We’ve all seen the signs. We’ve all heard the security guards. And we’ve all sneaked a photo anyways.
I’m sorry, but I didn’t travel all this way not to take a picture. And why not? Is it really that horrible if I take a picture?? Some people say yes. Supposedly a camera flash can damage works of art. Ok, so why can’t I take a picture with no flash? Because of copyright issues? Because they want to make you pay for post cards and other souvenirs? I’m not sure. I’m not intentionally trying to hurt anything or anyone. And even if I’m pretty sure it’s going to come out crooked or blurry, I would still love a picture because it’s still a memory I’d like to have.
So sometimes it’s been on purpose, and sometimes I honestly didn’t know I couldn’t take photos. Either way, I’ve done it and I’m not the only one! Here are a few other rebels and their stories of sneaking photos all around the world, along with mine at the end.
Abu Simbel, Egypt
We’re always worried about getting in trouble for taking photos, but it actually happened at Abu Simbel. Usually, there’s no obvious reason for the prohibition on photography. We’ve come to understand that these policies are usually about selling more postcards. This profit motivation was illustrated for us at Abu Simbel in Egypt. We took a couple of photos inside without flash. One security guard said it was OK, another objected. The resulting action was swift: threats from the security guard to have our entire group thrown out – unless we paid him a bribe. This baksheesh bribe (translated as tip or gratuity) is a form of extortion. We try to respect rules and policies when we travel, but sometimes the urge for a good photo overtakes us.
Lance & Laura are two busy professionals who work to support their travel habit and write about their experiences on Travel Addicts
La Rochelle, France
I visited “Chateau de la Roche Courbon” castle in La Rochelle, France on a cruise excursion. The grounds are pretty, but the castle is very average. As my group entered the castle, I saw a portrait who resembled a friend back home, so I took a photo. The tour guide yelled furiously, shot me down in front of the whole group, and just threw an uncalled for tantrum. No photography was allowed. I respected their wishes throughout the tour though other foreigners did not. This wasn’t even a nice castle at all, why on earth they would be worried about someone taking photos I will never know. Save that rule for Peterhov Palace in Russia or Eilean Donan in Scotland…puullleeezzz.
Melody is an empty nester turned travel blogger at Wherever I May Roam who resides in sunny Florida and loves all travel, big or small
I was in Copenhagen, Denmark exploring a private district called Christiania. This self-proclaimed neighborhood was founded in 1971 by a group of rebellious hippies as a movement to freely grow and sell marijuana. In the center of town, there is a “Green Light District” where you can legally buy marijuana from hundreds of vendors in little huts. Around the area, there are a bunch of signs that say “The Laws of Christiania” which are: 1. NO PHOTOS 2. No weapons 3. No Violence 4. No private cars 5. No stolen goods 6. No sale of fireworks. Of course, I had to take a photo.
Drew is a 20-something kid from Arizona, who is obsessed with traveling, meeting new people, and having maximal amounts of fun everywhere around the world. Currently in Seoul, South Korea, you can follow his adventures at The Hungry Partier
Craig treated me to a getaway during our October holidays to Blackpool, England which was AMAZING. My extended family (like all eleven of us) attempted to go when I was younger but the mini bus broke down outside of Glasgow and we spent the day on the hard shoulder, so this was an exciting surprise. Now, Blackpool is all about ‘the shows’ – the fairground and also the theatre. Craig doesn’t really do theatre dahl’ing but my luck was in, ‘Thriller’ was playing and MJ is okay in his books. We attempted to document this romantic moment, discreetly, and this is one example of what we managed…. then a polite tap on the shoulder. Oh we are ‘bad’ (who’s bad?!)
Gemma and Craig are downing tools as teacher and tradesman to take a sabbatical and travel The Americas, beginning at SXSW Music Festival. Hop aboard for the ride at Two Scots Abroad
Buenos Aires, Argentina
I’d heard the Teatro Colon was one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world so I just had to check it out for myself. I was able to find a decently priced balcony seat, so I had a great view of the main concert hall and the ceiling frescoes. Unfortunately, as soon as I took a picture, a woman came up to me and said “No fotos” in Spanish. In English (I’m fluent in Spanish btw), I responded “Oh, I’m sorry.” Then I waited until she left and tried again. I don’t know how she knew, but she came back. That time I said “Ok, ok.” Then I tried again. I’m stubborn damn it. That third time she just looked at me with a death stare and I knew she was about to kick me out. So with the most apologetic face I could muster, I put my camera away.
So what do you think of the “No Photos” rule? Have you ever sneaked a pic?