Please Don’t

While skimming through my travel photos, I started noticing a trend: I have a tendency to photograph signs telling people what not to do…be it text, pictograms, the ever-recognizable “no sign” or some combination thereof, I apparently find it interesting and amusing how people are told not to do things.

For instance, in Bath, England it’s necessary to remind passersby not to dive into the murky brown waters of the River Avon…we’ve got a traditional no-sign and text (just in case the pictogram isn’t clear).

In Paris, however, they make due with universally understood pictograms crossed out by x’s…on the Arc de Triomphe, there’s no food, no public nudity (?!), no smoking, no camera tripods, and no mobile phones allowed. I think.

Whereas in Egypt, they just assume the universally understood language is English….there, each sign is unique, bold, and effectively placed, like this no entry sign (physically barring an entrance) at the Temple of Isis on the island of Philae.

When visiting Italy, I’d read that to gain entrance to many churches (and especially the Vatican), one had to dress respectfully…no bare legs and no bare shoulders…as explained in this sign posted regularly along the line-ups in St. Peter’s Square. I think it does a pretty good job demonstrating what is, and what isn’t, acceptable attire (though one might argue they’re advocating bare midriffs….or white belts):

….I also stumbled across an older version of the same sign. This one really just ought to be retired. Not only is it implying no bare legs and arms, but that no bare chests and bottoms are permitted either. Or is it?

And to make matters worse due to the signs’ age and wear, it now seems to indicate that one-legged women with no tops and short bottoms aren’t permitted either…nor are guys missing a piece of shoulder and wearing lederhosen.

Of all the photos I found, this one in Barbados takes the prize for “most complete”. It’s got both a danger sign and a pictogram of someone drowning, plus lots of text telling you what not to do, why, and what the consequences could be if you ignore the warning…to the sign-makers’ credit: it was a beautiful little cove that looked perfect for swimming…maybe there should have been more signs posted.

…Like in Niagara Falls, Ontario, where about every 10 feet you’re reminded not to hop any fences and plummet into the falls…they feature a custom pictogram (the fence depicted is an accurate representation of the fences all along the Niagara parkway), a standard no-sign, and the conveniently bilingual “danger”.

So now you know: my odd photo habit is that I take signs of what we’re not supposed to do. If you have any odd photo habits of your own, do tell!!


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