Everyday Life in Rome – Photo of the Day

View of St Peter's from the Tiber in Rome Photo by Margie MIklasWhile I love seeing the ancient monuments and beautiful landmarks in Rome, I am  drawn to observing the local people in their everyday lives in Italy.

This image is not your typical tourist photo. I saw this man standing near his window and talking on his cell  phone in a building near the Pantheon, and was lucky enough to be able to capture the moment without drawing attention from him.  I wonder though, what Italians like this man feel about living in a virtual fishbowl, where so many tourists pass beneath their casa every single day, and like me, take advantage of the experience.

Rome Photo by Margie MiklasWhat are your thoughts? Do you think this is an invasion of his privacy? Have you ever done this? I can see both sides and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment.

Grazie and ciao.

28 Responses

  1. Book Club Mom

    I agree, the people are what make pictures interesting. I don’t think I’d call your photo an invasion of privacy since the man is clearly putting himself out there by standing in the window. And such a big window, too!

  2. Ann Marie Ackermann

    I don’t know about Italy’s laws, but here in Germany, it’s illegal to publish a photograph of a person without their consent (with exceptions for the press). Even in the United States, many publishing houses require written consent of the person depicted.
    But because his hand obscures most of his face, I’m not sure he’s recognizable. And if he’s not recognizable, it’s sort of like putting one of those black bars over the person’s eyes. You’re probably okay.

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks Ann Marie…I don’t have a clue what the laws in Italy are about this but it might be worth looking into…any Italian lawyers out there?

  3. Un po' di pepe

    I take a lot of photos with people in the background and photos from behind or from the side. I think it is fine. I would not take a close up or straight on photo without asking permission. This isn’t usually a problem in Italia, since most of my photo subjects are related to me in some way😎

  4. stellalucentellc

    I’ve taken so many photos of the streets in Italy, to the embarrassment of my children! But to me these photos are priceless. Everyone I’ve met in Italy seems happy to meet us “foreigners” and share there lives, so I’ve always felt comfortable doing this, and don’t show faces, as you’ve done here. I have my photos up on http://learntravelitalian.com/ and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian if any travelers would like to see more of Italy.

  5. bonniegm

    I love to take photos of women my age in Italy so I can capture their style of clothing. I am very careful to be circumspect and I wouldn’t publish them, for money or not. That said, depending on the situation sometimes people are just in a “public moment”. When my daughter got married in Siena and walked down the street and across the Campo in her wedding gown a gazillion tourists took a gazillion snapshots of her. Not a problem for us as we put ourselves in a “public moment”. If someone is outside their home, in a shop, etc. I always ask “permesso” and have never been told no. Usually people are surprised that I want their photo!

  6. Tony

    I don’t think it’s an invasion of his privacy. It was shot from a distance, captured the moment but wasn’t zoomed in completely on him. Instead, I think it captures a glimpse of life in Italy without being invasive. Either way, I think it’s a great shot and I see nothing wrong with it.

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks Tony. I try to be discreet when photographing people from a distance, trying to capture a candid shot without them noticing. If it s a close-up situation I always ask permission. Usually they agree, bt I have also had a few say no.

  7. imarancher

    If I had been shooting the frame and he walked into it, he woud have shown up in it. I would not deliberately shoot someone without their permission. It is actually illegal here to shoot film of someone without their written consent. It is lawsuit material if they find it in a for sale publication. There was a big case back in the 70’s involving a num who face showed up on a greeting card. The guy who used it thought she was dead, he had bought a deceased photographer’s old proofs and found the one of her. It is quite often done. However, since he did not have her written consent. . . he had to pay.

  8. karenincalabria

    I think that people living in close quarters get used to a certain level of “closeness” and go about their lives accordingly, whether hanging their intimates or other laundry in a shared courtyard or over a public street or reprimanding a child or engaging in an argument in a common hallway. Suburban Americans are used to the buffer of yards and generally have more space than most Europeans. Thus said, people who live in tourist meccas where the city’s guests encroach on their space are generally not thrilled with anything that approaches an invasion. I must admit that I shy away from taking strangers’ pictures as it often does cross the privacy line. The few instances in which I’ve been somewhere in which I’ve felt a strange camera pointing in my direction, I looked away. Some people don’t mind. The man in your picture can’t really be identified. It’s a difficult question especially with the expanding lack of privacy on the internet and specifically with social media.

  9. Sherry S

    Margie Hello I am in Branford, Connecticut. I would love to buy another clutch leather wallet from MR Grandi. It has a zillion slots and zippers like no other lady’s wallet in the world. I think it was like 50 US Dollars on March of 2007. When we were there , MR Grandi was owned by two sisters and they had two locations one downstairs and the pother just up the stairs in Bellagio. So, bottom line is …do you know how I may buy this wallet’. It’s about


    • margieinitaly

      Hi Sherry. I remember the store but I don’t know any way unless you call them and ask if they have it. The store was definitely there when I visited last in 2012. Good luck

  10. Denise Munro

    He must be aware that he can be seen! If it was me and I wanted privacy then I would shut the drapes/curtains/blinds/shutters and/or wouldn’t stand at the window.
    This is exactly what I want to see when I come over from NZ in Sept/Oct – Italians going about their everyday life, not just the tourist sights. I want to just sit with a coffee and watch the locals going about their daily life.
    BTW – I’m loving following your blog and picking up hints and tips of what to see and do while I’m there.

  11. Deb Schmidle

    I did this all over Amsterdam, though somewhat unintentionally. I would take picture of the houses and then when I cropped and enlarged them, I found several photos with people in the windows 🙂

I'm always interested in your thoughts, so please leave a comment.