Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito (literally, “it’s forbidden to take pictures here”) is an organization of photographers and hobbyist founded by Mel Cortez that aims to establish a more photographer-friendly environment in our public parks.
It all started when Mel Cortez was prohibited by a security guard to take pictures of the Rizal Monument in Luneta saying that he needs to have a permit to do so. From then on, Mel Cortez founded the Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito to discuss the different places that prohibits taking pictures. It became a phenomenal group that caught the attention of the media.
Right now, the group is very active on Facebook and already has 10,026 members. I’m also a member of this Facebook page and we continue to discuss the different places that still prohibit hobbyists and photographers from taking pictures.
My most recent “bawal mag-shoot dito” moment was at Rockwell. I watched the Spider-Man movie at the Power Plant Mall but prior to that, I asked two security guards roaming around the Rockwell center if it’s okay to take pictures of the buildings. They said yes. So I took some pictures and was about to take more pictures when a 3rd security guard (on a motorbike) told me the classic line – “sir, bawal pong mag-shoot dito”. Well, he’s “too-late-the-hero” since I’ve already took some pictures of the place.
Are you also a member of this Facebook group? Have you encounter a similar experience?
[Edit: This article was written before I totally learned about the bad things about the group. The objective is great: for hobbyist like me to be able to shoot freely with a DSLR on public places. However, Mel Cortez and a lot of his followers are professional wedding photographers. I didn’t know this fact when I joined the group. It’s a conflict of interest because professional photographers might abuse the privilege to shoot in public places just like what happened to the Libingan ng mga Bayani when it was used for a pre-nuptial photo shoots.
I firmly believe that there is nothing wrong with the existing laws regarding the fees in shooting in public places. We just need some guidelines on how to distinguished a hobbyist from a professional photographer so that those that need to be taxed will be taxed. BTW, you can learn more about my bad experience with the Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito FB Group here. August 1, 2012']