The Arab influence on East Africa is seen in the Islamic-style dress worn by many and the number of words of Arabic in the Kiswahili (Swahili) language.
Zanzibar – Photo Tip

How to be treated as though you don’t exist

Photo by Ton Koene

Zanzibar – Photo Tip How to be treated as though you don’t exist

I was walking through the small streets of Zanzibar’s old Stone Town, searching like a vulture for my photo prey, when I saw two women sitting on a concrete baraza.

Ton Koene
Ton Koene Travel Photographer

The red scarf of one had the exact color of the window shutters and that caught my eye. Now, there are three ways to take street photography pictures. The first is to do it the fast and sneaky way. You point your camera, shoot, and continue walking. Often the subject does not even notice that you took the picture.

The second way is to introduce yourself and ask for permission. Most of the time people agree but the disadvantage is that the moment is gone and people are not relaxed in the shot.

The third way is what I did here on Zanzibar. I just sat down and waited. You play with your camera like a stupid tourist and then take a photo and see how people react. One woman noticed me, but she let me do my thing. She did not care, or perhaps she liked being photographed.

I took some more images and, suddenly, a third woman came along. She also noticed me but she too did not mind. They all continued chatting and I took my final shot. I stood up and walked away, thanking them. One of them just nodded as if to say: “You’re welcome.”

This is the best way to photograph, when people accept you in their personal space and don’t bother you, as if you don’t exist. I love that.

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Bao – the Swahili word for "board" – is a complex East African bead game similar to one found throughout Africa and parts of Asia. Each player starts with 32 beads and the object is to capture all those of the opponent. Photo by Ton Koene

Ton Koene

Ton Koene

Canon EOS 5D-III

Aperture
ƒ/8
Exposure
1/200
ISO
500
Focal
24 mm

Bao – the Swahili word for "board" – is a complex East African bead game similar to one found throughout Africa and parts of Asia. Each player starts with 32 beads and the object is to capture all those of the opponent.

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