Bringing a camera as a way to meet people

By Albin Hillert, Life on Earth Pictures

As a photographer, it’s interesting to hear people mention how cameras can be intrusive, a barrier, make people uncomfortable. While I have been in situations where this may be true, my experience is also quite often the opposite.

I’ve had the privilege of visiting quite a number of countries in the past few years. But I wasn’t always the most comfortable person on the road. In fact, I remember well how I used to find myself a bit of an awkward traveller, at least as far as connecting with new people goes.

What I’ve found is that with a camera in my hand, I have a more straightforward way to connect. To interact with people I’ve never met before. To start a conversation.

More often than not, I find people are keen to share a smile and have their stories told, as long as respect is shown and genuine interest expressed.

So here is a brief collection, of just a few photos I would have never taken. But more importantly, of people I might have never conversed with – had I not had a camera in my hand.

I’m so very glad I did.

Matabo Mosoeu is a cleaner at Scott Hospital, Maseru district, Lesotho.
A boy passes by Scott Hospital in Maseru district, Lesotho.
Mapontsi Ntjelo visits the mountain of Thaba Bosiu (‘Night Mountain’), in Lesotho.
Zachariah, gatekeeper at the Anaphora Institute, a Coptic Orthodox retreat and educational centre located north-west of Cairo.
Issam, a refugee child from Syria, practices walking on stilts, at a Swedish festival. 2016
Soko Mjanakheti is on his way to the clinic.