Camera allowed/ or not?

Old Jul 19th, 2007, 09:30 AM
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okay, as long as we are venting, I take occasional photos with a good Olympus with the flash off, when allowed, of some stained glass windows in churches, or interior architecture, as I find that interesting.

But I have never once taken or wanted to take a photo of a work of art like a painting. What on earth is the point of this? I really don't understand why anyone wants a photo of a work of art. It's not the same as looking at it in person, if so, you wouldn't be going to the museum in the first place, you'd buy a coffee table book. I think it's just to prove you've been there and because a lot of folks doing this don't even really know why they are doing it, but think that's what you are supposed to do on vacation so you can show people when you are home what museums you've been in.

I have bought some nice posters for reproductions that I've framed, but I bought them in the museum shop and they were a lot larger. Photos of paintings are really the thing I understand least-- why anyone does that.
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 10:48 AM
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Photography is allowed at almost all outdoor sights. And many indoor sights allow photography without a tripod or without a flash. Some museums don;t allow photos of certain galleries (paintings, tapestries etc) to prevent damage.
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 11:46 AM
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Has any tourist ever taken a really good photograph? Most pics I am forced to view are of unidentifiable people in front of something...Have you ever taken a photography course?
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 11:58 AM
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GSteed...YES

I refer you to Clifton's photos, shared on another thread in this forum:

http://www.trekearth.com/members/Cli...frica/Morocco/
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 04:55 PM
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GSteed -

Yes - a lot of travelers actually know how to take pictures. Some of us are quite good at it - not that every shot is perfect - but as with professional photo shoots - if you take enough some are bound to come out lookng great unless you're hopeless.

(And without any photo training a couple of mine have been pubished in travel newsletters - but then I generally do at least 100 photos a day when on vacation.)
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 07:35 PM
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i had great results taking pictures without a flash in a couple of art museums using my digital camera - something that I would never have been able to do with my film SLR. Just look for signs to see where it is allowed. In the museums I was in (it was in the US), the paintings i couldn't take pictures of had copyright restrictions.
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 08:19 PM
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"I really don't understand why anyone wants a photo of a work of art. It's not the same as looking at it in person,"

I've seen people in museums whizzing by paintings and taking shots of them with their little cameras.
The always remind me of a line from by Wendell Berry,
"He showed his vacation to his camera, which pictured it... But he would not be in it, he would never be in it."

And really, what is the point of having a snapshot of a Van Gogh??
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Old Jul 21st, 2007, 09:18 PM
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Photos like that are "proof pictures," that prove that the person taking the photo has been to this or that famous place. That's the only reason people take them.
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Old Jul 21st, 2007, 09:38 PM
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Why is looking through the view finder "debilitating"? I never use the view finder?
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Old Jul 21st, 2007, 10:00 PM
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Anthony -- not at all the 'only' reason. Saying this shortshrifts others' way of enjoying the vacation even AFTER they return and it's otherwise a dimming memory, where one could not see everything. To each his own, but for some it's a tangible memory of our own encounter and with more detail to enjoy after the fact.

We're so used to seeing pictures on postcards and in books, picture-perfect, all the same, interchangeable, and we say THESE are The Pictures and you should not want more than that.

Not so. Also, I almost never take photos of friends in front of anything, except if they want one to send to family etc.

But it's important to me to record my own experience of how I saw something in reality, how the picture looked to me in its habitat from where I stood or sat -- what it looks like when it's not just a perfect rendition in a book; what all the details were that I couldn't soak in during the short time we are able to be there.

In the Sistine Chapel, I sat and enjoyed it for long periods of time, just looking but I also wanted the more defined memories as well. People all around were quietly shooting and there were no flashes (and you explained pretty well re the flash effects pro- and con). I never use flash inside.

They escorted out people who were using fancy DSLRs, especially with good zoom lenses which would take pictures that could compete with copyrighted huge gorgeous photos in books and on the Net.

They let those with small cameras stay but asked people not to take more photos. It used to be allowed in the chapel, some say, until a company in Japan paid for the restoration and apparently applied a copyright for doing so. Definitely with The David - people were allowed easily to take non-flash photos before the restoration/cleansing of the statue 2 years ago.

I sat down and talked with the guards at the Accademia, who did their duty but didn't really enforce the rules if people were not using flash. We go once in our lifetimes, and our own photo memories are important to some of us, from our own perspective. They told me they didn't know why the rules changed but that it was probably because of concern that those who don't know better will accidentally flash a picture and that's distracting. In the meantime, people were busily videotaping and quietly shooting when not just staring mouths agape at this beautiful sculpture. I was there for 1-1/2 hours just enjoying it, bowled over by what Michelangelo did from one single slab which others had set aside as "useless" including that same dismissal by da Vinci. It is awesome. I have a video documentary of it and saw it before I went but it could not compare with being there and seeing it from one's own perspective in real life. Our own photos will approximate it in our own memories more than a picture by someone else in a book taken from a totally different vantage point we could never have anyway. The guards were very nice in our conversation.

Re the main question, Uffizi does not allow photos of any kind and they watch you carefully. Reflections are awful anyway.

Photos aren't allowed in the Accademia but it's not particularly enforced even when the guards are there. Siena's Museum allows no pictures of any kind, but in the beautiful cathedral they do allow non-flash. In St. Peter's church, even flash is allowed.

One thing about viewing with LCD screen -- you can still be aware of the whole scene instead of that tiny area inside a viewfinder.

- Andrys
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Old Jul 21st, 2007, 10:02 PM
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In addition to the various legal and conservation-related reasons for ruling out photography in museums, there is the fact that it is annoying to someone who wants to LOOK at the works to be surrounded by artparazzi. Even worse, to have to get out of their way.

To take truly close, detail photos of paintings requires conditions not available in the galleries of a museum: macro lens and positioning, lighting.

There are a million photo ops outside the museums: fountains, sculpture, architecture, people. Take whatever museums do allow photos as a bonus, and yield to the rules in the others.

By the way, a lot of people have trouble focusing and framing well using digital displays and choose to stick with a good view finder.

Good luck, and have a great time shooting - you won't miss those surreptitious gallery shots when you get home.
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Old Jul 21st, 2007, 10:41 PM
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When we visited the Musee D'Orsay last October, there was a couple who insisted on taking a photo of each in front of every painting of note! It was really frustrating.

I must confess that several of their photos ended up with portions of my body whizzing through them.

At no point did they stand back and just enjoy the paintings.

At the Louvre, they have a sign saying that photographs of all art work is on-line. I think that is a great idea.

These museums and galleries are just so busy, and will only get more crowded, there just isn't the capacity to allow each person to film their own art catalogue.

And don't get me started on the total disregard for other people's enjoyment by those who use flash photography, let alone the impact on the artwork.

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Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 05:08 AM
  #33  
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Dear AnthonyGA,

>Flash does not harm art; that is a persistent but incorrect myth.

Having spent over a dozen years in the study of the science of art conservation, I must most respectfully rise to assure you that that statement is utterly and totally incorrect.

Although you might feel that one flash is a mere drop in the bucket compared to 300 years of natural light, you might wish to consider the effect of ten thousand flashes per day.

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Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 06:17 AM
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Sacre Coeur does not allow photography. I actually liked that because it made for a nicer experience than Notre Dame because you didn't have people snapping pictures all around you while trying to enjoy the experience.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 06:37 AM
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Not to mention the generally bad quality of flash photos in a big space like a church.

Reminds me of watching an event like the Olympic opening ceremonies, with camera flashes constantly going off in the stadium ... knowing that the flash has a range of about 10 feet, and that those thousands of pictures will (mostly) be tossed (or with the digital age, never printed.)

I love to bring home photos. But we'd all be better off if we'd learn to actually SEE the things we're looking at and take in the detail. How many people come home with a raft of snapshots they don't quite recognize? ("Harry, is that Rome or Paris?" "Looks like Grand Central Station ...&quot
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Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 06:41 AM
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"there is the fact that it is annoying to someone who wants to LOOK at the works to be surrounded by artparazzi. Even worse, to have to get out of their way."

I truly hate this, and have had many visits ruined by all this photphraphy. They hold up traffic, block access to art, and there is nothing more appalling than being in a church or cathedral and see people flashing away, even during a service.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2007, 09:22 AM
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Restoring something does not make it eligible for a new copyright. Copyright applies only to tangible recordings of original creative work (at least in theory, although greed has continually pushed the envelope).
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Old Jul 23rd, 2007, 02:54 PM
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<<It used to be allowed in the chapel, some say, until a company in Japan paid for the restoration and apparently applied a copyright for doing so.>>

The people who paid for the restoration (I'm not looking it up right now, but it seems like Fuji film was part of it, also a publisher, maybe even a broadcaster) did have temporary exclusive rights. Not copyright, per se, but rights to photograph the work and reproduce photos of the restored work. It's not that the work in question itself has a copyright - it's that the owner of the work (in this case the Vatican) contracted with only one company to photograph it. Those photos are NEW works of art and do have a copyright. (Just like a new recording of Beethoven's Fur Elise.) Anyway, we could assign the same rights to someone who wanted to photograph our living rooms - any takers?

I don't believe that the photo rule in the chapel (other than those "Pro" quality cameras, which still will not produce publishable "art book" results without proper lighting and satbilization) has to do with that deal. BTW, note that no one will keep you from taking a photo in Piazza San Pietro (yet - if it's ever thought to become a security issue, watch out. It's already gotten to the point where you can be detained for taking snapshots on or of ferries and much other public transport or facilities in the US - no matter how photogenic!)
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Old Jul 23rd, 2007, 06:02 PM
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A different perspective... I recently returned from Russia, took numerous pictures of pictures at the Hermitage (they charge extra for the privilege, which I gladly paid, no flash). I immensely enjoyed taking the photos and have immensely enjoyed looking at them since I came home. We each experience things differently. I could make the same argument about taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower or anything else you see on vacation - don't take pictures, you'll enjoy it more if you just look at it and buy a book. The fact is some of us enjoy the act of taking the pictures - of composing the shot and trying to capture what the mind's eye is seeing. It's an art form. And I don't get the holier-than-thou attitude that enjoying the art without taking pictures is superior to enjoying the art while taking pictures. Who appointed you (those of you who are dissing all the photographers as missing the point of the art) as the ultimate authority on the best way to enjoy something? It seems rather judgmental to assume that every photographer is taking pictures just to prove he/she was there or whatever. Probably many are - but not all. Personally, I enjoy it and it enhances my enjoyment of the art - makes it more personal for me to focus on it with my camera, look for a good angle, and capture the memory to take home. So if you deliberately step in front of me when I'm doing no harm, paid for the privilege, am not using flash, and am not breaking any rules - in order to mess up my picture, YOU are the one who is rude not me!
That said, I agree photographers can be annoying! But frankly, I've seen people in museums who hold up the line, block other people's views, and so on who AREN'T taking pictures.
Just thought I'd present an opposing view.
I think I'll go look at my pictures and relive the enjoyment... which, by the way, a postcard would not quite capture.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2007, 06:27 PM
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DH has been a professional photographer for about 30 years. I can't experience the world the way he does; it wouldn't mean anything to me. He loves to experience life, and especially travel, through the lens of a camera. I guess we are all different that way.

DH is generally very considerate of all other visitors. The worst tourists with cameras I've ever experienced were two "freelancers" who took over a Native American cliff dwelling in Arizona.

None of the other visitors could experience the place in the peace and tranquility it called for. I was furious and asked the park ranger there to do something about it. They had their gear laying all over the ancient dwelling, took up all the room in the cramped space, and were just generally photo pigs. The ranger didn't do a thing, and I was shocked.

And yes, I've taken a photo class. I'm also constantly exposed to fine photography, and I can think of at least one really quality photo that I've taken. Or as a Pulitzer winning acquaintance of mine likes to say, "made," as in "I made this photograph." I guess I think that photographer is a pretentious twit.

My late sister was a great amateur photographer who took wonderful photographs, and took several classes.

Don't know why I went on about this; just living in photo world, I guess.
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