“Ma’am may permit po ba kayo?” (Ma’am do you have a permit?) “Bawal po kasi pag walang permit.” (It’s not allowed if you don’t have a permit)
These are the same lines we hear every time security guards catch us taking photos in public. Mind you this only happens when I’m using my DSLR. I really do not understand it;
It’s okay to take photos if you’re using a point-and-shoot digital camera or a camera phone. What’s the difference if you’re using a DSLR? It’s still a camera for crying out loud. It’s okay to take photos if you’re taking photos of someone you know, but if you’re just going to take a photo of the area or what-have-you, it’s not allowed. Yeah this totally makes sense! It’s okay to take a photo if you’re a tourist, but if you are by any chance Filipino, you have to present a permit before you click. Define discriminating against one of your own?
Whenever you ask them why it is not allowed, or why they need a permit, they stare at you blankly and just say it’s not allowed. I understand that they’re just doing what they were told to, but what’s so wrong with what we’re doing that it has to be forbidden? It’s not like we’re building a structure in the middle of the road, it’s not like we’re spray-painting on public property, it’s not like we’re disturbing the peace. We’re taking harmless, photographs! They don’t tell a painter to stop painting a picture of a tree in a park right? What’s the difference? Instead of a brush and a canvas we use our cameras.
We’re on public domain, how can you tell us that we can’t take photos of something that is public property? We are the public. All the infrastructures, roads, government buildings, etc belong to the public. I’d understand if we lived in a country where the government subsidizes all the taxes and literally owned everything but as long as we pay our taxes we are entitled to everything the government provides, we technically own what we’re taking photos of. What harm can a photo of the Manila skyline do? What can be so wrong with taking a shot of trail lights under a bridge? Can someone enlighten me?
And they say it’s a free country… yeah right.
To all fellow hobbyists, enthusiasts and street photographers we deserve to have our freedom as well. Let’s fight for this.