Ban photos in museums

Old Oct 8th, 2018, 04:07 PM
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Ban photos in museums

A bit of a vent here.

Just returned from a fantastic 17 days in Amsterdam, Italy and Paris. Did not visit a lot of museums, but scattered one in here & there. And as bad as the Selfie-Takers and Instagrammers are just in general all over Europe (and presumably elsewhere)... they have absolutely eviscerated the museumgoing experience.

As clueless as people already are when traveling or when taking photos, adding that horror show of behavior to an environment that is supposed to be enriching and meditative is just awful. The worst was the Orangerie in Paris, but it was just as bad in the Rijksmuseum.

Sell them a photo in the gift shop. But if they snap a photo in the museum, escort them out without delay or argument (get some of those guys from the Sistine Chapel to do it, lol).

End rant

Last edited by ibobi; Oct 8th, 2018 at 04:10 PM.
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Old Oct 8th, 2018, 04:21 PM
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I wholeheartedly agree.
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Old Oct 8th, 2018, 04:23 PM
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I like to take selective photos (never selfies) in museums. The photographs make great memories.
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Old Oct 8th, 2018, 04:31 PM
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I just ignore them. Iím much less tolerant of the people who stand in front of a painting and loudly ďexplainĒ it to their companions. STFU, please and thank you. If I want a guided tour, Iíll join one. I donít need to hear what you (& everybody else) learned in Art History 101.
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Old Oct 8th, 2018, 04:32 PM
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The phone users are not in the museum to see anything other than their screens. This was true in London for us. There were scores of phone photographers holding out screens as they stood in front of the art as they took a snap of the art, eyes fixed on their screens. Then they turn their backs on the art and snap a selfie with the art in the background. Then the phone is turned on the art's label until a perfect view is captured on the phone, at which point, the "viewer" moves on, allowing the next view blocker to move in. At no time is the art or the label available to any other potential viewer. At no time does anyone in the phone squad actually look at the art. It is screen and only screen. I almost took a picture of a solid row of screenies sitting on a bench in front of art, all only looking at screens. Art means nothing to them, only the electronic documentation of having been in the presence of the art. The screen is all.
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Old Oct 8th, 2018, 04:42 PM
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"And here's a picture of me not looking at the Mona Lisa."
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Old Oct 8th, 2018, 04:48 PM
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I totally agree. I had a big argument with a friend about it 4-5 years ago standing in the room with Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Grande Jatte at the Art Institute in Chicago. She said I was being elitist, that people just wanted to document their trip. I said that there much better photos in the gift shop and by only taking a photo or selfie with a painting, there weren't actually looking at the painting. Not surprisingly, we are no longer friends...

The worst is the room at the Louvre with the Mona Lisa. We have a photo from years ago that DH took of all the people taking photos. Last spring a friend posted an identical photo on FB, if anything, it looked even worse.
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Old Oct 8th, 2018, 04:48 PM
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I much prefer museums that ban photography.
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Old Oct 8th, 2018, 04:58 PM
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Liz, I took that same picture of the crowd viewing the Mona Lisa.. All the phones held up to snap pictures, it was pretty funny. I rarely take a picture though. I really hate when people are posing in front of a piece of art and a crowd is forming that just wants to see it. It's not fair. I would be totally onboard with banning all photography in museums and art galleries.

That sounds like a very nice trip you took ibobi even with the selfie instagrammers.
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Old Oct 8th, 2018, 05:05 PM
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Maybe what would help the Louvre with the Mona Lisa would be making a conveyer walkway. If it's good for the crown jewels why not the Mona Lisa. I'm sure no one really is pondering it anyway. I have a great picture of her before camera phones and no one was around. I still don't know how that happened but a very cold day in February helped.

I think it's funny watching people taking selfies. The faces they make really are ridiculous sometimes. I also hate when people take a long time to take a picture. They don't move. They aren't the only people wanting one and when it's a group forget it. All 20 people need one.
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Old Oct 8th, 2018, 06:33 PM
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I enjoy photography but don't see any need for it in museums, really. Can't see where "Look, here's me in front of some art" should be enough of a priority to the museum to override other people actually being able to see the art.
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Old Oct 8th, 2018, 09:07 PM
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In defense of picture takers..

Yes, I am one of them BUT not selfies..
At popular exhibitions (especially first few days) very crowded.
Often difficult to get close enough to read the info next to painting
so I take a picture of the printed explanation.
I do rent the audio tape of the exhibition however, not all of paintings are included..
Later i go thru my photos to study the paintings & really learn
about the painting in detail...
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Old Oct 8th, 2018, 09:19 PM
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I visited the Orsay twice on my last visit to Paris. The first time, I was just there to look at the art. I was there in the evening and it wasn't too crowded, but many of the pictures had a line of people waiting for their turn to snap a photograph. When it was my turn, I just looked, at my leisure. The next time I went back, a few days later, I only took pictures, because I like to make up photo books of what I see on my trips, and then I was one of those people waiting for a turn to snap a photo (with a camera, not a phone, and no selfies which I find obnoxious - I do not need proof I was there, I know I was there!). I was aware that I was no doubt being looked at the same way I looked at the picture-takers during my first visit - just there for the photo. So it may not always be what you think.
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Old Oct 8th, 2018, 11:36 PM
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Even when they are explicitly banned people choose to ignore that ban. In the Rijks photos are allowed provided no flash, tripod or selfie stick is allowed. Van Gogh only allows photos is designated areas, including a selfie wall, but no photos of the aretworks are allowed.
At the Escher exhibition in Leeuwarden (where the entire display is copyrighted) there were signs everywhere saying no photography and yet people were still taking photos. When I said to one person that it wasn't allowed he replied, in Dutch, then I'll pretend to be French and not understand. When I said what's not to understand about a pictogram he stormed off. Later he was removed by a musuem worker.

I never take photos when I visit art museums. If I want a copy of a piece of art I'll buy one in the shop on the way out. I do take photos at smaller museums, of interesting artefacts on display or of the main subject of the museum - planes, trains, Roman/Saxon/prehistoric ruins or whatever. I too make photo books of my trips, but I don't need photos of paintings or sculpture for that book.
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Old Oct 9th, 2018, 12:50 AM
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i am elitist, what is wrong with that
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Old Oct 9th, 2018, 12:56 AM
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I believe a lot of museums either offer a book with high quality photos of their main art pieces inside (which are also the ones everyone is holding up the line to take a picture) or they have their catalog online.

I do love photography and the chance to capture what *I* saw when I went to a place. I like seeing if I can show the sight in a new way. Even a famous one. But I don't think I could ever really capture everything a painting is in a photograph. Framing a snapshot takes long enought. Nor do I see much of a way to make it "my own", given how gallery paintings are displayed and viewed. Maybe sculptures....

Maybe a diary entry in the book or a picture of the museum itself could say as much as a picture as far as reminding one what they saw on Thursday at 2pm.
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Old Oct 9th, 2018, 12:58 AM
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Exactly CC.
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Old Oct 9th, 2018, 04:11 AM
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I totally agree CC. And when folks let the flash go off, it's not only rude but can over time, damage the art.
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Old Oct 9th, 2018, 05:08 AM
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I don't see the point of taking pics in museums but I also don't have a problem if others wish to do it. People are obnoxious in crowds, with or without their cameras. I agree with what LucieV said about it.

I also don't think "enriching and meditative" is the only way to have a museum experience. I have had those plenty but I have also enjoyed silly museum experiences just as much (finding all the dogs in paintings, or picking out the weird facial expressions, or finding the weird little demons in Renaissance art). If someone else chooses to take pics of the art to enjoy it that's fine with me.
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Old Oct 9th, 2018, 05:27 AM
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As long as you got your time to see the artwork, I'm not sure what the issue is. I personally think selfies with the artwork are ridiculous, but if that's how they enjoy the artwork, so be it. It doesn't need to be so cerebral.

I have a lot more issues with people in museums, like those who need to touch the sculpture, touch the glass (leaving their fingerprints on it for us to see), lean on displays, use a pen to point at things on the artwork, take calls in the galleries, or keep setting off the alarms around artwork (at the Met Cloisters Saturday one woman set off the same alarm on the same piece seven times before the guard tossed her out).

I go to 150+ museum exhibitions a year, it's a hobby I share with my exhibition-curator sister. I will take photos if it's allowed, not just of artwork on its own, but if I like how a room is hung, how the artwork stands out against a particular wall color, striking installations, creatively written labels or a hang that's an interesting pairing. None of that is captured in a catalog but for me it's part of the experience and what I enjoy about temporary exhibits. My sister and her colleagues routinely post things they see that strike them (they have their own hashtag for that to see what others post). I also follow a lot of museum and art fans on Instagram and Twitter; one guy does nothing but post interesting frames, and before and after shots of masterpieces that have been reframed. I learn a lot from the posts of others who make the effort with this sort of thing, like details I didn't see on my own or at shows I won't get to. I don't get in other visitors' way, I wait my turn but also take the time to absorb the artwork through my own eyes (which can sometimes be long enough that THAT annoys another people!). The Instagrammers are more prolific in the larger museums, far less so in the smaller ones. Of course you're going to see 100s of iPhones raised in front of Mona Lisa, but I bet you won't in front of a Vigee Le Brun upstairs in the Sully Wing.
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