A photographer went around the world and asked people what they thought of tourists

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Wednesday 29 June 2016 01:00

As the weather warms and the school holidays arrive, thousands of Britons will be donning the hats and slathering on the sun cream on the outskirts of a "quaint" seaside resort somewhere in the Med.

And as the stereotype goes, many local people will probably be hating the sun-burnt faces and loud refusal to attempt communication in anything other than English.

Well, 35-year-old photographer Nicolas Demeersman’s photography series "Fucking Tourist" demonstrates some interesting perspectives on that very dynamic.

From the locals' point of view.

indy100 caught up with Demeersman to find out more about his project:

How were you inspired?

I was inspired by a local who refused to let me take his picture. His literal response was: 'fuck off, I don't want to end up on a postcard.'

First I thought to myself, 'fucking local ...', but then I thought okay, why not ask him to portray his feelings in the photo?

He gave the middle finger, I took the picture, and that was how the series, ‘Fucking Tourist’, was born.


Demeersman continued the photo series around the world, visiting Jordan, Cuba, Tanzania, Colombia, Peru, India, Lebanon, France, and compiled them in his blog, Jolipunk.

Some locals were very much of the ‘fucking tourist’ opinion; it embarrassed and annoyed them to see so many tourists, in their short shorts, coming off of tourist buses.

Other locals were of the 'tourist fucker' opinion, meaning that they saw tourists as walking wallets.

We are money making opportunities for them.


How willing were the people you photographed?

I had a lot of nos for different reasons. Some people do not want to bite the hand that feeds them; others love the idea but simply do not want to have their photo taken.

Every time I want to take a picture I spend some time to discuss with the local, to understand the culture and the way they perceive tourists.


What kind of reactions has the photo series had?

Some love it and believe it highlights the state and effects of tourism. Others dislike it because it feels like a criticism of the tourist industry, which they believe is good industry for poorer countries.


Do you think there is a problem with tourist industries around the world?

The photo series was not created to give opinions or pick a side, just to try and relate the facts.

Meeting the Masai was an example of this. Their government has relocated them into a park, like a sort of human zoo; this is also the same land that is one of the most visited places in Tanzania.

Subsequently the Masai have begun their own business of selling their culture to tourists. In one respect it is sad to see this; in another it is good for them to earn some money.


I don't try to impose my idea or concept on the subject, but instead try to brief or guide them…their visceral and universal reaction is reflected as a middle finger.

Demeersman is currently exhibiting his work in Galerie Geraldine Banier in Paris, but you can have a look at his work on Jolipunk.com too.

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