Photography in the Museum

A major part of every travel is a museum, especially if you are a history and art geek like I am. They may seem to be lacking in material for photos, but this could be no further from the truth. These places are often rich in architectural details, filled with people from different cultures and of different ages, and they are full of artifacts that can inspire and amaze. That’s why you should always spend extra time, if the museum allows it, taking photos and thinking about how best to represent what you see. This time I am going to talk about different approaches to photography in the context of the museum.

A Museum is an Artifact

These warehouses of human imagination, culture, and history are objects in their own right. They are often interesting and historically significant buildings or artistic and architectural expressions. They can be inspiring, overwhelming, and emotionally draining. What one finds in photos that represent these institutions is a famous feature that is repeatedly used in representing the museum. No meter the size of the building, and the many different features it has it is always shown from the same angle. Try making a different photo of the building you are visiting. For instance, why is the Louvre always represented with the glass pyramid entrance?

People make the Museum Alive

People in a mass are always an interesting theme for photographers. Especially when they meet in special occasions and places. The museum is not a concert, but it can have just as interesting an effect on the viewers as any pop artist.

bwThink about the emotions, famous piece of art, stir up in some people, and the ways they react when they view them. Think about the endless rows of people and cameras in front of the Mona Lisa, or the people crying in front of Van Gogh’s paintings. These are all interesting subjects you can explore with your camera. Just make sure that you are respecting the people you are taking photos of because emotions can be high.

Art and Artefacts

The main purpose of going to one of these giants is to learn something new about the region you are visiting or to see it’s the artistic and historic wealth. These artifacts, sculptures, and paintings are represented in many books, and on many websites. This doesn’t mean that you cannot make your own memory of that work.

Don’t concentrate just on the artifact, try and make a photo that balances the environment without losing the focus on a specific object. Maybe even accent an artistic feature in a room, rather than the exhibition itself. And always have in mind that these artifacts are often fragile and old so respect the rules of the institution you are visiting.