When I was at the British Museum I saw something that should have surprised me but, frankly, didn’t. There was a kid going around the museum with a DS. He’d go up to a piece, take a picture with his DS and then go to the next one. There was absolutely no thought or recognition in his actions – he’d pause long enough to take a picture then move on.
I wanted to take the DS from him and tell him to stop and actually look at what was in front of him. Aren’t museums meant for viewing? Not snapping a pic and trudging along?
But am I being a hypocrite? Don’t I take pictures in museums?
Yes, yes I do – but I have my reasons. See, I don’t live in London, so I can’t go to the museum every time I want to see something. In the past I’ve regretted not taking pictures of artwork that I liked, so if I see something I really like I’ll want a picture as a reminder of how awesome that piece is.
For example, that picture above – look at the drapery on it. That drapery was carved – carved into freakin’ stone. I’d never be able to make anything like that.
I took a picture when I went to see Jasper John’s Flag, but that was after I got a good look up close. I took a few minutes to really look at the brushwork (encaustic paint is great to view up close).
Or consider “Measuring the Universe”. I spent a good while looking at names and dates on the walls of this piece.
The trick is not to get so caught up taking pictures that you miss the chance to actually look at the artwork. Pictures don’t do art justice, not when you can stand up close to them and see them the way the artist meant for them to be seen.
Also, don’t use your flash. That’s really not cool.