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Two Words I Don’t Like…No foto

November 26, 2009

There are two words I don’t like…”no foto” (“no photo” always appears under them). I have never seen them so much in my until I began to enter churches in Italy (and Museums). Many places in the US the signs say “no flash”, which I completely understand (I don’t like the flash anyway). The flash has the ability to hurt the thing one is looking at because it is already in a fragile condition and if many people took pictures with flashes, there would be an impact. However I do not understand the increased amount of “no foto” signs in churches in Italy. These churches are absolutely stunning with their unique and old architecture style. And I want to document this. I’m an art history major, so I will use these pictures I take to insert into pictures and look at over and over to analyze them, yet how can I do that when I can’t even take a photo.

So I’ve stopped paying attention to the signs…when the place is crowded. In a crowded place you can often sneak a few photographs, they might not be good, but at least there is something to remember it by. However the Italian guards notice when you take a picture (even in some of the crowded spaces) and they either say loudly “no foto” or, in the case of the Sistine Chapel, they make you delete the picture. (I understand the inability to take pictures of the Sistine Chapel, because the people who have paid for the expensive restoration hold photography rights over the ceiling.) Yet really some of the other places…I do not understand the need for the sign. So I guess I will just have to keep sneaking pictures with my little point and shoot until you take the signs down.

(Sorry there are no pictures to go along with this post…but that’s kind of the point.)

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 26, 2009 5:51 pm

    It seems amazing to me that the glorious tributes to God should be kept from those that enjoy them.

    In my world, I am lucky that I have access to buildings that others do not get. No foto is a sound that I work hard to get around. Perhaps a word with the Pope…

  2. November 26, 2009 9:47 pm

    Yes, its a great pity that photography isn’t allowed in such historic places.
    I don’t think its totally forbidden in churches etc over here… though permission probably needs to be sought first.

  3. November 27, 2009 6:41 am

    I have same kind of experiencies in Italy. Not in every churches where I visited, but anyway. So it seems that in diffent countries people has difficulties to take photo inside churches from different reasons.

    Here in my country for example churches are open for public during summer months. When the country is big, during a day one can take photos (inside / outside) from 8-10 churches. To me it means average 600 kilometers car trip in a day and from 8 to 12 hours depending the route. Now I am not talking those churches in big cities, but about those which are “strewed” here and there and where the roads are not in so glorious conditions.

    BTW, I just published blog from a very old wooden church.

  4. Rhonda Stansberry permalink
    November 29, 2009 2:28 pm

    So true! It’s does seem to me though that this happened to us more in Italy than anywhere else! I also ignored and snapped away!

  5. November 29, 2009 11:47 pm

    I wonder if it is because they hope to sell postcards and images themselves and visitors snapping their own pictures would be less inclined to purchase such.

    Were there gift shops at these places?

  6. November 30, 2009 10:53 am

    Some do have gift shops, some don’t. A lot of the churches do not have direct gift shops. Mainly I just want to take pictures of details and for me artistically. Picture I most likely will not be able to find a post card of.

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