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Photography throughtout Turkey

I am an avid photographer and was wondering if there are any photographic sensitivities to be aware of when traveling throughout
Turkey? Thank you in advance!

Posted by
10344 posts

Could you share what your preliminary concerns on this have been?

Posted by
1196 posts

We were in Turkey in 2011 and 2013 and had no problem taking pictures in mosques. We were dressed and behaved respectfully, as anyone should in any place of worship.

Posted by
14326 posts

No issues anywhere. In fact, the opposite happened. I was on an RS tour and we stopped at a market seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Before we left the bus, our guide cautioned us not to take photos of the people since they didn't like it. After taking a couple of shots of inanimate objects, I suddenly had several older women literally tugging at my sleeve for me to take photos of them.

Posted by
35 posts

Respect is everything. Unless you are taking a sneaky photo with a zoom lens it is best to ask the potential subjects do they mind. If you have just had a pleasant experience with them such as a good meal, admired their baby etc they will be delighted to have their photo taken.

Posted by
448 posts

Here is my recent experience. I was in London and then Istanbul in September of this year. While in London I visited the Whitechapel neighborhood which is now heavily populated with Muslims from Pakistan. There was an open air market where I took a photograph of a large booth that sold clothing. The woman who was in charge of the booth came over and asked if her image was included in the picture. When I answered in the affirmative she was adamant that I delete the picture. I did this and then scrolled though the images to show her that this was done. This spooked me about taking photographs of Muslim women even in London.

Jump forward to Istanbul. While visiting the Blue Mosque I noticed large numbers of women in traditional Muslim clothing who were taking photographs of each other and taking selfies. The prohibition about capturing the image of a woman in a photograph must vary with the different branches of Islam. There was a really cute child about 2 years old in what appeared to be a youth outfit for Islam. I requested of this child's parents permission to photograph the kid (couldn't tell if it was a boy or girl since there was so much clothing) but they said "no" which I respected.

As another person has said you can probably take photographs without permission if you have a telephoto lens are not "in someone face". Otherwise you should be respectful of a person's religion or sense of personal privacy by asking permission.

Also, don't fall for the scam of being asked for money after you have taken a photograph of someone even after you have received their permission. This happened to me in the small fishing town just below the Black Sea where the public ferry ends up on the cruise of the Bosphorus. I laughed this off and wasn't bothered anymore. I don't think these folks were scammers - they were fishermen - and probably really did not think that they could get money off me (as opposed to the "gladiators" who hang out around the Collossum in Rome.

Posted by
448 posts

Let me add that there some historic sites that do not let you take photographs. For example, at the Topkapi Palace you can take photographs most anywhere except the room with religious artifacts, the treasury (where the Topkapi dagger is on display), and the armoury. Signs will be posted. I don't recall any restrictions at the Blue Mosque but it is considered to be rude to photograph worshipers.

Posted by
14326 posts

Aren't the mosques closed to tourists during prayer times?

Posted by
448 posts

Hi Chani:

At the Blue Mosque there were times when the place was closed to tourists when a prayer service was taking place. During the times when tourists were allowed in there were still worshipers who entered a fenced off area to pray. This is what I meant; it was disrespectful to take photographs of people on their knees praying. Unfortunately, there were clueless tourists who entered the worship area with their cameras in order to take a better photo of the mosque's dome ceiling - they looked so out of place but no one, at least while I was there, asked them to leave.

Posted by
8293 posts

Put a camera in the hands of some people and they become total boors.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you all for your responses. Very much appreciated!

Unfortunately, there were clueless tourists who entered the worship
area with their cameras in order to take a better photo of the
mosque's dome ceiling - they looked so out of place but no one, at
least while I was there, asked them to leave.

You will always run into travelers like this! :)

Posted by
4 posts

Hi All,

I went to Istanbul last year, there were no issues taking picture in the worship place like Blue Mosque or St. Antonio Church in Taksim.
even i took the dome photos inside Blue Mosque. but I did tried to conceal the shoot, so it won't fuss other people.
The only warning i got from the security officer is inside Balisica Cistern, but it was due using tripod ( as the place were dark) .. well my bad :)
Anyway I post short video on SultanAhmet interesting Areas, below hope it help you to get ideas about the places :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61e2cKRLa_o