Blog / 2012 / When People Take Photos of My Art in the Gallery

December 8, 2012

When people take photos of my art in the gallery, I don’t clear my throat or frown pointedly. I don’t chide them or berate them or bring up copyright to intimidate them. I don’t try to make them feel bad at all. And I certainly don’t try to stop them.

Crime Against Nature at Place gallery in Portland, Oregon
photo by Gwenn Seemel

When people take photos of my art in the gallery, they’re doing so for one of five of reasons:

  1. They are artists themselves and they appreciate my technique.
  2. They are inspired by something I’ve done, and they want to remember to try it themselves.

  3. They are art students.
  4. They are learning to see and to make, and, on this particular day, I happen to be their teacher.

  5. They are art lovers and they’ve enjoyed quite a lot of art in their day.
  6. Still, my art is special to them and worth being photographed.

  7. They are people touched by camera-craze.
  8. The proliferation of affordable digital cameras and camera phones has created a culture wherein many people don’t feel something is real unless they document it. The resulting image may not even be the point: it’s the experience of pressing the shutter release button that matters to some. These people don’t see the thing until their camera shows them the thing. (No really, I’m sure it’s a diagnosable psychological condition.)

  9. They are photographing my work in poor light conditions with less-than-optimal equipment because they intend to sell reproductions of the work for a pretty penny.
  10. This means they are either:

    1. profoundly stupid, and they should be educated about their mistakes and perhaps even pointed towards my free e-book which would be an excellent source of high quality images of my work.
    2. a figment of copyright law’s deranged imagination, and they would stop haunting artists everywhere if only people would watch the documentary RIP: A Remix Manifesto or read Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture.

In the end, you don’t have to be an advocate of free culture to love people who photograph your work in the gallery. You just have to be thoughtful.

Please feel free to photograph my work. My show, Crime Against Nature, is up at Place right now.

Reception: 15 December, 5 - 9 PM
Artist talk: 5 January, 2 - 3 PM
Open: through 12 January
Hours: Thursday - Sunday, 12 - 6 PM

3rd floor of Pioneer Place
SW 5th and Yamhill, Portland, Oregon

Maybe this post made you think of something you want to share with me? Or perhaps you have a question about my art? I’d love to hear from you!


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