Photographing the DAVID

Mar 23rd, 2006, 11:09 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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I've been to see the David on 4 separate trips in different years, and I've always been able to take photos. Now, they have recently (late last year I believe) finished the restoration and maybe they changed the rules?? I don't know. I know I have taken many through the years. It's probably the flash thing. That is my guess. OF course, many many years ago on trips to the Tower of London, I was always able to take pictures inside the little chapel, and the last visit they said "No photos allowed" so through the years that rule changed.
wanderlust5 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 01:04 PM
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We are fairly involved in our local museum, and the experts there say that camera flashes do do damage to paintings. Of course, they are also careful that the paintings are displayed so as not to be exposed to direct sunlight, also.

I was a bit surprised to find some European museums where the works were not apparently protected from sunlight, and the windows were even open. Perhaps they drape the windows when the sun threatens their paintings. It was quite a contrast from home, where the museum is strictly climate controlled, with recording devices in almost every gallery to check the temperature and humidity.

Because I know of the damage that flashes cause to paintings, I never use a flash to take a picture of a painting, even when it is allowed. I always ask on entering what the policy is. Some museums bar photography, some bar flash photography, and some bar flash photography only for the paintings; statuary is fair game. Frankly, it is easy to forget to turn off the flash, so if I ran a museum I would either ban flash, or ban photography altogether (just because it would be easier to administer that policy).

It is true that there is an economic incentive for museums to bar photography so we will buy their pictures. I rue that policy, because at the end of our trip, I have my most meaningful pictures done up in a book, which becomes a memento of our visit; I suppose I could buy their best picture, take a picture of the picture, and get it into my book that way. But still, I didn't see any pictures for sale of the slaves at the Accademia, which I had found very moving, so I have a picture of a slave only in our book on Paris.

On our next visit to Florence, I am going to have my wife bring her pencils and do a sketch, which is permitted, even though it takes far longer than taking a picture.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Bingo! I think photography is banned mostly because the overwhelming majority of point-and-shooters haven't a clue how to turn their camera's flash off. Or what it can and can't do, for that matter. The amount of light that's wasted at sporting events (where the subject is 500' from the flash) could illuminate a small country.

Since guards can't be expected to screen every camera and ensure that the flash is disabled, the museums simply draw the line at "no photography." On occasion, I have shown museum personnel my manual film camera and they allowed me to photograph.
Robespierre is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 02:24 PM
Join Date: May 2005
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The experts say just the opposite: flash has no real effect on paintings (and of course it has no effect on sculptures, either).

Damage to paintings from light is a function of total light exposure. The light from a photo flash is insignificant compared to the light illuminating a painting under normal viewing conditions in a museum (be it natural or artificial light). Any painting sufficiently sensitive to be damaged by photo flashes would be so delicate that it could not be kept on display. And any painting that is on display is being damaged so much by the light that normally falls upon it that the tiny increment of light provided by even a large number of photo flashes is insignificant.

In other words, the arguments about flash damaging paintings are 100% bogus. Competent curators know this but they may still encourage the myth for their own purposes.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 06:31 PM
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Thank you all for responding, -- I've learned a lot.
Princess is offline  
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