6. When multicultural photographers share their work to help promoting Diversity and Inclusion: How I connected with Dietmar Temps
Webmasters and bloggers sometimes have a hard time finding the right picture for their work on the Internet. They might either have to subscribe to a yearly membership in a photo bank or be limited by heavy copyright laws. But sometimes artists and bloggers might also share a mutual interest. In that case, they can help each other promote their respective work. This is what happened when I met Dietmar Temps, adventurous multicultural photographer, whose work blew my mind away…
Last month, as I was surfing on Flickr Creative Commons to find the best symbolic picture to illustrate the “Race, Nationality, Ethnicity and Religion” part for the website, my attention got caught by a particular photograph.
This picture of these two African boys vehicles both depth and sincerity. I found it admirable and perfect for my use. After I downloaded it, I realized that I would not be able to use it without mentioning the copyright of the author. The only problem is that WordPress, which I am using for interculturalconnection, would not allow me to insert a caption on the template.
Therefore, I decided the best thing to do would be to simply contact the author of the photo and ask him for permission to post it as it.
After typing the name of the artist on the internet I could discover the impressive multicultural photos gallery of Dietmar Temps. More than simply obtaining his authorization, I became interested in promoting his work, as such shots definitely deserve to be seen.
Who is Dietmar Temps?
Dietmar Temps is a German photographer who travels worldwide to meet tribes from various countries and picture them in their most natural environment.
Dietmar, what can you tell me about your work?
“I’m an enthusiastic travel photographer with the main focus on people and portrait photography. Additionally I try to give background information and my personal experience of remote areas on my travel blog. When I’m traveling I try to be a humble person to get a good connection with the local people“.
“I’m only the person who pushes the button, but the real stars are the people on my pictures, and their faces and eyes should tell the story”
“A portrait of the local people is not only the composition by the photographer, but everything in it. In this context I’m only the person who pushes the button, but the real stars are the people on my pictures, and their faces and eyes should tell the story. That is my approach, and I have a huge respect for the local people I meet on my travels”.
Would you say that photography is something you do to genuinely promote others and “forget” your own interest in the process?
“It’s not like I forget myself in the process. I believe people’s photography in foreign countries, especially regarding tribal and children photography, is a very sensitive matter. It is an ethical problem. Taking picture is one thing, publishing another. But without publishing I cannot show the world about these amazing places and amazing people“.
“On the other hand, although I always ask for permission to take pictures, do the people in remote villages really know what I’m doing with these pictures? Do they know about the Internet, and marketing, and selling pictures? Do they know about the rights of their own image? Probably not.
I solved the problem partially when I decided I would only sell pictures of people for editorial purposes, and not for commercial advertisement”.
“Pictures are powerful, but in the wrong context, they can also be misleading”
“Another issue is to tell the truth. Pictures are powerful, but in the wrong context, they can also be misleading. For instance, a crying little African child: this picture sells very well, and supports the stereotypical view of ‘The Dark Continent’ and starving children in Africa.
Last week I came across a picture of a little African girl who drinks water from a river using an old red shoe. I smiled about that photo. But most of the people wrote angry comments about our bad world, and how the world can live with the big problems in Africa and the poor starving children.
The point is, I stayed more than 3 months in remote villages with tribal people in Africa, and my experience is totally different, that means the picture with the girl and the red shoe tells me a different story. Another example is the Suri tribe in South Western Ethiopia. The famous photographer Hans Silvester invented a wonderful photo style with the Suri children, involving many flowers and fantastic face painting.
Every photographer who now visit the Suri people try to copy his style, and the Suri children know exactly what to do: they decorate themselves with flowers to get a few coins. And what happens then?
The photographers publish these pictures and tell the world “the decorated children and the young women with all the flowers are part of an old Suri tradition”.
Then, important magazines print these stories and publish these pictures. The only problem is: it is not true.
“Promoting travel portraits for commercial purposes would feel like cheating on the people I met in remote villages”
These are the main reasons why I try to remain a bit in the background as a travel photographer. Promoting travel portraits for commercial purposes would feel like cheating on the people I met in remote villages. I tried to build trust with the people and sometimes I stayed in a village for more than a week. The people treated me like an old friend. Often, the visits are far from spectacular. It’s more the little stories and the experience with the open hearted people which makes a stay unforgettable and unique. But it is impossible to sell these stories…”
How did your multiple travels influence the way you interact with people from other cultures and/or people who are simply ‘different’ in your daily life?
“Every time I visit a remote village in Africa or South East Asia, suddenly I’m the ‘different’ guy. I am always surprised to see how the villagers willingly accept me, of course, as a foreigner. They are eager and happy to spend time with me and so am I.
The mutual curiosity to learn about each other’s culture forms the basis of our communication. Sometimes, it even marks the beginning of a friendship. I believe that everyone should adapt this type behaviour, with ‘different’ people, when back at home, in his daily life”.
Thank you Dietmar, I wish you a nice continuation.
> To see the photo gallery of Dietmar Temps, click here.
Please, share your impressions with us:
In your opinion, how important photography is to contribute in improving one’s diversity understanding?