Should We Ask Before Taking a Photo?

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In many tourist areas such as Morocco, one sees alot of photos being taken of the locals.  Im sure I appear in many I don’t know about.

My friend Mayta, who works in the busy medina at Marrakech, made a good comment about this.  She said that we would not think of walking into a busy bank or store, in a place like New York city, for example, and start taking random photos of the employees at work; and yet, that is what’s happening in Marrakech, where the locals working there are constantly photographed…and in many other tourist areas as well.

Should we ask permission before we snap a photo?

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So I starting thinking….under what circumstances do I take my photos?

Usually I try to ask first…or at least gesture so that they understand.  If they say no, I respect this.

In some cases, one person says yes, and the other person turns their back;  or in a group of people, they cover their faces if they don’t want to be seen.

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Is it ethical to take a photo of someone sleeping?                Or of beautiful children…..even if you’ve given them something?


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I was taking a photo of the beautiful door and someone walked by.               Or I usually take photos from behind.


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Sometimes I will take a “selfie” just to capture the scene behind me.

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Here I took a ‘selfie’ to  capture the scene behind me …..and then the three men gestured for me to come and take their photo!


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I came across this beautiful man in the medina; he was dyeing wool in vats of bowling hot dye in the 100 degree weather of Marrakech.  I asked permission and he allowed me to take this photo….which I love.  I then showed him the photo of himself…something I usually do….and he brought me to his little shop across the way, to view a poster of him made a few years ago.  He then asked me to choose a colour of wool;  I chose berber blue which he cut a small piece of and wrapped around my wrist.  In return, I gave him a few mint candies that I had.   It was a beautiful exchange.


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