I’m a regular visitor to the NGV, and recently went to see the free exhibition Sneakers: Classics to Customs. It’s a really clever idea, and well executed, and it’s a shame that all the kids, teenagers and parents downstairs for the Tezuka anime/manga exhibition did not go upstairs to see this. I was also pleased to see a pair of Onitsuka Tiger sneakers there – they’re my current favourites.
At special exhibitions and for all fragile works, photography is forbidden as flash lights can damage the works. It is also forbidden as it limits circulation of images of copyright and intellectual property restricted works.
The gallery states on its website that “Taking photos, using video cameras, smoking, using mobile phones, food and drinks are prohibited in the gallery spaces.”
This is all fine with me, but do the same rules apply to a collection of sneakers? Does copyright exist for a collection of common objects? Can photography, specifically with the flash deliberately turned off, cause any possible harm to the sneakers or to the experience of other patrons in the gallery? I think not, so I took some pictures.
Can the general public be trusted to never use flash in art galleries and museums? No, hence the necessity of rules. However, on occasions in various places I have asked to shoot with the flash off and have been allowed to (I have not yet asked at the NGV).
It’s kind of like using your mobile phone (with the phone part turned off) while flying on commercial airliners to listen to music or play games. Perhaps galleries will eventually start to create more sophisticated photography policies.