No Photography

Wat Pathum Wanaram, Bangkok

Originally uploaded by Ian Fuller

I tend to ignore “no photography” signs in Bangkok unless there is a really good reason – or armed soldiers standing nearby.

I try to be considerate, don’t use flash or a tripod and it’s a public place. I cannot see the harm in photography. The temple shop does not even sell postcards.

“No photography” signs seem to be everywhere in Bangkok. Interestingly it’s officially banned on the Subway but allowed on the Skytrain. Most buildings have signs at the entrance. My apartment building has them in the elevators / lifts.

I have rarely been challenged for taking pictures where it’s prohibited. Once I was photographing an apartment building on Soi Thong Lor that I was considering for a place to live. A guard rushed over and politely told me it isn’t allowed – from the public street no less. I apologized, smiled and moved on.

I can see some justification for the unfortunately common “security reasons”. If you walk down Sathorn Road past the Australian Embassy carrying a camera the security guards will often tell you “no photography” before you’ve even lifted your camera. They’re dressed in special Australian style bush hats.

A few weeks ago I photographed an old car on Wireless Road and a very observant security guard waved at me from the opposite side of the road. I was near the residence of the American Ambassador, even though I didn’t realize it at the time.

What do you think?



3 Responses to “No Photography”

  1. BKKPhotographer Says:

    Of course, there’s a Flickr group “Photography is not allowed” at

  2. I’m a Photographer Not a Terrorist! « Bkkphotographer's Blog Says:

    […] the plethora of “no photography” signs in Bangkok I have not had any issues with photography beyond the trivial. Certainly no […]

  3. Computer Section at Chula Books, Bangkok « Bkkphotographer's Blog Says:

    […] I have a photo of the computer book section at Chula Books from a visit in July. I am sure photography is not allowed there, but nobody caught me. Please don’t tell! Computer Section at Chula […]

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