Guides and Fixers
A guide, fixer or translator can be the most important person for a traveling photographer. This person can be a bridge between you and the culture you’re photographing. A guide, fixer or a translator can also help you gain access to people and places you never ever could access on your own. This is one of the main reasons to hire one.
Over the years I’ve met a few people who have fulfilled the role of a guide, fixer and translator for me. It’s not at all easy to find just the right person. Unfortunately I’ve lost contact with at least a couple wonderful people who I wish I could recommend. At the end of the day, there are only two people who I have maintained relationships with and have worked with more than once. I have recommended them to other photographers (who have asked) as well as curious travellers who want to know the country they travel in beyond the surface level.
Hardik Pandya - India
Best way to Contact - FRiend him on Facebook
I’ve known Hardik for 10 years. We met in the street in his home town of Junagadh. I never expected that Hardik would become one of my best friends in the world, my little brother, right hand man and a big reason for much of the success I've had. The guy helped me with my Rabari project, which put me on the map as a photographer and… importantly, he made a little more sense of the madness and the complexity of India.
Hardik’s English is excellent and his people skills are incredible. If you want to get anything done in any of the Hindi speaking states or Hardik’s native Gujarat, he is undoubtedly the man.
Alioune Jeune d'Azougui - Mauritania
Best way to Contact - Telephone (+22236777333)
I met Alioune in 2012 and I’ve worked with him twice during my two visits to Mauritania. While his main language is French, his English is constantly improving.
I could say that Alioune is still a boy, since he’s in his very early 20s, but, what he lacks in age, he makes up in experience. He has been a guide since his teenage years and really understands the dynamics of how things work in Mauritania. This is extremely important.
I’ll explain how valuable Alioune’s help was to me in a very simple and practical way. Before I met him I was ready to breeze through Mauritania. It was next to impossible to photograph people there and I didn’t know where any of the villages or nomadic settlements were.
Alioune opened a whole new world to me. He made me fall in love with Mauritania and its incredible culture. If you’re interested in going out into the desert, hanging out with nomads or, even doing something as wild as wacky as a wedding in an ancient desert town (yes, he’s organised one) look no further.