This gets quite close to the dilemma of the cartoons of Mohammed that have so inflamed the Muslim world. I've seen them on line and think they, in their political and editorial sense at least, are funny and very much in the manner of our Western press's iconoclastic tradition. But, as everyone now knows, they are extremely culturally insensitive and inflamatory to those of that faith. What to do? Respect another culture's mores or carry on blithely with one's own?

I've made the personal decision to avoid the imperialist legacy of insensitivity, and I say that despite a strong dislike for "political correctness" which, in its excesses, offends ME! However, were I informed that a potential photograph would be highly offensive to the culture it degrades, in that culture's own domain, I would absolutely refrain from making the image.

Where I live there is a large and ubiqitous Hassidic Jewish community that generally eschews picture taking, but National Geographic Magazine did a splendid story on that group thirty years ago when they were situated in Brooklyn. The photographs were stunning, but they weren't made surruptitiosly. George Tice did an equally wonderful photographic essay on the Amish who are also not keen on being photographed, but that too was done with the consent of the community. Those are the ways to do it right.