Why is photography prohibited in some museums?

You must have seen that taking photos is prohibited in some museums or booths? Okay, but why is it forbidden to take photos in museums? What lies behind the photography ban in the museum?

You may have noticed that it is forbidden to take photos in most museums or historical places. This ban is a common situation not only in our country, but also all over the world. Although some museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, allow taking pictures in certain sections, the ban continues to be applied in special stands, which are the main source of interest in general.

This ban may seem strange, but it is implemented to eliminate many different problems, most of which are financial.

The photo ban thwarts people’s enormous desire to visually record their lives. According to assumptions made about the metric of photos uploaded to the Internet, we take and share about one trillion digital photos each year. Among the most recognizable photos uploaded to the Internet, selfies taken in front of famous objects, places, and monuments rank first. While technologies such as smartphones and camera glasses make it easier to record our daily lives, they make such photo bans more annoying. The fact that these places sell imitations of works that are forbidden to be photographed in catering shops and that they actually upload high-resolution photographs to the internet makes these prohibitions even more incomprehensible.

Why is photography prohibited in museums?

  1. The assumption that sudden and heavy flashes of camera flashes damage photographs, paints, and coatings of sensitive objects. : Research by Martin Evans of the University of Cambridge suggests that publicly sourced strobes do not cause any valuable damage to museum artifacts. However, the fear that the flashes will damage the works stands out as the primary reason for the photography ban.

  2. Improving the visitor experience by banning cameras: Visitors who enjoy visiting a museum are more likely to visit it again. If there is a crowd of people trying to take pictures in front of you while looking at a booth, it will be very difficult for you to enjoy that exhibition. But perhaps even more valuable is the fact that the crowd of people using selfie sticks, which will probably bump into other people and even booth objects, causes traffic jams on the booth roads. These jams will significantly worsen everyone’s experience. In addition, due to the dangerous movements of some photographers to hang from the balconies in order to capture a “fun” situation, the stoppages, delays and insurance costs that may occur at the stands are also reduced.

  3. Restriction of photo shooting and marketing of these photos by editor:The prohibition of taking photographs of a museum or historical place is based on the rule that the only legal photographs of those places or stands can be taken by the organizers.

  4. Security concerns: According to this idea, preventing photos of booths from spreading online prevents thieves or terrorists from identifying weak spots in alarm systems and security cameras.

  5. Copyright : The copyrights of the exhibited projects mostly belong to the people and artists who produced them and aim to preserve them. These copyrights require a certain price to be paid when someone wants to “make copies of the work”. Copyrights are generally valid for the lifetime of the artist and for 70 years after his death. This means that the copyright of many old works, including works from the Renaissance period, expired years ago. But copyright can be a major issue when it comes to contemporary works of art, especially if a work is leased to a museum for a stand alone. Museums do not own the copyrights of the leased works. Therefore, taking pictures of the works may mean copyright infringement.