Saturday, 6 August 2011

No photos allowed... may I use my memory??

Today I went for brunch to the cafe at Monte Cecilia Park. The cafe happens to be part of an arts centre within the homestead building.

Image taken by me. Just so you know. Please ignore the snippet of art bottom left.
After we'd eaten, we wandered the grounds. There were some outdoor sculptures, which I was photographing in context with the landscape and the manor. Until...

A friendly, albeit snooty, lady in a uniform raced out the door and said 'we don't allow photography of the artworks'. To be fair, she didn't tackle me, or stand over me until I deleted the images (which I have done).

However, I fail to see *why* photography is not allowed. Their website mentions nothing about restricting photography (yes, I checked before I went). Why would you not want people to remember their visit? Would they have allowed me to *sketch* the artwork? What if I have a photographic memory? What rights are they trying to protect, exactly?

For comparison, both MoMA and the National Gallery of Victoria allow photography for personal use (i.e. not to put on the internet, or publish in any other way). This seems reasonable.

I'm confused. I can understand not allowing me to publicly reproduce the art, even in the form of a photograph of the artworks in their physical context (a public park, by the way). But I can't understand why a) they don't publish their restrictions on their website, and b) the restrictions exist in the first place.

You may have noticed my Creative Commons licence at the bottom of the page. Essentially, you can show my work on your own webpage if you credit me, but you must not alter my work or use it commercially. I don't see my work as any more or less 'art' than theirs, so what's the story??

4 comments:

  1. It seems to be very much an art gallery thing. Museums will quite often say that they don't allow FLASH photography for the sake of object conservation. But art galleries seem to be far less forthcoming with a reason as to why photography isn't allowed.

    Probably because they want you to spend a small fortune on catalogues at the gift shop! ;)

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  2. Well, that's the weird thing. There was nothing art-related for sale. Hence why I am confused as to their motivation. And why there was no sign or website information about it.

    NGV is an art gallery (it was the first I thought of), and they seem to take the museum approach. Who knows? All I can say is that it doesn't inspire me to go back in a hurry.

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  3. I had a similar thing happen to me at the Bundoora Homestead (also an historic house combined with an art gallery). The receptionist spotted my camera and very politely told me I wasn't allowed to take photos because of the artwork on display, which pretty much ruined the only reason I'd gone there: to take photos of the old homestead. So frustrating.

    Also: Hi! I'm here via Kirsti/Melbourne on my Mind.

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  4. Hi Katie! Welcome!

    In a way, I'm glad that I'm not the only one who has encountered this. But on the other hand, why don't they have this information on their website, or at the gate?? Frustrating.

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