Thursday, December 13, 2007

Forbidden fruit

The web site Strictly no photography encourages people to post photographs taken where you are not allowed to take them. Their Mission is “To organize the world's forbidden visual information and make it universally accessible and useful.” So far they have around 450 photos with about 80 percent taken in art galleries and museums. What is it with art and photography? With modern digital cameras there is rarely need for flash (although someone told us that a museum had recently reported flash didn’t affect art works anyway!) and they are small and unobtrusive. Now that so many museums allow photography in their galleries, the Louvre and MoMA, to name two biggies, why don’t the rest follow suit? What is it that they are trying to protect? The copyright thing is covered by law and practically all the photography in art museums is for personal use – try publishing a photo from a small digital camera working in the subdued light of an art gallery and see how you get on. Getting back to Strictly no photography, the site unfortunately features, along with a mountain of its own we-warned-you’s including ‘terms and conditions’, a ‘privacy policy’ and a ‘use policy’. The caveats include, “You acknowledge that in no way has this Site encouraged, induced, incited or in any other way prompted you to take any photograph where to do so is contrary to any law or legal control in any jurisdiction.” Right.