Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 16

Thread: Photographing the Amish

  1. #1
    TravelsWithBarley.com
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Stowe, Vermont
    Posts
    1,027

    Photographing the Amish

    I've always been told that the Amish did not like their pictures taken and so have never brought my camera out in their presence. But I was watching a PBS documentary on the Amish last week in which I thought I heard that they would not pose, nor did they like closeup shots, but that the use of long lenses from a distance was a separate issue. Also that their youngsters, having not yet been baptized, were not under those constraints.

    My dogs were playing at the time and with all the ruckus I might have misheard, but the film clearly showed faces of the Amish taken with long lenses, and they seemed aware of the cameras but perfectly okay with it. That really surprised me.

    So what's the scoop?
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  2. #2
    Registered User tourunigo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Halifax and Larry's River, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    3,308
    Don't have a lot of insight into the Amish question but I do know that when I lived in northern Alberta, in a predominantly Mennonite community (teaching), that the taking of a photo was forbidden because they thought that it took 'something' from their soul. I respected that and never did get a picture. That was back in 1975 so maybe things have changed. A proximity thing? Interesting question though; especially interesting as many of us travel withing differing cultures. - Bob
    saltyfogriders@gmail.com
    Salty Fog Riders Motorcycle Tourism Promotions
    Larry's River, Nova Scotia, CANADA

  3. #3
    Registered User 39520's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    isola di specchio
    Posts
    225
    I saw that show as well, and assumed that maybe the resolution of a telephotos lens does not capture enough of the soul to be an issue. Or maybe the Ordnung has been revised to accommodate photography done from beyond a respectable distance, as the Amish in Lancaster County could never get any work done if they had to hide from the tourists' cameras.

    There is a large community of Mennonite farmers in my area. Good, hard working, charitable people with well kept, beautiful, and productive farms. Unlike the Amish, they drive cars and value education. They even have a small local college.
    Last edited by 39520; 03-02-2012 at 05:43 PM.

  4. #4
    Registered User amiles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Murrells Inlet, S. C.
    Posts
    870
    Since you know of their beliefs, wouldn't it be respectful to honor those beliefs? Their mode of dress, grooming and vehicles verge on being a well recognized "Uniform" what is there to show of their persons in your photos?

    Won't you feel terrible on judgement day if it turns out that the Amish were right?
    Last edited by amiles; 03-02-2012 at 09:15 PM.

  5. #5
    Registered User blur's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Belmont, NC
    Posts
    41
    While helping scout one of the rides out of Bloomsburg, I saw a teenage Amish boy and his little sister selling strawberries. I really wanted a picture and had something specific in mind. Since I was bringing up the rear, I figured I could get in a quick shot and catch up.

    I pulled over, asked about taking a picture, told him what I had in mind and asked if it was alright. He said it was as long as I didn't get him or his little sister in the picture.

    I got my big yellow beast in position and took this pic (still one of my favorites)...



    He was standing pretty close to his carriage and I could've easily gotten his picture. But that would've gone against his wishes, broken his trust and I just couldn't do it.

    After I got the shot, I showed him all the pictures I had taken so that he would know I hadn't taken his picture. I asked how much a bucket of strawberries was. He told me $7. I handed him a $20, thanked him and left.

    I really think it just all comes down to respecting their individual wishes.

  6. #6
    RK Ryder
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    2,055
    Quote Originally Posted by glenfiddich View Post
    I've always been told that the Amish did not like their pictures taken and so have never brought my camera out in their presence. ........... the film clearly showed faces of the Amish taken with long lenses, and they seemed aware of the cameras but perfectly okay with it. That really surprised me.

    So what's the scoop?
    I believe that different sects of Amish have different rules that they live by. We have a group that live about 25 miles SE of us and they seem to fit the stereotype. However, 60 miles northeast, another sect drive cars, have cell phones and electricity on their property. Next time I go to their Saturday market, I'll ask a few of them what their position is on photography.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Treasurer of the Forest City Motorrad Club #159
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  7. #7
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Clovis,CA
    Posts
    4,214

    Like:)

    Neat picture BUT I must ask? Where's the "horse" standing, nearby too? Randy

  8. #8
    Registered User blur's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Belmont, NC
    Posts
    41
    Quote Originally Posted by Polarbear View Post
    Neat picture BUT I must ask? Where's the "horse" standing, nearby too? Randy
    Oh I shot the horse and dragged him out of the picture.







    (I asked the same question! He was standing in another, shaded part of the parking lot.)

  9. #9
    TravelsWithBarley.com
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Stowe, Vermont
    Posts
    1,027
    Quote Originally Posted by amiles View Post
    Since you know of their beliefs, wouldn't it be respectful to honor those beliefs? Their mode of dress, grooming and vehicles verge on being a well recognized "Uniform" what is there to show of their persons in your photos?

    Won't you feel terrible on judgement day if it turns out that the Amish were right?
    Thanks so much for that response.

    My point was that I thought I knew of their beliefs, but had received conflicting info and was seeking clarity.
    Last edited by glenfiddich; 03-03-2012 at 02:15 AM.
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  10. #10
    It's a way of life! oldnslow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Ash Grove, MO
    Posts
    593
    Several years ago I was fortunate to become friends with several Amish families in SW Missouri. I was building horse drawn buggies and carts for hobby and fun, and would visit their shops and homes frequently.

    As far as the groups in my area, the no photograph thing was more along the 'vanity and pride' thing, and not so much the 'capture your soul' thing. The community here is very old order, and do not want to be considered a 'tourist' attraction. They considered it prideful and vain to pose for pictures, and would be offended if you wanted to photograph their way of life because you thought it was 'quaint', but, being the forgiving people they are, they would not stop you from doing so. (offended may not be the correct word, but I am at a loss for the correct one.)

    It took many years to develope my friendship, to the point that I was fed meals and told of family events. Once they believed that my questions about their ways were from genuine intrest and not prying curiosity, I learned many things. I have a huge amount of respect for their sense of family and community.
    Mike Davis
    "Old n Slow" It's a way of life!
    1985 K100RT

    1998 R1100RT

  11. #11
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    WNY, Further fron NYC, than 6 entire states!
    Posts
    2,110
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_F View Post
    I believe that different sects of Amish have different rules that they live by. ............

    WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!!

    There are a lot in PA and South western NY. I have spoke to many and had some working on my barn. There are a lot of differences in what each group allows, and believes, just like every religion.

    The bet thing to do is ASK!!! From my interaction I don't think they would be insulted at all, but pleased that you respected them enough to ask and be aware of their culture.

    I know some do not have an issue, while others do. When in doubt, I always get a vantage point to make sure they are hidden from the shutter.

  12. #12
    Registered User robertklee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    295
    We have had a group move into rural Southwest Tennessee near where I live. I stopped last week and watched one work on a beautiful fence with non-electric hand tools. We discussed the possibility of him building a fence and a barn for me. Their work is perfect and their wages more than reasonable. They are great carpenters. I have been told by others that they didn't want their pictures taken. I'll ask him.

    RKL
    "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."

  13. #13
    TravelsWithBarley.com
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Stowe, Vermont
    Posts
    1,027
    Okay, I got this from an acquaintance who left an Amish community in northern Indiana as a young man and now lives in a Mennonite community a few miles up the road from me where he works as a carpenter. Below is paraphrased as he doesn't do email, but I caught the essence of what he was saying.

    People think of Amish as one cohesive community, but it's really a group of autonomous assemblies with no central church or governing body. Each assembly is free to develop its own Ordnung, or ways, and many do so. Ordnung isn't a set of rules that are written down like your laws; it's more like a code of conduct the Amish assemblies live by.

    The only way to know the Ordnung of a different community is to ask. Some are more insular and conservative, but all will respect you for asking.
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  14. #14
    Registered User cehlbeck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Acworth, GA
    Posts
    307
    Quote Originally Posted by glenfiddich View Post
    I've always been told that the Amish did not like their pictures taken and so have never brought my camera out in their presence. But I was watching a PBS documentary on the Amish last week in which I thought I heard that they would not pose, nor did they like closeup shots, but that the use of long lenses from a distance was a separate issue. Also that their youngsters, having not yet been baptized, were not under those constraints.

    My dogs were playing at the time and with all the ruckus I might have misheard, but the film clearly showed faces of the Amish taken with long lenses, and they seemed aware of the cameras but perfectly okay with it. That really surprised me.

    So what's the scoop?
    I saw the same program and what you heard is right. They also said that if you happened to stop and take pictures of say a group raising a barn or working, that was ok too. I noticed the one farmer who they were pretty close to filming him, his son (assumed) and an English farmhand working. It was also acceptable for them to give recorded voice interviews.
    Chris Ehlbeck
    BMWMOA 168990
    Chris & Donna's Motorcycle Journeys

  15. #15
    Registered User miairhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Otsego, Michigan
    Posts
    2,378

    Amish Communities.

    Just remember that each Amish community has different practices. If you notice, some have rubber on the wheels, while another group will not for example. In Northern Indiana, many have phone in barns, and electrical service.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amish

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/amish.htm

    I don't like having pictures taken, if you ask: I tell you I am in the witness protection program, none allowed.
    Tom
    '84 R100RT '04 CLC(gone) Honda NT700V
    BMW
    Beer Motorcycles Women

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •