Kristian Knutsen writes about the difficult distinctions between bloggers and traditional press when it comes to taking photographs inside a public building. At issue are the photos taken on the opening day of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCa). The photos I took, blogged here, are part of the controversy. But -- as the article notes -- I asked if photography was permitted as I entered and was told yes. Now, the museum authorities are expressing concern about this photography.
Ironically, I gave them a lot of free publicity, better -- I think -- than advertisements they might shell out a lot of money for. I'm also quoted in the article saying that I think the rights of the artists need to be protected. Myself, I avoided closely picturing any artwork out of respect for the artists' rights. And I think it's important not to interfere with the aesthetic experience of museum-goers. Turning off the flash is an absolute minimum, and standing back and not intruding is a matter of basic respect for others.
As for architecture, however, I think you've got to be allowed to photograph buildings. The building authorities are now fretting about "professional photography," and saying it's different from photography "for personal use." Clearly, they haven't really grasped what photography has become in the age of Flickr. What does it mean anymore to speak of photography "for personal use"? Ordinary people upload their digital files. How repressive do public authorities really want to be about that?