’t know what is going on around them and they are not responsible for themselves, because they are just kids. Parents, on the other hand, are protective and usually very suspicious, if they see somebody pointing a camera at their children.
It was not always like this. I’ve never especially liked photographing other people’s children in public, but I remember a time when you could do that without feeling criminal or pervert. But this is now. Today you can never know where an image may end up and it’s very easy to share a photo to a large group around the world. So, it’s easy to understand that the old rules don’t work any more.
In some countries people are quite tolerant of photographing them or their kids, but I feel I have to follow the same quidelines where ever I take pictures. If I don’t photograph kids in my home country I don’t do it anywhere else eiher.
But, sometimes an image appears to me, an image that is simply too good to miss and I hit the shutter. Even if I have to divert from my guidelines at that specific moment.
I shot the first image in Vietnam when visiting the island of Phu Quoc. I was going to take just a souvenir photo of that unpaved side street. I lifted the camera and at the same time that little girl walked right into my frame. She saw my camera and struck a pose. She looked perfect in the middle of the frame in her bright orange school uniform and with her yellow umbrella. I pressed the shutter without thinking too much and I’m glad I did.
The second image is from Phnom Penh and it was actually my last morning there, I was waiting for a tuktuk to take me to the airport. It had been raining the whole night and the street in front of my accomodation was flooding. There was a good 15 – 20 cm of water on the street. I was standing by the open gate waiting for something interesting to happen. Some cars and motorbikes went by, but then these two lads on a bike came and I knew it wouldn’t get any better than this. It’s a bit of a cliche, but I still think it works nicely.