It probably doesn't come as a huge surprise that tourists are amongst the most reviled subgroups of human beings. Butchering languages, crowding up local spots, snapping photos without permission and dropping a few offensive comments along the way, few tourists manage to explore a new locale without vexing many a local in the process.
Photographer Nicolas Demeersman makes the universal aversion to tourism very, very clear in his photography series "Fucking Tourist." Demeersman captures portraits of citizens of Peru, Jordan, Cuba, Lebanon and beyond, dressed in local garb that many tourists might deem worthy of a snapshot. The one thing all Demeersman's subjects have in common? A proudly wielded middle finger, saying to tourists what so many wish they could -- a big fat "f*ck you."
Demeersman explained how the concept was born in an email to The Huffington Post: "I was motivated by a man who refused me asking to take his portrait, which he answered: 'Fuck off, I don't want to end up in a postcard.'" Thus the phrase "fucking tourist" came to mind.
"Every time I take a picture I spend some time in discussion with locals to understand the culture and the way they perceive tourists," Demeersman added. He then uploads the photos onto a blog, accompanied by a brief snippet of the conversation leading up to the image. One such conversation with a farmer in Bali reads:
The farmer: "The problem here is water."
Photographer: "But you have running water..."
The farmer: "In your hotel, yes."
Demeersman's series combines humor and gravity to shine light on a cultural practice that, while everyday and nearly ubiquitous, is a pretty ridiculous tradition when you think about it. The next time you're abroad and ask to snap a picture of a local, imagine their intense desire to flip you off. You probably won't be too off target.
"Fucking Tourists" is currently on view at Galerie Geraldine Banier in Paris.