Posted in Amish & Pennsylvania Lifestyles

How do I photograph the Amish?

Amish girl at auction in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania

Photographing the Amish in America is as close as I can get to reliving making pictures of another culture in Asia or Africa.  This series of pictures are made at an Amish quilt auction held to raise money to continue the restoration of the Nicholas  Stoltzfus Homestead in Wyomissing, PA.  I enjoyed the simplicity and high energy of the event for two hours on a Saturday morning.

The most frequently-asked question about my Amish photographs (I have three books of Amish pictures) is: “Do the Amish object to your taking their pictures?” Here is my answer: Many of the close-up photos in my books are of Church Amish who have similar dress to Old Order Amish but do not object to photos.

Old Order youth who are not members of the church do not have problems with pictures. Sometimes they have posed for me.

When the Amish are in public places such as the auction they are usually more liberal-minded about pictures.  The prohibition on “graven images” varies from district to district depending on the bishop in the area. At the auction no one objected to my making pictures. I know that many Amish enjoy looking at pictures of themselves. The bottom line is that if they are members of the church they do not pose for pictures.

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