n0wak 4:27am, 10 November 2008
It's too bad that the gallery doesn't permit photography inside the building. I'd love to take some shots (and seem some) of the inside of the building once everything's open. It's one thing the ROM does better (photos allowed in the building and most galleries.)
Yes, it is too bad but I just shoot untill they came and asked me to stop. They are not going to arrest you or kick you out.
Craig James White PRO Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Craig James White (member) 10 years ago
There are different rules for this all over the world, and I am somewhat surprised at the tack the AGO takes too. I was approached by a security guard last night and was asked to put my camera away. I told him I had only taken photos of architectural details, not the art on the walls (although later a shot down the length of the Galleria Italia could not help but include Giuseppe Penone's beautiful The Hidden Life Within sculptures). The guard's response was that the gallery has zero tolerance for photography within the walls.

I imagine there may be some dissension among the ranks at the AGO regarding that policy, and this group on Flickr could be construed as evidence of that.

There are three issues regarding photography in galleries that occur to me:
1) that photographers may be a minor nuisance if there is a crowd.
2) that photographers might deprive the gallery of potential funds by publishing images that the gallery could have charged for, and
3) that some foolish photographers use flash which actually damages the artwork over time.

The first issue is negligible, but is dealt with by the sledgehammer action of banning all photography.

The third issue is the most serious as the effects of the flash are undeniable unless we are talking about some very hard material sculpture (stone, concrete, metals, etc. would not be affected by flash.) While a total ban on photography saves the artwork from the effect of flashes, a well-publicized and enforced ban on flash photography would also protect the art.

In returning to the second issue though, there is more gray area here. It is reasonable for the gallery to care about potential lost revenue from someone else publishing images of artwork in the possession of the gallery, however the vast majority of potential photographers in a gallery are casual visitors with no mind to use the image for any purpose other than as a reminder of their visit. Still, a gallery would rather not lose souvenir sales in the shop to those people...

...so it's all about missing some revenue. Other museums have found a way to allow for photography while not losing the revenue they want: they sell tickets. Below is a ticket that I wore on my person this summer while walking around the fantastic Gemaldegalerie in Dresden, Germany. It cost me 5€, or about $7.50, and I could even have taken video had I wanted. (Some of the results are here.)

The Price of Photography

So my question is, why does the AGO have both a prohibition on interior photography, and this Flickr group? It seems there's a chink in the armour, and it might do the gallery some good to rethink whether they really need to wear their damaged armour, or whether another way to deal with photography might be better.
Tutu & Ganggang 10 years ago
I concur.

In this age of everything 2.0, no organization should or can mute the crowd for expressing their concerns and opinions without harming its own reputation; this includes the ban ontaking photos. Flash is definitely detrimental to the historical artworks inside the gallery, but why ban all photography?

I don't think there is a strong negative correlation between visitor taking photos and admission revenue. Contrarily, AGO should leverage the enthusiasm of the visitors to promote the galleries.

There may be some risk of revenue loss in publications associated with letting everyone photograph the interiors, but the amount of buzz created would create public relations and generate global interest, by far offsetting the potential loss from publications. In other words, assuming the core revenue stream of AGO is admissions, the organization should think of this a PR investment that would generate much more value in form of increased admission.

A dollar spent in public relations is worth much more than a dollar spent in marketing.
AGO should even consider developing a platform that facilitates the crowd sourcing for their public relations!

Personally, I am interested in photographing the world-renowned architecture of Frank Gehry, and capturing the visitors' expressions as their faces light up, seeing the stunning masterpieces.
letyeu PRO Posted 10 years ago. Edited by letyeu (member) 10 years ago
Seems like they have relaxed the rules (somewhat)...http://artmatters.ca/blog/index.php?/archives/231-Change-to-AGO-Photography-Policy.html
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