Monday, January 03, 2011

Give it your best shot

In Paris, the Louvre is muttering about stopping photography in its galleries. This is not because of copyright infringements (most international museums realise that with digital communications, pocket cameras and phones this is a hiding to nowhere) but to enhance the experience for non-photographing visitors. Good luck with that. 

At the Los Angeles County Museum we saw another step towards a global image free-for-all as a LACMA guard used a visitor's camera to photograph him and his partner with Jeff Koons's Michael Jackson and Bubbles. Then, at the Getty Museum, the exception proved the rule when we tried to snap a work by James Ensor. The Getty allows non-flash photography like most American museums but we were told that in this gallery the Ensor, and the Ensor alone, could not be photographed because of ‘some copyright problem.’ This sounded fair enough especially as the guard added, “But photograph anything else that takes your fancy.”