Skip to main content

Ted Szukalski

Gallery of fine art photography.

Photography Forbidden


During my recent trip via many European countries I have come across phrase “Photography Forbidden” far too many times. Museums, churches, castles and in one case a public street display these signs. I have inquired on many occasions “why?” only to receive very long winded and meaningless answers. The only credible answer I received was in Krakow’s Wawel castle: the castle displays a lot of light sensitive paintings and finishings. Bright flashes damage the paint and it is far to difficult to explain and enforce “No flash photography” so they ban every kind of photography – just in case.

In one place I was referred to ministry of Art and Culture to get a photo permit. Seriously, who, as a tourist, would ever bother with that and yet the staff were very serious that is the way to go.

Some places would have you buy their brochures and thus they feel their business model is threatened if you take your own photos. In these places I’ve offered to buy their brochure if they still let me take photographs. Only 1 (ONE) operator agreed to such deal.

Far more successful is a practice of a fee based license: when you purchase your entry tickets you pay small additional fee to get a one off photo/video license. I think that is the most sensible approach and it works well for both sides.

Naturally, the point and shoot, small camera owners disregard all these signs and requests and fire away with blinding flashes playing ignorance. However if you own a DSLR no one treats you on the same level.

As I renew my ACMP membership for this year I wonder how many professional and amateur photographs face the same issues. Happy clicking and watch the “forbidden zones”. And please if there are paintings involved obey these directives. I want my kids and eventually grandchildren and generations after them enjoy the works of art I can look at!