Outside the precincts of the photographic

places where photography is banned

There is something innately governing the considerations that link popularity with photos. Assuming such character in pretty much every arena of occurrence is this intertwined dynamics that sees pictures necessarily mark the awareness in fame. Whether that be of people or places or things, the appeal persists as photos being an assertion indeed in recognition. Exceptions though prevail indeed in as much universality, particularly fostered in instances of a complete mismatch in popularity and picturisation. Consider for instance the following examples in a massively popular pursuing of touristry appeal but regulated by considerable exercise of restraints upon their rampant snapping, making photography quite a phenomenon peculiarly perceived so much so to be complete ban.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower photography ban
Source: Architectural Digest

This of course is an unlikely mention in the list and one that holds only partially indeed. Taking pictures of what identifies veritably as one of the most visited monuments of the world is as enthusiastic a pursuit as the seeking out of its beauty. But turns out that one can only go about striking poses in and around France’s cultural icon when it is daytime. For when night descends upon the world and bathes also the already majestic tower in even more alluring shades of dazzle, any pursuit in capturing the surreal sight in one’s camera lens manifests as illegal. Weird but true!

Even when that might not emerge as a strictly restrictive policy since pictures projecting the night time view of the Eiffel Tower are not rare to come by, the requirement is one of copyrighted intentions. A special lighting display that occurs as a regular nighttime feature ever since its conceiving in 1989 as a 100th anniversary celebratory marker is what makes night time photography of the Eiffel Tower emerge as illegal in its specification.

With copyright law therefore as the basis of this ban that not many are aware of, any act of photography that depicts the tower in all glory of its lit up gorgeousness is likely a punishable offence. Whether that be the obvious application of its character to professional photographers or a consideration in the simultaneously mere but profound delight of globetrotters and holidaymakers and even local visitors to this globally gushed over site of a UNESCO status, night time photography of the Eiffel Tower is prohibited indeed.

Taj Mahal

Up next on the list is another equally popular and no less confounding a ‘proclamation’ in the photography ban, with the ultimate Monument of Love unfavoring shutterbugs. Another of the world’s most visited monuments that which claims also the UNESCO tag of being a World Heritage Site, the grand identity of the Taj Mahal too does not entertain the unrestricted glare of the camera to extreme extents of it.

A representative image of the rich history and heritage of India and also one of the New Wonders of the World, the monument is specific also in the assertion of the photography ban. It is inside the building across a particular zone of spanning that the complete restrictions pertain in the photographic consideration. The basis for this ban though is in stark contrast to what largely sums up the narrative against photographing the Eiffel Tower.

The main mausoleum of the Taj isn’t allowed to be photographed in any circumstance, stemming perhaps from the requirement of regard and respect expected to be adhered to in such premises of significance. But there also is another aspect in what governs the prevalence of this prohibition that persists in photographic pursuing of the prominent presence of this world famous white marbled structure.

The more scientific and necessary reason why the photography ban is upheld is one intricately concerned with the eminence itself of the monument. An immensely sensitive build, weighed down already by the rampant treading of tourists and affected also by related as well as independent environmental factors, the marble majesticness of the Taj Mahal is also irreversibly impaired by the overwhelming clicks of the camera. The photochemical reaction facilitating the process of photographing harms the marble walls which is why complete restrictions exist against the practice.

Statue of David

Statue of David
Source: Conde Nast Traveler

One of the most famous specimens of Renaissance art, Michelangelo’s statue of David is as famous in its complete ban of the cameras. That asserts though as a disputed claim since numerous visitor accounts abound of how they have been indeed allow to click pictures of the statue. Such claims indeed would be at least partially true since there have been efforts made on part of the administration to relax the ban across some aspects of its consideration.

The reason why the ban on photography prevails in the first place asserts as a general draw upon similar such restrictions that seek to protect the originality of any piece of art, both in essence as well as in esthetics. Despite the laxity allowed though acknowledging indeed the power of photography in the contemporary context, the statue of David still does not allow more modern photographic equipment like selfie sticks to stick out as an almost compulsive trait of visitors and tourists alike.

Neuschwanstein Castle

A picture perfect rendition delivered upon a fairytale like premise, the exquisite identity of the Neuschwanstein Castle nestled in Germany’s picturesque settings is one steeped in awestruck realisations of its grandeur. The picture of which it paints as a magical and majestic structure housed in considerable allure is one of global fame. That itself is a draw upon the breathtaking architecture summing up the exterior of this palace as historically reputed as it is gorgeously jaw dropping. And while there exists no restrictions whatsoever in exploring the beauty of the unmissable sight that the castle manifests as in a striking assertion of reality, the insides of the palace happens to be out of bounds for coveting captures through the lenses.

As the inspiration behind the overwhelming wonder that expresses as a global phenomenon of the Disney World, it is disappointing that pictures of the palace’s dazzling interiors are not a matter of personal approach. The castle of paradox as it is aptly known in regard to its not any mesmerising history, the Neuschwanstein Castle cannot indeed be accessed by the cameras of even the most stately beings.

Valley of the Kings

Valley of the Kings
Source: History Hit

Another World Heritage Site finding itself furthering also the anti- photography stance is the famed Valley of the Kings in Egypt. Asserting as the world’s most magnificent burial grounds is this expanse of archaeological importance that is also as popular in its drawing of the tourists. The welcoming nature of such proclamation though does not entail an accompanying invite for the cameras with concerns essentially expressed in the conservatory requirements of its heritage essence. There though has been a relaxation allowed in this regard some half a decade earlier with non flash photography permitted in certain cases. But the general knowledge still prevails of this vivid presence of epicness being an unfurling along the regulated realms of photography.

Grand Canyon Skywalk
United States

The natural grandeur of the Grand Canyon might be a case in easy access despite its occurring along the extremes of a geographical extent but the man made construct of the Skywalk across one dimension of the vast landform isn’t as far as photography is concerned. While there exists no specifications whatsoever as to who can step foot upon this glass cantilever bridge to soak in the stupendous sights of the surroundings, carrying cameras is prohibited still in this walk aroused indeed in wonder. The reasoning ensues as a mishandling of cameras that might damage the glass structure, incurring such costs of not just economic bearing but also of safety concerns.

Sistine Chapel

Copyright considerations again are what dictate the non permissibility of photography practices at the Sistine Chapel. An esteemed consideration within the realm of the artistic, while being prominent as well in its cultural relevance of a religious basis, this famed structure located in Vatican City is also the only such monument within that expanse where peeks of the camera are not entertained. The nature of such ban however does not concern with the more obvious connotations in protecting the pieces of art themselves from a likely infringement of their ‘privacy’.

The copyright curations that prevail in restricting photographic exploits across the span of the Sistine Chapel is one of a different stemming. The restoration work undertaken in the 1980s of the 15th century structure is what brought about this dictum in working. With Nippon Television Network Corporation majorly funding the efforts at reinstating the popular image of the chapel with a whopping US$4.2 million provided for this purpose, the filming rights of the iconic structure came to rest with the Japanese venture. Earning therefore exclusive rights to photography and videography of the artwork is what brought this currently standing ban in place. In fact even after more than a couple of years since Nippon’s rights expired in 2019, photography continues to be discouraged at the Sistine Chapel.

Kumsusan Palace of the Sun
North Korea

The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun’s residing in the greatly off limits nation of North Korea more than establishes already its ’eminence’ in bans galore. Naturally then, photography and videography is not permitted in rather expected accounts of its functioning as what is still a tourist destination. Even then though, the palace can only be accessed by visitors through an official government tour that itself employs a strict procedure in admission. Depositing all belongings at the entrance itself evidently spells out the restrictive nature of this viewing. The mausoleum housing the embalmed bodies of the former heads of state Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il is this Kumsusan Palace of the Sun that is one of the least surprising emergence therefore on this list of the banned.