"No Photography" with maximum nastiness

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NCV
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"No Photography" with maximum nastiness
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I have been doing a long-term personal project on the area of Italy around Mantua that was once ruled by the Gonzaga family. It is a mostly monument-based project.

I started out using a M43 camera with IBIS that allows hand shooting down to 1/15 or so, but I wanted to up the quality a bit and so went FF with shift lenses, which means I need a tripod.

The FF phase has gone well with lots of help from people I have met on the way, lights turned on and distractions moved without me asking. I have had some nice conversations too. People have seemed pleased that some mad foreigner has taken an interest in their “minor” monuments.

But it was inevitable that I would meet a “stronzo” along the way. In fact, I am surprised it did not happen before. Photography seems to be some sort of crime to some.

I decided to photograph the Romanic Basilica in san Benedetto Po. This is a monument that more important than most that I have photographed. In fact, you pay to see the best bits (moneylenders in the church?) and you have to take the obligatory guided tour (how I hate these breakneck paced tours where I cannot stop and wonder in silence and at length). But a part of the church is free and nobody was about, so I set up the camera to do my thing.

I had just set up to do the main nave when a guide with a tour turned up. I did not just get the usual “sorry no photography” but I got a curt instruction to leave the building.

I am not one who takes these stupid photography bans well, especially if the “banner” is rude. So, I inquired at the entrance. To cut a long story short, it seems that putting the camera on a tripod is considered it seems “professional photography” and in Italian monuments (as in France) photography is grudgingly allowed for personal use only.

I had done the guided tour a couple of years ago with my EM5, which not looking “professional” let me get some pictures.

We have a huge unemployment problem here in Italy and our Culture minister talks on TV about the possible boost to the economy Italy’s endless cultural patrimony could give. But they also seem to have a greater fear that somebody might earn a few Euros selling pictures of said patrimony. They have not cottoned on to the fact that “stock” photos are almost worthless.

Also employing rude and tactless personnel needs to be addressed. I also help pay for the upkeep and their wages with my taxes, a fact often forgotten.

Anybody else with similar stories?

A couple of pictures with the one "forbidden fruit" interior I managed.

San Benedetto Po, Mantua, Italy

 NCV's gear list:NCV's gear list
Nikon D810 Olympus OM-D E-M5
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