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Do The Amish Object To Being In Photographs


Do The Amish Object To Being In Photographs

By Josh Brown

May 9, 2022

Amish Photographs, Amish Products, Amish religion, Amish viewpoint, Amish Way of Life

Have you ever wondered if the Amish object to having their pictures taken? You see so many pictures of Amish people and Amish lifestyle everywhere you turn, you might thinking the Amish people don't care to be photographed. But! is this true, many people have heard that Amish people have a religious belief against being in pictures or videos.  Amish related T.V. shows, documentaries, and books about Amish culture show us so many great images of the Amish people its hard to think there would be any problem when it comes to the Amish and their digital presence. If your like the old Cooner here the topic of Amish people being photographed brings up questions, especially after so many different Amish pictures can be found in a quick internet search!!! Once again the Crockett Cooner is here at The Amish Of Ethridge doing a little writing on how the Amish fell about pictures. I've looked into the viewpoints Amish people have on photography and their objections to having their "graven image taken" and here is the information I found, to keep your flashbulbs popping... 

Amish Of Ethridge Tn Girls Walking Away

Amish Girls Walking Away

 The Amish History About Being In Photographs

So why would some Amish people not want their photos taken? This topic of Amish people that Don't like to be in pictures came about with a separation in Amish religion years ago. The idea that a photo would steal ones soul or "graven image" can basically be tracked back to the Amish beliefs on vanity taken from Exodus 20:4. But, if you know your Amish history the Amish religion was started with the Anabaptist movement that originated in Switzerland in the late 1700's. With religious precaution against the Anabaptist movement that the Amish religion faced at that time. The separation from Switzerland also formed a difference in interpretation of holy scripture within the Amish belief system.  This change in residence of Amish Anabaptist people , escaping religious persecution to other parts of the world is what started the beginning of the different Amish sects as we know them today. Now with the different sects of Amish people diversified in their  religious viewpoints, culture, languages, and outward appearances . We now have different sects or orders of Amish people that put more or less importance on different parts of religious beliefs in scripture.  

Now I know what your thinking, this history on the Amish religion is o.k. but, there where not  a lot of cameras or video equipment in the late 1700's!!! This is correct and in the Amish religion this idea of the Amish being in a pictures, was not a problem in Amish culture at its start unless it was in artwork. But, much like other religions the Amish religion has adapted over time to fit some of its religious viewpoints into todays  modern culture. Now since you have a little more knowledge on the history of separation in the Amish religion and how that separation started different Amish orders as we know them,  all having different but similar beliefs. We need to look a little closer at Amish viewpoints and beliefs within different sects of Amish orders.    

Mckenzie Tennessee Amish Vegetable Stand.

McKenzie Tennessee Amish Vegetable stand.

Not All Amish Orders Believe Quiet The Same

Here in my area of Tennessee we have the Swartzentruber Amish which are considered to be part of the old order Amish faith and which have the least modern ways of doing things. In the Swartzentruber Amish beliefs you will find that they don't believe in using or owning cars, tractors, or any modern conveniences such as electricity or phones, be that landlines or cells. The Swartzentruber also do NOT like being in pictures or videos of any kind. Also the entire way the Swartzentruber Amish sect conducts their daily walk of life is very plain with only dark blue and black clothing, and only trying to speak to their younger children in the Amish Dutch language. Also, the Swartzentruber Amish don't have pictures or mirrors in their homes or much of anything that is "flashy" to speak of in their lifestyle.

Although the Swartzentruber Amish community is really considered old-school in its ideas in Amish lifestyle.  The New Order Amish communities  found scattered throughout the United States are also very simple in their beliefs but, compared to the Swartzentruber believe in doing things a little more modern and have different viewpoints on scriptures in the Amish religion. For the New Order Amish the ideas on pictures are not really as strict as in the Old Order Amish communities, but pictures are not really a thing that the new Order Amish believe in either. Now don't get me wrong, most Amish people New or Old orders  don't really want to be in any pictures. But, when it comes to differences in interpretation of Bible verses with in the Amish faith there is quiet a bit of difference. A good comparison for us English people on the different Amish orders and different Amish religious beliefs  could be like the difference between the Baptist Faith, Church Of Christ, or Methodist religions. The beliefs and interpretation of scripture in these different English religions  are close to the same but, not exactly the same just like in the different Amish orders.

Points To Remember About Different Amish Orders In Pictures

  • In Different Amish Orders Religious Beliefs Are Close To The Same But, Not Exactly The Same
  • Different Amish Orders Due To Size, Location, And Interpretation Of Religious  Scripture, Put Different Levels Of Importance On Things Such As Photographs and video
  •  The Amish People Are No Different Than Anyone In The English Community. They Have Their Own Personal Opinions On What They Personally Feel Is Correct In Their Beliefs On Being In Photos Or Videos
Amish Kids Going To School.

Amish School

Do The Amish Pose For Pictures

Now we have made it to the heart and soul of Amish people and their over all beliefs on being in photos and videos. Most people think that Amish people are totally against being captured on film, this is a true statement but, that statement is NOT totally correct.  A great way to sum up the ideas of Amish people come from their religion, they do believe that a camera does capture their graven image and does go against their beliefs on vanity. How ever the Amish people do also understand that us English people will photograph them at times, especially tourist to the Amish communities. They overall would rather you not take their picture, but the Amish people understand that everyone has a cell phone with a camera these days. 

The main problem that the Amish people have with pictures or videos is someone that is old enough to be baptized in the Amish faith Posing for a picture!!! A great example can be found here at The Amish Of Ethridge website. If you ever look closely the photos we use of Amish People in our web post or on our webpages are done in a way to NOT show faces of Amish people, action pictures are what we photograph. This will ensure that No Amish Person can be considered as Posing for us!!! Now much as in many of my other blog post, I had to find an Amish person and ask their ideas on the subject of pictures and the Amish people. As luck would have it on a trip to Amish country in my area. I located a very religious prominent Amish fellow in our Amish community  and ask his opinion, I have to say his answer surprised even me.  I was told when asking, how do the Amish people feel about being in pictures, he said...

"We understand that everyone has a camera on their phones now a day, we wish that no pictures would be taken at all but, but we understand it can't be avoided. Please try not to take pictures of our children we try to keep them from that type of technology, or any Amish person that turns their head quickly away, because they are really against the idea. But!!! if your going to take our pictures please try to get us with our backs turned or working."

I have to say the entire crew at The Amish Of Ethridge website was shocked by the answer that was given. So on your next trip to an Amish community make sure to remember these points highlighted below, especially when it comes to taking pictures...

Rules To Remember On Taking Pictures In The Amish Community

  1. Remember the Amish people do NOT like to be in pictures, but asking first if you can take pictures of Amish homes, horse, and buggies might be O.K. if you ASK Permission first.
  2. Be respectful don't run right up to an Amish person and take a picture of them with your cell phone.
  3. If you notice an Amish person turning away from your camera, because you just have to have a picture. Remember that Amish person is really upset with the idea of  being in your picture and would rather you stop with the camera work.  
  4. The best action if you have to have a picture of an Amish person would be to try and capture all images of Amish people from behind , or while working so as not to show any posing for the camera, or possible not to take a picture at all. 

Amish People In Videos And Movies

Now I know we have all seen the T.V. shows and movies with Amish people filling the screen. But, is this o.k. in the eyes of the Amish? Once again the Amish community does not support the idea of video because it goes against their 2nd commandment ideas on vanity. So if your like me you have to ask what is the deal with the Amish people we have see on film!!! One great point is subject matter concerning the particular video in question. It goes without saying that if the topic of the show in question is about someone "leaving "the Amish community for an English lifestyle. That person most likely has no objections to being in any film

But what about people that live and are very much up holding the Amish way of life. Just like in photos capturing the video clips of Amish people from behind is always a must try. In the case of video this is not always possible. I suggest a good editing of the video might be the next option on making a video that does not infringe on any Amish persons religious beliefs. Lets step back for a second an look a little more at different ways a person practicing the Amish faith might be able to be in a video.

Silhouette Effect

If you have ever viewed a news channel or video clip and noticed the video clip on the news contained a person being intervened sitting in the dark or shadowed while talking, their face might be blurred and possibly their voice was  distorted. This type of filming many times is an option to interview an Amish person on any subject. Here is a quick link to describe Silhouettes better. Silhouette

Ground Level Shot In Filming

Then a finial way to capture an Amish person on film is to simply aim the camera or microphone at the ground close to the Amish person speaking, but leave that person out of the frame except their feet!! This style of angle is seen many times in major movies to show the character without revealing that character identity. 


Amish Buggy From Back

Amish Buggy From Behind

Sadly we have come to the end of this blog post. I hope you have a little more information on the subject of Amish people being in photos and videos. Please make sure to leave us a comment down below we love to hear from our readers. If you like our website feel free to take a look around at all of the different pages here, at The Amish Of Ethridge. Also, make sure to sign up for our newsletter if you want to stay up to speed on the new blog post to come. If you happen to be looking around the inner webs make sure to look for The Amish Of Ethridge on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Thank you all again for reading, have a great day and an even better tomorrow. 

Faq

Has The Amish Of Ethridge Crew Ever Had Amish People Knowingly Stand In Front Of Our Cameras?

Yes, there has been a few times the Amish people have been within feet of our cameras.

What rules apply to filming and photos in this type of Amish environment?

Generally you can take pictures or video of anyone in a public locations. Such as parks, sporting events, or public areas in general. Because they have elected to put themselves there.

What do the Amish consider as vanity?

The Amish consider things such as clothing with bright colors, pictures, film, art (paintings), mirrors and fake teeth as showing vanity or individualism. This difference in people goes against their humble lifestyle and their beliefs in religion.

Do Amish Peoples personal viewpoints differ from their religious teachings on photos?

Yes many times but NOT always, it depends mainly on the Amish person. Keep in mind that Amish people don't like being in pictures, but its not really against their religion. Posing in a picture or video is against their beliefs on vanity found in their religion. 

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