Sunday, July 4, 2010

Photo Talk

Two days ago I visited the William Baczek gallery in Northampton Ma. When this gallery comes up in discussion, more often than not, the conversation leads to this gallery being one of the best in Western Ma. I typically take 1-2 trips in a month to admire the new work that is up. Friday evening when I walked in the door I was greeted with some familiar pieces and a few new pieces that I have yet to see. Moments after I made my way into the second room, the woman behind the desk approached me. Soft spoken, kind and gentle words, she politely asked me not to make any photographs of the art work. In a state of serious disbelief that I was just asked this, I responded by asking if this was a frequent problem. A quick conversation developed about the idiocy that people have been developing over the past few months. Apparently people think it is ok to wallace into a gallery and take their point and shoot out and snap a picture of a piece of art. I expressed that the thought of duplicating a painting had never entered my mind and that I think it was ridiculous someone would do such a thing. Making a picture of a picture, painting, piece of art, etc is copy right infringement. I asked if they enforced deleting the picture before the person left the gallery. To which she responded with a wide eyed yes. She even explained a for instance when a woman didnt know how to use her camera and she had to go through it with the cameras owner to try and figure out how to delete the image. I really was in disbelief that people have the nerve to walk into such a prominent gallery and take a picture of the work hanging up. I commend the woman for having approached me and informed me not to do so. Even though I would never do such a thing.

After browsing the art that is hanging on the walls, I further engaged in conversation with the woman behind the desk. She saw my camera, draped around my shoulder half hidden behind me, for the second time and asked me if I am a photographer. To her question I responded with a yes. After our conversation, during my walk around the town, I began to think about her question. Just because you have a camera, does this make you a photographer? To this, I say no. Just as much as having a bike, doesn't mean you're a cyclist. To the average person with a camera, they take pictures. Mere snapshots, if you will. Photographs, represent more than just a simple snapshot. Cameras are a tool for pictures and photographs. Pictures and photographs differ in numerous ways. A subject for another discussion. However, just entering a fine arts gallery can make an impact on how we think about more than just the subject of art within the context of the walls holding the pieces. It can lead us to a more subjective and literal meaning on other subjects. In my case, it was photography.

Since I am discussing art, galleries, and photography all in one post, here is a panorama of a sculpting studio I made just over a month ago.

1 comment:

Joey B said...

Having worked on the gallery side of things I can emphatically say this:

That policy is a load of horseshit.

I mean come on... What is the person going to do... Start making prints of a painting? And sell them? It's hard enough to sell prints of the paintings one carries. As nice as these paintings may be... And I know who Will carries... It's a bit overblown.

The best is of pieces in public museums whose images are in the public domain. Photographing art is not a crime. It's not copyright infringement. It harms neither the artist nor the artwork. In fact, the ever deadly "flash photography" that so many galleries and museums claim will cause their artwork to turn instantly to dust is ludicrous. For works on paper, protected in even regular glass, the effect is nil. Throw on some uv or museum glass and you'd have to have a speedlight powered by an a-bomb to do anything. And paintings on canvas? The humidity from your body is likely to as much, or more damage to them.

It's nonsense.