For any tourist destination, its indigenous culture can be what defines and differentiates it from its competition. Think where Kenya would be without the imagery of its Masai warriors. Or more locally, where Papua New Guinea would be without the imagery of its Huli wigmen, where Vanuatu would be without the pictures of its Land Divers, where Australia would be without reference to its traditional Aborigines.
After all, a desire to experience a different culture first-hand is (hopefully) one of the main reasons people look to travel abroad.
As a professional tourism photographer looking to help authorities market their destinations in a competitive international environment, I’m particulalry keen to photograph a country’s traditional and contemporary culture in ways that make their destination both distinctive and appealing. To this end, I look to shoot culture from two different angles – to capture the romantic notion of its traditional past (this tends to be in a documentary style as well as a more friendly version of the same thing because so many documentary images look way too serious), and to project its contemporary culture as being welcoming and accessible.