India requires license for photographers so they don’t “pester” visitors in protected monuments

Jun 2, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

India requires license for photographers so they don’t “pester” visitors in protected monuments

Jun 2, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Have you already been to India and photographed Taj Mahal and other famous monuments? If you haven’t, from now on you may need a license to do it. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is changing their photography policy, and they will soon require photographers to be licensed if they want to operate commercially in India’s protected monuments.

Unlike the Swiss village that banned photography, this isn’t a PR trick. The reason for this move by ASI is to prevent freelance photographers from “pestering” the visitors who want to take photos.

The proposed amendment states that photographers who want to take photos for commercial purposes need to have a license from an archaeological officer or ministry of tourism. According to Times of India, “ASI will determine the number of photographers required per monument by assessing the extent and size, growth potential and footfall at the sites. It will then provide the details to the ministry.” As an ASI official stated in this paper, “it is essential for ASI to provide quality photographers at the monuments to facilitate and enhance the experience of monument visits. It has now become essential to ensure that they do not harass visitors.”

ASI manages almost 3,700 ancient monuments, archaeological sites and remains of national importance. Taj Mahal is only one of them, but probably most familiar to all of us. In addition to licensing commercial photographers, the official stated that they may also “introduce the bio-metric system to regulate their movement inside the monuments.

Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of issuing permission for commercial photographers. I also had to apply for it to take photos at certain locations. But this is the first time I hear that the reason is “tourists who pester visitors.” From the point of view of a photographer, I’d say it’s usually tourists who pester photographers, not the other way around. But of course, I may be wrong, and the situation isn’t always the same.

Anyhow, I still find the reason for this decision pretty unusual. What about you? Are you ever a tourist pestered by photographers, or you’re always a photographer whose view gets blocked by tourists? Do you find the reason for this legislation reasonable?

[via DPReview, Times of India, cover image credits: Sreeju1001]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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14 responses to “India requires license for photographers so they don’t “pester” visitors in protected monuments”

  1. Douglas Smith Avatar
    Douglas Smith

    Probably the ones that stand there and stare at you who know you’re trying to get a clean shot of the monument and not them standing there scratching their asses

  2. Jamie Homes Avatar
    Jamie Homes

    Subodh Shetty!

  3. Vignesh Baliga Avatar
    Vignesh Baliga

    I have not read the article on ToI news, but my guess is the freelance photographers are people who grab a camera from somewhere and try to sell their service there, some of them can be pushy and arrogant. Pestering? Yes can be.. I saw this coming from the Govt.
    By “Grab a camera from somewhere”, I mean they are not professional photographers, they learn composing and lighting on job, prices are not fixed.. depends on tourist. It’ll be sad if you were his/her first customer.

  4. Becky Jones Avatar
    Becky Jones

    What if I am a visitor and a photographer

  5. James Avatar
    James

    “tourists who pester visitors.” [ translation ] a.holes with DSLRs who scream at regular tourist to ‘get the f* outta my shot, I’m trying to work here’ …that is the real problem their trying to address.

  6. Anthony Kerstens Avatar
    Anthony Kerstens

    I’ve been to the Taj Mahal, Qutab Minar, and the Red Fort, and I can’t say I’ve ever noticed these pesky photographers. However, they do need to crack down on the security guards that offer to take your photo for you (with your camera) then expect cash for apparently being so nice. They also need to crack down on the so-called “tour guide” to whom you pay a fee only to be rushed through the site and quickly out the door to merchants from whom they receive kick-backs.

    1. Tim Schultz Avatar
      Tim Schultz

      The tour guide/kickback thing is prevalent in most third world countries. I hate it too.

  7. Karen Padilla Avatar
    Karen Padilla

    Always check the rules and regulations for any monuments, no matter where they are. On example is that photographing the Eiffel Tower at night is possible but it is illegal to sell that photograph because there is a trademark on the well-known monument by the company that installed the lighting. The National Parks in the United States have rules for photographers and visitors. Some parks require permits. The National Mall in D.C. bans tripods and monopods but there are exceptions. Follow the rules – you have no problems. Don’t follow them and it could cost you a lot of money. Better to Goggle it before you end up in some foreign jail.

    1. artstyle329 Avatar
      artstyle329

      The Eiffel Tower has trademark rights. And though the Eiffel Tower’s structure is in the Public Domain, the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel that manages its structure protects its evening lighting from commercial exploitation via French copyright law:

      “The various illuminations of the Eiffel Tower (golden illumination, twinkling, beacon and events lighting) are protected. The use of the image of the Eiffel Tower at night is therefore subject to prior authorisation by the SETE. This use is subject to payment of rights, the amount of which is determined by the intended use, the media plan, etc.”

      http://www.toureiffel.paris/en/the-eiffel-tower-image-and-brand/filming-at-the-eiffel-tower.html

  8. RAVEE MAHADEVAN Avatar
    RAVEE MAHADEVAN

    I would never go to a site like the Taj Mahal or Eiffel Tower and expect someone else to do commercial photography for me and sell the print. Talking of taking your pictures- without a licence to do- by touts is again a phenomenon on the free fall. With your phone cameras giving excellent pictures for a selfie- without a fee- and the visitor being at his own mercy other than the ‘ guards’, who would want to pester a visitor from the rest of the globe and expect him to fall for such antics? Defuse me, please.

  9. Mark Niebauer Avatar
    Mark Niebauer

    Horrible. Government run amok again. No one will be able to breathe without a permit. India really did fall to the British after all.

  10. Daniel D. Teoli Jr Avatar
    Daniel D. Teoli Jr

    Years ago when I wanted to shoot at the Twins Festival that Mary Ellen Mark shot, they wanted a $1000 freelancers license fee whether it is commercial or just snapshot shooter.

  11. CanonMinolta Avatar
    CanonMinolta

    They better have licenses for sale at each site if they expect tourists to get them

    Also wonder what makes a tourist a professional photographer and how would

    Should keep tourists away

  12. Scott Sorensen Avatar
    Scott Sorensen

    The locals, guards and tour guides crack down on them. Along with the rude people who jump in you photo and that nasty woman who after waiting 40 mins to get a reflection shot of the Taj Mahal stopped and looked at me and then looking at me splashed the water…..20 more mins waiting finally giving up because the locals keep getting in the frame and waving. India attractions are some of the worst places. Ah the joys of travel photography.