Ladakhi Ladies and a Guest in the Main Market, Leh

I was quite fascinated by this group of ladies selling vegetables in the main market Leh. I wanted to photograph them but my husband kept protesting, lets go and eat first, take it later, they will say no and he went on and on like that. I walked a short distance ahead and then turned back, not being able to resist it any more. I went close to them and asked in Hindi, ‘Can I take your photograph?’ The lady in the blue jacket (third from the right) was quite brusque and told me no. I was somewhat taken aback. I started walking back to where my husband was standing.

As I took a few steps she called me back and asked if I was interested in taking her photo alone or I would take of the entire group? I told her I was interesting in clicking the entire group. To my delight she said, then it was not a problem. Now the Main Market Leh is a tourist magnet. Some other people could sense an opportunity but being from other countries they did not had my Hindi advantage. A couple of them asked me if they too could take a photograph? I asked the ladies and they said it was OK. One of the guests quickly sat with them and all of us were merrily taking pictures. I was wondering what made them say no in the first place!

At another occasion I met a very interesting group of old ladies at the steps of a Stupa, while a prayer service was going inside. I asked them if I could take their photograph and they said no, and the answer remained no till the end. Well, I guess I cannot win them all. Do you ask for permission before taking a photograph?

10 thoughts on “Ladakhi Ladies and a Guest in the Main Market, Leh”

  1. I’m interested to know who the person is with the bright blue pants at the very right end of the photo? Is it a man or woman? he/she looks really western. Is there a story about that person?

  2. Mo, he is a foreigner, and his friend is also clicking a photo and he wanted to be featuring with the group. When I asked for permission from the ladies in Hindi, they asked me to inquire if they too can take a photograph. The ladies said yes. Ladakh attracts probably more foreign visitors than Indian.

  3. hey Mriduls, intrsting write-up. Jst like u,I’ve always had the inquisitive nature to visit new places & travel… plan2save-up & travel to 1 new place mayb evry yr. &thanks4stopping by my blog. Gimme ur email id & i’ll surely send u othr pics 🙂 … its probly bcoz of a foto-size-limit in blogs tht u cant c the inricate details.

  4. You have highlighted a problem all us photographers have. Other people provide some of the most interesting subjects for photography and yet we all feel uncomfortable when we find strangers photographing us!

  5. Viji, thanks for coming by.Anonymous, I wish you left a name or better still link to your website. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts here. I actually work as a college teacher and travel only twice a year or a little more sometimes but yes, I love travelling.

  6. When I travel I always feel torn about whether or not to photograph people. While in Guatemala I got some Beautiful photos, the Mayan women wear the most gorgeous textiles, but many preferred not to have their picture taken and the most willing were those from whom I’d bought something. I always try to respect people’s wishes, but sometimes I think “WOW that’s a beautiful scene” and I just want to capture it, but I guess there’s a kinda exploitative aspect of photographing another person.

  7. Anurag, thanks a lot for your comment.Crystal, first of all thanks for sharing your thoughts. I guess people in interior Indian cities are much more easier to photograph. They do not mind it. In my entire trip I had two refusals. This was the first time I ever had a digital camera and I tried taking pictures of a few local people. I too feel it is very tricky.

  8. Hi mridula when is your next trip to leh. I am a resident of leh and I know the 2nd person from left, we are from the same village. rigzinmrp atg mail dot com.

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