Being a photographer in a foreign country can be a blessing and a curse. We are constantly surrounded by incredible colors, intriguing lifestyles and exotic people. It’s hard not to run up to locals and start snapping away. Fortunately, courtesy keeps us from shoving a camera in somebody’s face before asking first. Oftentimes we give up the opportunity of an amazing photo for fear of being rejected or making the local feel awkward. And other times, very rarely, a beautiful portrait falls in our laps. This was one of those times.
We were walking through the gorgeous rolling hills of Nebaj, Guatemala when we passed a yard of giggling girls. We waved and just after we passed, one of the girls ran out screaming “photo!” We looked at each other and raced to wrestle our cameras out of our bags. The rest of the group was shy, hiding at the sight of our cameras, but Josefina confidently placed her hands on her hips to pose. With a beautiful toothy smile, she proceeded to pose like a model in her very own photo shoot. The large indigenous population of this area of Guatemala, the Ixil Triangle, has had a rocky history. The local Mayan communities tend to be, understandably, a bit more closed to tourists and weary of photographers. We felt very lucky for this opportunity to photograph such a sweet local girl in her traditional and colorful clothing.