Had a 24 hour stopover in Kathmandu, Nepal, where I visited the Pashupatinath Hindu Temple. The temple is popular with tourists, and the resident priests have become experts at ‘casually’ positioning themselves in oh-so-photographical arrangements. They then collect donations in exchange for ‘authentic’ photographs. Motives aside, they do a beautiful job, and the scenes they create seem worthy of a Hollywood art director.
Motives aside? Dude, you want to talk about cultural appropriation? BING! here we are. Should their motives be “yes, please put my culture on display”? They are already doing you a favor by not immediately telling you to piss off.
Can we propose a hypothetical? Let’s have tourists from Asia come to the US and take pictures of priests and ministers at churches all day long. All day. Including services. Would you question their motives if they asked for donations when you’re constantly taking pictures of them?
I myself have taken pictures of Hindu priests. I think their robes and colorings are amazing and make for some exquisite pictures too! But I’d never question their motives of wanting a donation for me shoving a camera in their face. They SHOULD get some money for my obnoxiousness!
We even have this in America. We give people money for the pleasure of taking pictures of them. Then we put them on display and critique them until they’re less than human. It’s called modeling.
Anyway, rant over. Never liked HONY, never will.