The portability and power of today’s cameras make it easy to snap a picture anywhere, anytime. The trouble is certain people and places have rules about what you can and can’t shoot. They can change at will and, as many travellers will have experienced firsthand, they’re not always well communicated.
It’s a subject that crops up a lot on the Thorn Tree forum. Members were recently discussing the ban on photography in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, sites that are off limits for shutterbugs in New York City, and whether certain areas in Iran would invite problems for the camera happy, while yoda9999 wonders if you can take pictures inside Middle Eastern airports.
And with the rules changing from moment to moment (or being invented outright by zealous employees), how’s a sojourning snapper supposed to keep it all straight?
USA Today columnist Andrew Kantor has a neat list of resources for photographers in the States, and there are plenty of guidelines that cover important general knowledge and street smarts, like this UK photographers’ rights website, and the popular (take it with you to wave at people), the Photographer’s Right Flyer.
We haven’t found a definitive, global list that keeps you in the know about what’s off limits and what isn’t, and frankly, we’re not sure it’d be possible to maintain one.
If you end up with shots that you somehow weren’t supposed to end up with, you might care to share them on Strictly No Photography, a photo sharing site for, erm, stuff that you’re not allowed to take photos of. There’s also this Flickr group, You Can’t Take Pictures Here!
Have you encountered unusual or unexpected photo taking policing on your travels? Where were you and what weren’t you allowed to photograph?
[Photo by Draconian Rain]