In yesterday’s blog my partner was complaining about the photography ban in the famous mansion he was visiting. As prolific travelers and photographers, we come up against bans all the time. My daughter, Kristanne, happened upon two articles on the subject and sent them to me.

First, let me explain that I visited the Louvre in 1987 and I was amazed that they allowed flash photography. They obviously weren’t worried about flash damaging their treasures. Tests have proved that flash is no more damaging than the gallery lighting. Jim and I rarely use flash. I like it in a darkened bar with intended gloom and colored neon lights.

Now, the excuse is, they think you won’t buy post cards or other items in the museum store if you take photos. That doesn’t hold water either. In the Louvre I bought beautiful prints of famous artwork as gifts. I buy post cards all the time. And sometimes books.

Another excuse, the copyright laws are trampled upon. Sure, people in droves are going to take a picture of someones work, copy it, sell it,  and pass it off as their own?  It is ludicrous. I doubt it has ever happened.

Most galleries allow photos, some don’t. The bans are laughable, really, because every gallery, save one exception, where the owners control the gallery, they love it when you photograph their work. They are getting free advertising. You name their gallery and give an example of what they do. If the owners love it, why wouldn’t all artists like it?

And, my final point on the subject, any brochure advertising a mansion, a ghost town, a gallery, an event, a visitors center, shows a picture because a picture entices you to want to see more. Any magazine describing  a circus, an event, a beautiful town, provides a picture. And, most telling, magazines constantly tout food at restaurants. They usually publish a picture and a famous recipe or two. And providing the recipe does NOT keep customers away, as they used to believe.

We obey their bans but our readers who can’t ever get there miss out. That is why I resent the bans.


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

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  1. stevenfletcher

    Ask in advance of entering the museum, art gallery etc if photography is permitted. If it is not then don’t go in and make sure management knows why. If enough photographers did that policies would change.

    • 2gadabout

      Jim has done that several times, walked out and made it known why. The docent is generally a volunteer who is following orders and has no power to change that policy. Hopefully, she relates the experience to superiors who may or may not care. Most tourists take a few pictures and won’t walk out over it. We take extensive photos and publish in the San Francisco Chronicle travel page, Jim also does the Seattle Post Intelligencer. Between the two of us we use the same material on four blogs. We don’t accept advertising or money for our blog. We like to let family and friends know where we are and what we are doing and hopefully engage others who can’t go where we do or encourage them to put a place in their future travel plans. It is fun and harmless. It is the big outfits like the Smithsonian, or a foreign gallery that have a temporary exhibit in a local museum that have this blanket requirement that I find stupidly restrictive. I love reading a blog where someone has visited the same place I have and get their different impressions of the same place. Hey, thanks for being there.

  2. As a retired professional photographer I have no problem with photography bans — in large part because too many tourist photographers are a danger to both themselves and others.

    I’ve seen amateurs back into people while trying to frame their image; I’ve seen amateurs and photographers both fall down stairs, uneven pavement surfaces, etc. Photography is a fun hobby but people can be so obsessive about their images that create dangerous conditions for others and often interfere with the enjoyment of photogenic places by others. Tripods, flashes, camera bags on the floor, and photographers wasting the time of other visitors when they don’t want someone ruining their shot.

    If for no other reason than liability if a place or institution bans photography I respect their wishes. And if I wanted to visit in the first place whether or not I can create images doesn’t matter.

    If you are careful with your equipment and respectful of other visitors — great. Just know that not all are such and risk of litigation in our society is enough to give us all pause.

    Cheers, and keep up the interesting blog.

    • 2gadabout

      It sounds like your photography experiences were with a different type of equipment. The only place we see tripods and multiple lenses and big camera bags is in the forest among the birders. This is the digital age and I’ve never once witnessed anything you’re describing. Most tourists use their phones. We always offer to take people’s pictures in front of a beautiful vista, so they don’t have to take pictures of each other. I guess we don’t only go to look, we enjoy engaging others who are sharing the same scene. We go to share photos with those who can’t travel like we do. And, in the end, we do respect photography bans. Of course, as you say, being respectful of others is paramount. That isn’t difficult. Thanks for stopping by.

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