On the habit of taking pictures at museums

Câmeras de foto e vídeo na obra "Noticias sin importancia" de Eduardo Arroyo exposta no Centre Pompidou em Paris. Foto: Cíntia Costa.

I love art. To me, a good work of art is that which touches me. I’m not picky: it can be something at the Louvre, a graffiti at the streets or a precious come-up at a design store. But I love it when I come across some ouvre d’art that makes me think, gives me joy, shocks me, gets my eyes watering, makes me wonder.

In my latest trips, I developed the habit of photographing art and their subtitles. At museums, every time photos are allowed, I shoot the piece of art, get a zoomed picture of those little cards with their name, author and date. If it’s street art, I take a picture of whatever caught my eye and then I photograph the surroundings, to remember the context and, maybe, with some luck, find out more about it online.

The art connoisseurs don’t like cameras in the museums. They say that taking pictures kills the idea of contemplation, and that people who do that are not really art appreciators. Non sense!

I’m that type of person that enjoys taking pictures at museums and I cannot hide. In my pictures, I capture all that gets my attention and have the information I need to, later, find more about those not so famous ones. Photographing at museums helps me to contemplate art more, and also to expand my repertoire (some people know all the famous art work from books; as for me, some of them I had never heard of before seeing them in person).

There’s the other side, of course. Some art works, like the Monalisa, from Leonardo Da Vince, are almost celebrities, and there are people who come to Louvre only to take a picture with it/of it, just for the fun of being in the same room as it and having seeing it in person. It’s like a life achievement. There’s no way you can ever sit and contemplate the Monalisa (unless you’re super famous and get invited for a one-on-one visit, just you and the smiling lady).

Monalisa no Louvre: sala cheia de turistas tirando fotos. Foto: Cíntia Costa.

Monalisa superstar, always surrounded by people (and cameras).

Also, you always have those lame people who jump in front of other people to take pictures, and don’t respect the museum’s rules about using flash or even not allowing photos. It’s the same kind that won’t shut up in a theater play, you know?

Even so, I stand up for the habit of photographing art. With gentleness, respecting the others and abiding to the museums’ rules, you go home with a memory card full of good memories and tons of information to discover more later (who was that sculptor guy? What was his technique? What about the young lady in that painting? Was she famous? What about that funny looking sculpture? I wonder if what I got from it was what the artist meant…).

Sometimes, I read or hear something that makes me remember of some art work and then I go through my image folders in my computer to find them. Sometimes, they illustrate perfectly something I want to talk about (like those beautiful illustrations on the begining of this post, called more info here, that I found when visiting the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

By the way, I think I’ll start sharing them here with you. Perhaps, I’ll help you discover something new that will enchant you too…

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