I am looking for a single word that depicts the fear of cameras/video recording devices (spy cameras or surveillance cameras, for example).

To provide additional context, I am writing a short story on "Threats faced by Women", in which a character is afraid of being constantly photographed/surveyed without her consent.

Example sentence:

Sravani's ________phobic, incessantly frightful about being secretly photographed in Trial Rooms at Clothing Stores.

I searched within ELU and elsewhere. But I could not find a word that matches my requirement accurately.

  • 10
    This isn't quite how the suffix "phobia" usually works, unless your premise is that Sravani really is being secretly photographed and is irrationally frightened by this reality. ("Coulrophobia", for example, is the fear of clowns, not the fear that random people might actually be clowns. "Claustrophobia" is the fear of tight spaces, not the fear that one might be in a tight space. And so on.)
    – ruakh
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 7:58
  • 9
    sounds more like paranoia to me
    – jk.
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 11:30
  • 1
    @ruakh: Interesting, I've never noticed that "phobia" is the fear of something that you are currently facing, not the fear of facing something that might happen. Although the first tends to result the latter.
    – justhalf
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 13:57
  • 2
    You could, perhaps, just rewrite your sentence with the generic word "paranoia." Stravani's incessantly frightful, to the point of paranoia, about being photographed in trial rooms at clothing stores. It takes the focus off the word and onto the character.
    – Stu W
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 14:46
  • 2
    Actually, none of these are accurate. A phobia is a fear of something, whether it is happening or not. An aquaphobe may have an irrational fear of drowning that keeps him out of water entirely - that phobia wouldn't need to be triggered by actual drowning or even being immersed in water at the time. Emetophobia (fear of vomiting) can trigger extreme anxiety in someone just because they are around someone who is ill, or around an environment where someone may become ill to the point where they could vomit. Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 20:44

8 Answers 8


According to the following source there is no specific term for the phobia of being photographed:

  • Technically, a phobia is a fear that is connected to a specific, identifiable object or situation. And although some “lists” of phobias total over 100 items, there is no specific term for a fear of being photographed per se. There are some terms related to the fear of bright lights or of technical equipment such as cameras, but no specific term that is generally accepted which describes the fear of having one’s picture taken.


You may use the more general:

Scopophobia, scoptophobia, or ophthalmophobia

  • is an anxiety disorder characterized by a morbid fear of being seen or stared at by others. Scopophobia can also be associated with a pathological fear of drawing attention to oneself.



To me, the best word is surveillance-phobic.

When used, your example sentence will look as follows:

Sravani is surveillance-phobic, incessantly frightful about being secretly photographed in Trial Rooms at Clothing Stores.

Hope this meets your purpose.

  • surveillance phobia, not phobic.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 23:22
  • @lambie One who has the phobia is a phobic. In the instant example sentence, the right word will be "surveillance-phobic", not "surveillance-phobia". Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 2:10
  • This is not grammatical: //Sravani's surveillance-phobic // Period. This, on the other hand, is grammatical: Sravani's surveillance-phobic life [noun] as a Delhi resident......if you use surveillance-PHOBIC here, you need a noun to make it grammatical.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 12:40
  • @lambie Sravani's = Sravani is. Now, I think I have been able to make the thing clear to you. Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 12:45
  • No, you have not. You have made a mistake and are trying to correct me when the mistake is yours. THIS: /Sravani's surveillance-phobic, incessantly frightful about being secretly photographed in Trial Rooms at Clothing Stores/ is NOT grammatical in English and the 14 upvotes are just mistaken.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 13:29

If you are "stuck" on one-word options, you might need to limit yourself to neologisms, such as the following:

  • videophobe

  • cameraphobe

  • photophobe (or photophobic)

On the other hand, if you're willing to step outside the box, you might consider

  • surveillance phobia (surveillance phobic) [great minds think alike, Dinesh Kumar Garg!)

  • photographic paranoia (or phobia)

  • filmic paranoia (or phobia)

  • Peeping Tom phobia

  • 6
    Photophobia is fear of light though; this isn't that simple :)
    – Doddy
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 10:33

Perhaps, you could substitute it for the fear of being watched/observed. From wikipedia,

Scopophobia, scoptophobia, or ophthalmophobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by a morbid fear of being seen or stared at by others


As others have stated, there is no specific term for fear of secret cameras or being supervised.

If acceptable, you could use a neologism; coin a new term.

Since phobia names come from Greekthanks to @AakashM and Latin, you can add up two words.

For instance, vigilare means to supervise or to monitor in Latin. By adding -phobia to it we get vigilophobia.

If you want to take a Greek root, the επιβλέπω (epivlépo) means supervise. So I guess you could use epivlepophobia.

However, vigilophobia gives one result on Google, while epivlepophobe doesn't.

If you know Greek, please correct me if I am wrong.

  • 1
    Phobia names come from Greek. The ph is the giveaway.
    – AakashM
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 10:35

You could consider using "fear of voyeurism" which fits in the context where she might be secretly photographed/video-recorded by a voyeur/Peeping Tom.

Voyeurism is the sexual interest in or practice of spying on people engaged in intimate behaviors, such as undressing, sexual activity, or other actions usually considered to be of a private nature.[1]

The voyeur does not normally interact directly with the subject of his/her interest, who is often unaware of being observed. The essence of voyeurism is the observing but may also involve the making of a secret photograph or video of the subject during an intimate activity.

Your example:

Sravani has fear of voyeurism, incessantly frightful about being secretly photographed in Trial Rooms at Clothing Stores.

Or "fear of Peeping Tom":

A person who watches another without the other's permission and usually without the other's knowledge, especially for the purpose of deriving sexual pleasure from the sight of the other.

[Wikipedia, Wiktionary]

  • 1
    Sravani is also paranoid about smartphone cameras in public places. So I was really looking for a specific phobia that would define this. I am afraid Peeping Toms / Voyeurism are specific and not generic.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 9:27
  • 3
    @BiscuitBoy As commented by ruakh, phobia doesn't work in the context. I would prefer camera-phobia to surveillance-phobia. Surveillance has a special connotation that doesn't fit in your context. Other-phobia would not work, either I am afraid.
    – user140086
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 9:37
  • 1
    +1 I agree that phobia doesn’t work here. My understanding of a phobia is that it is an unreasonable fear of something that normally isn’t scary. Peeping toms/voyeurism/[being under] surveillance are normally scary, so being afraid of them wouldn't qualify as phobias, making your answers correct. I think her only “phobia” is her fear of “fitting/trial rooms” (& of “public places” as per OP’s comment to you) caused by her fear of surveillance/voyeurism/peeping toms (just as aquaphobia isn't the fear of drowning but rather a fear of water [perhaps] caused by a fear of drowning).
    – Papa Poule
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 0:39

Fotografizophobia - is the only work I know which means to have an unreasoning fear of photographs or of having your photograph taken. I have never encountered anyone with this phobia nor found a documented case of someone having an actual phobia of having their photograph taken, though I am aware of and have met people who will culturally not allow themselves to be photographed as their beliefs state they lose a portion/all of their soul, or that their soul is bound every/any time a photograph is taken.

  • Actually, I know people with this phobia. Also, a quick Google search shows up forums in which such phobias are discussed.
    – Veo
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 14:14

I think shutter-shy ought to do the job by itself.

  • Welcome to EL&U. A good answer here will be supported by an explanation that may include an quote from an authoritative reference.
    – Jim
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 23:29

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