Tuesday, May 07, 2013


Apart from photographing your friends posing in front of works in art museums (we've recently watched a ten minute set of mimic-poses in front of Andy Warhol’s painting Ethel Scull 36 times that would have done a professional model shoot proud) there’s a new kind of photography in town. Museum visitors are starting to use the zoom feature on their phone cameras to record those illusive details you miss. A whole new micro world of art is coming into focus - and with an iPad of course the experience is hugely magnified.

How will the museums respond? Well if people can have an intimate close-up view of works their experience will be very different and they'll have different kinds of questions. There's not much point blandly announcing on a label that a knife is richly illustrated with animal figures if the visitor via a few camera shots has already discovered that the animals all have human heads and they seem to have weapons drawn. As they say in Starshiptroopers, "Do you want to know more?" This is a different way of looking that will demand different ways of presentation and interpretation. Good luck with that.
Images: top left to right, James Ensor Masks confronting death,  Henri Matisse The goldfish bowl, Caesar captive before Shopur II, Seal ring in the name of Hajji Muhammad Mahmud, El Anatsui's Dusasa II and Alberto Giacometti's City square (Details follow in the same order).