Ten reasons why you shouldn’t take photos in museums

Posted on
Jan 20, 2010

Are you taking a photo?

Are you taking a photo inside a museum?


These words often play through my head whenever I’m inside of a gallery or a museum. Even if a museum allows photography (hopefully without a flash) it just doesn’t seem right to me. And if it doesn’t allow photography, and you still try and take a photo? Someone should slap your mother.

Of course, I’ve taken a few forbidden pictures in my time (never with flash, of course). But that was in the name of journalism. And by journalism, I mean blogging. But this isn’t about me.

Also, I might have taken a photo of this installation at the LACMA museum. But Katie put me up to it.

Also, I might have taken a photo of this installation at the LACMA museum. But Katie put me up to it.

It’s about those bastards who keep taking flash photos of art.

Once, years ago, I was at the MOMA in New York, and all hell had broken loose. It was a particularly crowded day, and everyone was taking photos. With flash photography. One girl literally got so close to Monet’s Water Lilies that I’m pretty sure her lens was touching the canvas. I nearly had a panic attack. It was a bad, bad thing. There were flashes going off all over the place, but the staff was too busy with I-don’t-know-what (drooling on their uniforms?) to notice. Seriously, if ever there was a need to bust-out some old school New York ‘tude, that was the time.

Then, as I passed by Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World, some guy asked me to take a photo of him and his friend in front of it. I had a speech prepared just in case this was going to happen. Something along the lines of “How DARE you reduce priceless works of art to photo opportunities? Do you think that will somehow give you ownership over it? It won’t. It’s ART. It belongs to no one and everyone, you miserable poseur dilettante.”

Of course, what came out instead was something like, “Oh, I can’t … I’m terrible at taking photos.”

I am such a wimp. But I still stand behind my convictions. And in case you would like to as well, here’s 10 reasons why taking photos of priceless works of art makes you a d-bag:

  1. It’s tacky. Seeing people running around with their cameras as they stand directly in front of a painting is, frankly, annoying as all hell. There’s nothing that screams “tourist” more. Don’t be that guy. Or girl.
  2. It hurts the painting. No, really. We’re talking about works of art that are hundred of years old. They can’t stand that much exposure to blinding bursts of light, hundreds of times a day.
  3. It’s distracting. Even without a flash, the click of your camera is annoying enough. With a flash? It’s worse than having Gilbert Gottfriend soothe crack babies.
  4. It creates congestion. Museums are often crowded enough without you standing in front of exhibits for 20 minutes trying to adjust your aperture. Move along.
  5. You won’t actually see the work. Instead of reflecting and appreciating brush strokes, technique, perspective, lighting, and all that other stuff that gets art majors laid when they talk about it, you’re staring at a 2″ x 2″ display screen on the back of a camera. You might end up with a picture of the Mona Lisa, but you won’t remember having seen it for yourself.
  6. The photos you take will be pointless. Without a flash, it will be blurry. With a flash? You’ll get a glare, wash out the painting, and probably do permanent damage to the work.
  7. You’re stealing money from the museum. Arts organizations are suffering more than ever (yes, even despite the $20 you just shelled out for admission) and museum store sales help a lot. Taking a photo of a painting means you won’t buy a poster or a postcard – you’re essentially stealing from the museum, as well as leaving yourself an inferior image.
  8. Cameras turn museums into tourist traps, instead of places of reflection. If everyone was snapping photos all around him, do you think Cameron could have had his moment in front of Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grand Jatte?
  9. You’re setting a bad example for future generations. It’s hard enough to get kids to appreciate art. The fragility of a painting is easily lost on them. And if they don’t understand now that these things are delicate objects to be protected, they likely won’t when they are adults. Especially if they see you march through flashing your camera all over the place.
  10. You’re damaging artists’ claims to their intellectual property. Taking photos of someone else’s work creates some weird legal situations. It interferes with an artist’s (or an artist’s estate’s) claim on their intellectual property, which the museum is taking lengths to preserve (hence, no photos allowed). If it keeps up, we’ll be seeing more and more examples like these bastardizations of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks (though The Simpsons one is pretty awesome).

Of course, I know there are a lot of folks who disagree with me – whole Flickr groups are dedicated to the topic. But frankly, I just don’t think that one grainy image is worth the risk of damage to priceless works of art. What are your thoughts? Is photo-taking in museums taboo? No big-deal? A slap-worthy offense? Do tell … in the comments section below.

Leave a Comment

  • This is great advice, advice that unfortunately I had to give to myself. I used to like taking (non-flash) photos with my iphone in museums, mainly to remember the things I liked most, but also to use them as wallpaper on my phone. But I over time I realized that I was no longer just wandering through a museum to take it all in and spend extra time with works that I was drawn to. Instead I was constantly looking for what to take a photo of, which totally changed the experience for me. I’d like to think I avoided the d-bag behavior that would have impacted the experience of other visitors, but it definitely impacted me. So now I’ve reverted to my pre-smart phone habit of stopping in the gift shop at the end to pick up post cards of things I really liked.

    • Geraldine

      Adam – I had the exact same experience, actually – I, too, think that if your flash is off you’re probably not part of the d-bag group, but it doesn’t make museum visiting totally different – and in my opinion, less enjoyable.

  • Nigel
  • Great advice, especially about the museum stores…..most people take crap pictures anyway, so they would be much better off bringing home something nice from the store. My great aunt traveled all over the world, but she didn’t bring home photos, she brought home souvenirs, things she passed on when she passed on, that are now treasured by her family. I doubt we’d treasure photos of those things as much.

  • un parisien

    Thank you very much for these advices! I am a Parisien and a regular visitor to Louvre. This museum used to not allow people to take photos, but apparently they’ve changed their policy. The consequence is HORRIBLE! 80% of visitors don’t stop taking photos (of which 50% with their smart phone.) A toursit girl (I know that because she didn’t speak French) dared to ask me “Excuse-me, would you step aside for a while? I want to take a photo.” My reponse wasn’t as wimp as yours. I said “You can surely find a photo of this picture on internet, with better quality.” And I didn’t step aside!

    I glanced the discussion on Flicker community and learnt that some do that with quite a strong conviction. But they don’t talk about the fact HOW THEY ARE ANNOYING TO OTHERS. In a museum like Louvre, this is the strongest point.

    • Everywhereist

      I LOVE that you didn’t wimp out. My compliments! I am going to be in Paris in a few weeks – I sincerely hope the Louvre reconsiders their policy by the time I get there.

      • Christine

        Oh my goodness. I love the Louvre, but the picture taking there is out of control. There are large crowds and congested areas around the famous works, and it’s incredibly annoying (not to mention harmful to the pictures). You’ll cry when you see what happens in front of the Mona Lisa. No Italian woman should suffer so. When I went, my friend Jamie and I added to our fun by pretending to be oblivious girls who “accidentally” interfered with other people’s shots. I highly recommend it. Oh, and check out the Flemish paintings of dead game. There aren’t many crowds, and they’re very cool.

    • Michael

      Unless my wife asks me, I will not enter a museum that does not allow non flash photography!
      I took a bunch of pictures at the Louvre with my good Canon DSLR and when I look at them its like revisiting and seeing the works of art from my perspective! It also jogs my memory not only of the artwork itself, but the moment that the picture was taken, the crowd that was there and so on. Buying the museum book is not the same!! I can buy those books online…
      I also visited the Prado in Madrid, pictures were not alowed. I don’t remember much….
      The Louvre is crowded? Really? Deal with this. We are 7 Billion on the planet…
      We tourists should ban museums that do not allow non flash photography! than you’ll see them change their mind before you can say Mona Lisa!

    • Mike

      English or not, why the nonsense hyphen in “excuse-me”?

  • Yamaplos

    Gee whiz! Can we find some reasonable middle ground? The most important reason *not* to take pictures, that I agree with 100%, is that it can be distracting to others. As such, it is a matter of having (or not) good manners. Did you know that those “priceless paintings” were in galleries that allowed smoking until quite recently, especially in France? And that actually galleries do benefit in their bottom line when they allow pictures, they get millions of dollars worth of free advertising, like, “hey, I went to the Louvre”, “you lucky dog!”, compared to, “hey, I went to the Louver, lookit these pictures I took!”, “SO coool”, I wanna see that also!”.

    Then, it¡s all about diversity. My pleasure is to enjoy framing a picture, holding the camera steeeeeady in those darkened galleries, get a good shot. I don’t use flash, even when permitted, because I get better pictures without, depth of field, you know? And because of good manners, I limit my picture taking to those mostly empty galleries outside of established tourist traps. Never seen the Lisa and don’t care to. But my 3-D pictures of sculptures in the Louvre are quite something, I should share them. Never seen 3D of the Louvre, though it probably was done in the days of black-and-white.

    Best to you!. BTW, they tell me that the Uffizi and the Galleria in Florence do not allow picture taking. You may enjoy those, I will be in the Galileo instead.

  • Joe

    You’re an idiot!!

    Except for your second reason (which explains why flash photography is out the window), you have not really given any good reason why photography should be banned from museums.

    I agree that no flash photography should be allowed!

    If I wish to capture a museum’s architecture and the building materials used, then, I feel, it is my right to do so. I will not be stealing anything! I will not be copying anything! I will never, ever buy a postcard or poster from a museum in any case!

    (Please understand. I do not wish to photograph every painting, nor do I wish to be a distraction or obstacle to navigate around. I wish to have a photo of a room or display for my photo library to show where I was and what I did. (Yes I tend to photograph my experiences during my outings))

    Today’s cameras allow low light photography without the use of flash photography.

    Some rules need to be adhered to though:

    1. You should not use a tripod. (A monopod should be used for stability)
    2. You should not photograph everything you see.
    3. You should not take forever to take a photo.
    4. Always respect the people around you. Having a camera does not give you any
    special privileges.

    I still wish to have proper reasons why I should not be allowed to take photographs in museums!!!!

    • Everywhereist

      Hi, Joe! Thanks for your comment! I really like exclamation points, too! They’re awesome!!!!

      • Mike

        Haha, “Everywhere,” one part of me wants to say, “Aww, shut up!” while the other side wants to just say, “Haha, yeah, no kidding, huh?” 🙂

      • Mike

        (I mean… about the exclamation marks, only.)

      • Mike

        Hey, I want to erase my comments. How do I do that?

  • When I take photos in museums, I usually take photos of the crowds, not the art objects. The crowd around the Mona Lisa, for example, is much more interesting than the painting itself.

    • Everywhereist

      Gary – I actually do this, too (yes, I occasionally take photos in museums. Oh, the hypocrisy!). I just love seeing people milling about, admiring things. It’s fun to watch them.

    • Stan

      Crowd more interesting than the Mona Lisa? Sounds like you belong in a mall, not a museum.

      • Stan, you a) clearly have never actually seen the Mona Lisa, or b) you are a pretentious douchebag.

        • Everywhereist

          Gary, you are AWESOMESAUCE. Seriously. 🙂

      • Ele

        I have seen Mona Lisa. Twice, actually. It’s a disappointment- a tiny picture in a glass case distanced from the people. The only way to SEE it is to zoom it in your camera lens.

        • Chelsea

          Or go see it at night when almost no one is there. I have done this countless times.

          Also, how is it disappointing? What were you expecting? A GIANT painting? Fireworks? Dancing pink ponies? If seeing a work of art is disappointing to you, you need to learn more about art appreciation!

          • Ele

            It’s disappointing because it’s such a small size and one cannot approach it for a better view. How can that relate to art appreciation – I don’t know.

  • I agree you obviously should never take them if they are not allowed (and obviously never with a flash), but it if is allowed, I don’t see the harm. I was happily amazed that the Hermitage allowed photography in about 90% of the museum. In their fabulous section on impressionist paintings, I actually walked up to the two security guards to make sure I could take photos. They nodded yes and looked at me like I was an idiot for asking. I got some amazing shots of paintings that I never, ever, would have imagined would have been allowed. Was a highlight of a great museum trip.

    • Everywhereist

      And yet, there are times when I’ve seen people ask if they could take pictures, and the guards have looked at folks like they’re idiots because the answer is obviously NO.

      Maybe museum guards just like looking at people like they’re idiots? 🙂

      • LOL, they might be, but in this case I was so interested that they allowed it (frankly, I was shocked) that I actually double and triple checked later. They do, in fact, allow it. Then again, they also have about 3-4 rooms clearly marked “No Photographs.”

        I would hope in museums that don’t allow photography that the guards would actually throw people out.

  • 11. People engrossed in what’s in their viewfinder have a real knack for backing into, stepping on or knocking over other patrons, or worse still, other exhibits!

    Don’t cheat yourself or others out of the REAL experience that is offered in these places.

    The value of this was brought home to me when I visited the magnificent Kings College Chapel in Cambridge years ago. Since all photography is banned, I went without my camera and bought postcards & prints from the gift shop before I left. Having returned home I shared them with family & friends, all of whom were totally blown away by what they saw…and all the while I sat there thinking “they really aren’t even close” to what I had experienced inside that building. Even some 13 years later, the memory of it moves me emotionally and the pictures (which I just dragged out again) seem insipid by comparison.

    Thanks Geraldine for touching on this without fear!! (I too am partial to an exclamation point or three!!!)

  • Jane

    Great post, and interesting to me as I have to deal with this topic on an almost daily basis ! I work in one of the most stunning palaces in the UK ( actually make that Europe, or the world, I admit I’m biased!). One if the biggest problems that our front line face is people taking photos in the rooms. The photographic policy has been relaxed over the years to reflect that it is now such a central part of visitors experiences wherever they go. There are some rooms where we don’t allow photography, namely the chapel as it remains an active chapel and is technically the chapel of a certain individual who’s grandson had a rather high profile wedding recently, and rooms in which some very high profile paintings are on display. Some of our reasons:
    – the main problem is people focusing so heavily on what they can see through the lens and trying to get a decent shot they back up into objects and paintings, it DOES happen, these objects can’t be replaced!
    – flash is hugely disruptive to other visitors, especially when lots are going off at once (and you would be amazed at how many people don’t know how to turn the automatic flash off on their own cameras)
    – crowd control issues develop when people gather to take photos of particularly iconic items
    -we don’t allow the use of tripods because 1) they can become trip hazards and I have witnessed unsuspecting people fall over badly placed tripods 2) they can damage the floor (not all come with protective padded feet- tip
    for you, stick a tennis balk on each foot of the tripod -I still won’t let you use on though !)
    -lenders conditions – museums and galleries rarely own all the objects in their care, it may be that one of the conditions in which an individual/organisation has loaned an object is that photography is not allowed. We have to respect that.
    – linked to the point above, for some it is an issue of copyright, we don’t worry about that, but for some it is a real problem.

    Let’s face it , most photos taken in these circumstances come out as poor quality and simply for practical reasons you’d be better off buying a postcard, yes we need the money, but they will be taken from an angle that you don’t stand a chance of getting on the visitor routes and will be better as a result.

    My advice to all ….. Ask, and then respect that advice. Don’t take it out on the front line staff who are often
    trying to enforce unenforceable rules which they have no say in. They really are ‘just doing their job’. I agree, they shouldn’t be rude. But equally nor should the visitors (and the amount of uncalled for abuse my team gets on a daily basis is incredible).

    Thanks for raising the topic Geraldine.

  • Stan

    Your mental rant against the guy who asked you to photograph him is ridiculous. It was just a “neat” idea to be photographed next to a meaningful work of art, that’s all. It’s no different than being photographed with the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower in the background. Congestion and flashes aside, a mere photograph doesn’t “cheapen” or hurt anything. Claiming that some piece of art is above being photographed, or that photographing it with someone standing next to it is offensive, is ludicrous. Speaking of ownership and meaning and all that, how about the video clip copyrighted by Paramount that you scarfed for your little blog?

    • Everywhereist

      Stan, you clearly need a hug, because you are a cranky pants. C’mere, you. Despite the fact that you smell like beefaroni and angst, I see the beauty in you, and wish to embrace your squishy humanity.

  • I am a licensed art guide in Florence who works in the Uffizi, the Accademia, Palazzo Pitti, the Bargello every day and am constantly accosted on the one side by greedy people taking pictures and grizzly guards whose scream NO FOTO at the top of their lungs. I was also born and raised in New York City and don’t lack that “old school New York ‘tude” and have absolutely no qualms about putting my hand in front of some bopper’s lens and growling, Put the ferkin camera DOWN.
    What I’ve found, though, in years of doing my job, is that most of these folks haven’t given the least bit of thought to what they’re doing or why. They just do it. When you explain to them the reasons why they’re being dorks, they sheepishly agree.
    My idea for a solution? The museums would do well to not just post a picture of a camera with a red slash through it at the entrance. That’s just asking for trouble. Post an explanation: Please don’t take photos because you’ll ruin the art and We Need Money. So put down the camera and buy a book, a postcard, a mousepad and a microfiber eyeglass cleaning cloth with the head of the Birth of Venus on it, and enjoy your stay!

  • I was unable to spend any time reflecting on whether I actually liked Mona Lisa (as opposed to just recognizing it from pictures) because of the hoards of Chinese tourists around her taking pictures. Even though I stood a head taller than the tallest of them, I still could not see it for all the people lifting cameras overhead and snapping away. Bummer. I guess this means I have to go back to Paris someday.

    Also, funny story about A Sunday on La Grande Jatte: I was trying to have a peaceful reflective moment in front of that one when I moved a little closer to examine the up-close view when I overheard a man telling his daughter (without an ounce of sarcasm in his tone) “Wow. This is almost like pointillism.” Yes, almost, sir.

  • stu

    I’m going to a museum today to take a load of pictures. I’m just starting out with photography and want to learn some techniques of photographing in low-light (churches and cathedrals are next on my agenda).

    I’m certainly going to practise courtesy and put my shooting second to peoples enjoyment of the items on display, and I’m not going to be so interested in shooting paintings/drawings as the museums artifacts – hopefully from interesting angles.

    I think this is middle ground and I’m hoping to both enjoy the musuem experience and increase my love of photography.

  • Chris Pearrow

    I agree 10000% with reason #8. I live in Madrid and take like to visit the Reina Sofia when I can to take advantage of such a wonderful resource. The big draw is Picasso’s Guernica, but it´s a harrowing, powerful picture and it´s pure size and starkness produce a pretty intense visceral reaction. Just the sort of thing that mobs of unrespectful can (and do) distract you from!

  • Shawn

    I understand your point of view; much of it I agree with as well. But I feel that obnoxious people are going to be rude with or without a camera. People have no common sense sometimes. On the other hand, who doesn’t despise a holier-than-thou art snob? There ought to be some middle ground.

    I’m guessing that museums that have tried banning flash photography only were losing their minds because of all the dolts that can’t figure out how to turn it off. So they just ban ALL photography and be done with it. How about this? Why not just kick people out of the museum if their flash goes off? Maybe give them one warning, and then out ya go!

    Personally, I find cell phones ten times more annoying than cameras. Obnoxious is as obnoxious does though, I suppose…

    A few thoughts on your ten points:
    1. Where are people supposed to stand to view a painting? Doesn’t matter if they have a camera in their hands or not, if they’re in your way then it’s annoying. And what local can’t pick out a tourist a mile away? With or without a camera.
    2. Totally agree, flash is bad for paintings. It isn’t going to harm the statue of David though (where photography is stupidly banned).
    3. The click of a camera is far less distracting than lots of other activities. I’d way rather listen to a shutter clicking than someone talking on their cell phone, or some other idiotic banter. Annoying people are annoying without cameras.
    4. Actually, it might do just the opposite of creating congestion. If someone grabs their photos and moves to the next piece of art, they’re out of your way. However, without the camera, they need to linger in order to appreciate it.
    5. See? Either people are reflecting and appreciating, or they’re moving along. Which do you want? Some photographers are talented enough and smart enough to appreciate and take a photo. Some photographers actually “see” better when they’re photographing.
    6. With today’s technology this simply isn’t true. Cameras today have amazing low light capabilities.
    7. When I’m traveling, I’m not going to buy books and posters that I’d have to carry around with me for the rest of the trip. In all of the museums that I couldn’t take photos in, I’ve never bought that stuff. In my mind, it’s completely unrelated.
    8. Sorry, it’s not the cameras, it’s the people (tourists). It wouldn’t make a difference if it were a bunch of crappy photographers or a bunch of loud teenagers. If you don’t like people, go to the museum at off-peak hours.
    9. Are we teaching kids art appreciation, or art preservation? Two different topics, really. But yeah, flash is bad for paintings.
    10. Michelangelo isn’t worried about his intellectual property. His statue of David was on public display for hundreds of years before they put it into the Accademia where photos aren’t allowed. It’s silly.

    • Erin

      I have to agree with everything Shawn said on this one. I would like to add a few more:

      11. I actually take photos AND look closely AND still tend to buy the art book. Why all of them? I don’t take pictures of every painting in the museum, thus the book. A photo lets me take my favorites with me though- on my laptop, as a screen saver on my work computer, etc. where I’m more likely to see it regularly.

      12. Some of the pieces I love the most aren’t necessarily the most popular ones. No postcard. No poster. No appearance in the museum’s art book. No bueno.

      13. I’m not “stealing” it if I’m not making money off of it, nor claiming it as my own. How is an individual taking a photo any different from the museum publishing a copy online, or it being linked to a Wikipedia site? And when geography isn’t a problem, I have returned again and again to the same museums even though I have my own digital copies at home. I’m actually more likely to return because I have reminders of how awesome it is to be there. If it’s that good, it’s not a “been there, done that” experience, nor a “don’t need to go cuz I’ve seen the picture” situation. The museum gets my money, again and again.

      14. Without the picture, the moment is lost with all of the other scores of meaningless media messages we are all inundated with daily. It’s gone and had no bearing on my life. While some works are a tourist attraction, most people take photos because it has impacted them. If it’s worth pondering and appreciating, it’s also worth not forgetting what was pondered.

  • Konstantina

    I like the overall point of the article, basically “don’t be shady”, but I pretty much disagree with a lot of the reasoning. With new cell phone cameras, the pictures come out great, in fact better, without a flash, and they make no clicking sound. They make no sound at all. And far from causing congestion, taking [pictures allows me, an artist, to take a few quick snapshots, which I can blow up later on my computer to examine brushstrokes, rather than me standing two feet in front of the painting for 15 minutes with my sketchbook. A postcard just isn’t going do to the trick, and there are hardly ever really good close ups in any of the books either, and they don’t contain all the works in the collection by far. Now, circulating the pictures to others, not cool. Others can go pay to see the paintings themselves. But when I pay admission to the museum, I think it’s totally acceptable to create a scrapbook of my visit which I can continue to study and learn from at home.

  • Bettina

    They should post this in every museum because I had no idea (or rather I’d never put enough thought into) why you can’t photograph in museums. It’s about so much more than preserving the art (though that’s obviously extremely important).

  • Liza

    I will always cherish my postcards of favorite works from galleries I’ve visited! So glad you wrote this. I was once an art student so number 5 I hold close to my heart too. 😉

  • Jake

    I take photographs in museums whenever possible, because
    * I may never return to the same city again, not to mention the same museum. I would not travel to dozens of countries around the world just to visit the museums again. I don’t mind spending the money, but I have a severe lack of time, and my schedule only gets heavier, not lighter.
    * I will never buy photo sets from a museum gift show, as anyone can buy them, they usually contain only a fraction of possible interesting photos, and most importantly, they lack any individuality.
    * When you pay for the entrance tickets to a museum, you are purchasing the right to see the exhibited items. However, in my opinion, it is silly just to throw that money away for a few hours of viewing, when you can make the experience a permanent and illustrated part of your life history.
    * Photographing does not damage the exhibits, as I never use flash. I have a top-of-the-line camera, which can make high definition photos, even of the interior of the museum has low lighting. It just takes a second or two for the camera to pick the optimal settings, and the resulting photos look better than real life. Browsing the images on a computer, I can zoom into details and examine them at my leisure. I can even make 3d photos if I want to.
    * Making photos at museums is generally not a violation of copyright, as it is considered fair use.
    * I won’t buy photos at a museum shop regardless of whether photography is allowed. I think that requiring people to purchase such photos is actually tacky. Museums are non-profit organizations, which are already supported by taxes, memberships, donations, and various sponsorships in addition to the entrance fees. If there is an objective to increase earnings from museum shops, they should offer additional products that have natural, uncoerced demand. Stealing money from the museum shop? What nonsense!
    “Tacky” is a subjective assessment; it is merely your personal opinion. There is nothing inherently negative in taking photos, and I think that most people would agree. As I already said, I never use flash. Moreover, my camera is reasonably silent, and is certainly less distracting than conversations you can hear in museums. The only thing you hear is the shutter. I don’t know which cameras you refer to, but I’m not sure that you realize that most modern cameras have nearly silent operation. Taking a photo takes merely a few seconds, but given your position on question, you certainly can’t argue against standing hours in front of an exhibit, examining every inch of it?
    And as for “tourist traps”, why not campaign against access to museums by tourist, requiring every visitor to produce a proof of local address /and/ a post-doctoral researcher ID card.
    Because of opinions like in your post, the world is still arse-backwards!

    • Everywhereist

      Did you just seriously write, like, five paragraphs refuting a four-year-old post? Holy Christ.

      On the plus side, I bet it took your mind off the fact that you’re an unpleasant blowhard.

  • Mr Blowhard

    Take that back, please, Geraldine. I may not be blessed with the most engaging name in the world, but it is *very* depressing (especially at Christmas!) to have my name associated with exhaustive pendantry.

    The Blowhards go right back to the Domesday Book. We have a crest, for god’s sake.

    Please show some respect.

    • Everywhereist

      Yes, yes, but he’s an unpleasant blowhard. Which distinguishes him from you lovely lot.

  • Pretentious much? This xkcd comic comes to mind: http://xkcd.com/1314/

    If flashes damage the art, then disallow photos with the flash on. The overwhelming majority of people will respect the rules and those who don’t easily stand out.

    Seriously, if guards spend all their time tracking people with phones and other tiny devices, how the hell are they going to do their real job which is protecting the paintings?

    • Everywhereist

      My issue isn’t how people want to experience art – I take lots of photos when I go anywhere. My issue is people damaging art. I’ve been to countless museums where some idiot with their face in their camera has bumped into paintings and sculptures because they couldn’t see where they were going. People who “forget” that their flash is on, repeatedly. I’ve seen people REST THEIR CAMERAS against the canvases of fucking Monets in order to get a better shot. All while the security guards yawned and looked the other way.


  • anonymous

    I work at LACMA (as security) and i fullheartedly agree with this. Lacma allows photography in most of the museums but there are certain pieces of art where photography isnt allowed and when that happens, the museum will put a small sign right next to the description with a no camera symbol. You would assume that if people like an art piece, that they would want to know who the artist is, but thats not the case at all. Anywho, the thing that really ticks me off is when i “remind” them of the rule and then they try to take a picture of it anyway… i noticed that taking photos really takes away from the museum expirience. And thats just sad.

  • Gcid

    I live in New York and love going to museums, but c’mon we all know when to go to have the museum empty for ourselves. If you go to a MOMA on a friday (free entrance day), of course this will happen. It’s like buying flights 1 week before thanksgiving and complaining about the price.

    I don’t love people taking photos all the time, but I know it’s the Zeitgest of our time, it’s something bigger than the museum or cultural institutions itself. You can accept it or grow bitter about it, but be sure it won’t change.

  • …If you’re taking the photos for research purposes, you’re not using a flash, and you’re only photographing things long out of copyright (like ancient Greek, Roman or Etruscan art) is it ok? As much as I love art history books, and prefer getting postcards of artwork, sometimes the gift shop just doesn’t have that one obscure work you want.

    • Everywhereist

      I totally think that’s a safe exception to the rule. 🙂

  • Avery

    This kind of reminds me of concerts. I feel like you aren’t able to enjoy it as much if you’re too busy taking videos the whole time. Not to mention how useless a terrible sounding blurry phone video is.

  • Sterling Headset

    I encourage everyone to make their own artistic statement and take as many photos as you can. In fact, make it a contest “who can take the most photos in this Museum”! You are art, don’t listen to these art haters, go snap some pics!

  • Rolando Mora

    I respect the no photo rules but when a guard reprimands me for takin a picture of the plaque with the artist and title so I can Google it later then I think that’s a bit much.

  • Calvin Blake Johnson

    It’s really not that serious, idk why this article is making mountains out of mole hills. If you want a picture and you can get away with it go ahead. Life is too short to not cut through the grass.

  • This is just too fitting so I’d like to link a totally delayed “response”: http://meiert.com/en/blog/20150430/museum-photography/.

    Months ago (and still five years later than this post) I had documented why museum photography should exactly be allowed.

    This is not to suggest there’s a “right” or “wrong” here, but to actually enjoy the disagreement.

  • nadaCliche

    Agree with this all around! It’s just respectful. Great post.

  • Richard Haick

    There is absolutely no evidence, and plenty of evidence to the contrary, that modern flashes damage or degrade most forms of art.

  • Mitch Clark
  • Amelia Ethan

    This is my happiest moment and a remarkable day of my life, i am Amelia Ethan from Australia i’m here to share a testimony how i was healed of 2 year lungs cancer, i been living with this cancer only by the grace of god for the past 2 and half years it wasn’t an easy experience. i tried all medications from various health care center but all to no avail, one day i decided to check on the internet if i could get a possible solution to my illness, in there i found a page” RemedyHome created by Dr La Afa Lord, i read about how he has healed hundred of people living with different kind of sickness and disease like ” Cancer, asthmatic , Polymicrogyria,diabetes, Thyroid Condition,
    Rett Syndrome, Seizure Disorder, skin infection, Mental Illness,Obesity, Cystic Fibrosis,infertility and also how he has restore broken marriages from different couples. after reading the entire page i was convince enough and decided to contact him through his personal email address, i discuss everything about my lungs cancer with him and he assure me that God will definitely perform his healing power on me, after-which he send some parcel to me and direction for use, i applied his parcel as instructed and today i am totally healed from this deadly lungs cancer, i really want to appreciate his good work upon my life, and also for restoring my cousin 8 years broken marriage. and to my to my beautiful friends out there having difficult time reaching him due to the distance you can still send him an Email via: LaAfaLord@dr.com or you may call him for directives via +18635468189 with him all your marital problem , disease will be solve for a better life. i will advise we all share this message to those around us, you could just save a soul.
    Stay bless my friends.

More from The Blog

On Instagram @theeverywhereist

  • We fancy.
  • Wonderful show with the most handsome man in the world. #osf
  • The meals that my beloved is able to make in tiny AirBnB kitchenettes never ceases to amaze me.
  • It begins! So excited, @osfashland!
  • Take note: if you ask your husband if you can move to NYC roughly four dozen times, he will start to cave a little.
  • Incredible reading by the love of my life to a packed room at NeueHouse Madison Square. So proud of you, @randderuiter, and the amazing emcee work by @michaeliconking.
  • Re-posting this photo that @wilreynolds took of us and his youngest near the beach outside of Lisbon. We're back home now, and I can't decide what I miss more: this little guy and his brother, or Portugal. Actually, scratch that. I know.
  • This place looks like a damn fairy tale.
  • Lunch with a view of the water, and some of the best seafood of my life.
  • The entire drive from Sintra to Lisbon looks like this. It's just miles of blue sky and rocky beaches.

All Over The Place

Buy my book and I promise I'll never ask you for anything again.