• This photo taken at a sacred lake in Tibet has sparked plenty of debate (Weibo)Source: Weibo
A tourist has come under fire in Tibet for posing nude on the banks of a sacred lake.
Bianca Soldani

19 Apr 2016 - 8:24 AM  UPDATED 19 Apr 2016 - 2:06 PM

Tourists the world over are recognised for always having their cameras at the ready, but the happy snaps they take as mementos of their adventures aren’t always the most appropriate.

Recently, a string of arrestshave followed the widespread social media shaming of people who have taken insensitive travel photos.

And yet it seems that despite increased attention on the matter, people are still blurring the lines of what is and isn’t ok.

Just last week a traveller came under fire after posing naked at a holy lake in Tibet.

The female model was visiting Yamdrok Lake, one of the region’s four sacred lakes, when she began stripping down to pose for a photoshoot of sorts.

The person behind the lens, Yu Feixiong, shared the images on microblogging site Weibo alongside the words: “A good photographer and a good model have broken cultural and ethnic barriers.”

A fierce debate quickly ensued.

Some users believed the photos – which picture the woman in a series of provocative, nude and semi-nude poses – were disrespectful of local customs while others saw them simply as art.

“Why can't they do this shoot? The human body is a natural gift to humankind. Why can we not face our own bodies?” one person commented, while another remarked, “An amazing photographer plus an amazing model reveal that they have no basic cultural or moral understanding”.

A third said, “Your self-obsessed social media pictures are violating the privacy of a holy place... please keep it to yourself.”

Reports have since been circulating that the photographer has received a 10-day detention.

The incident comes, of course, after the extraordinary rise in popularity in a trend that sees (mostly Western) tourists get naked to capture a unique holiday photo.

This becomes particularly problematic when the backdrop to their images is a site of strong cultural, religious or historical significance, including Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple. Last year at the temple, a woman was seen posing topless; three tourists from Italy, Argentina and the Netherlands took photos of their bare bottoms; and a trio of French holiday-makers were caught in the nude, all within the confines of the ancient ruins.

Meanwhile last month at Peru’s Machu Picchu (pictured below), a British man was arrested for shedding his layers and flexing his muscles at the historical site.

But as social media has so aptly shown us, you don’t have to get your kit off to ruffle people’s feathers.

Back in 2013, Rihanna was asked to leave the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi after taking inappropriate pictures on its grounds.

She did not have permission to stage a photoshoot and was deemed to have disregarded the ‘status and sanctity’ of the place of worship.

It didn’t stop her from later sharing the images (pictured below) on her Instagram page, however.


Less famous people have also been held to account after staging fully clothed, but nonetheless inappropriate, photos that have caused offence.

It clearly hasn't been enough to stop it happening.