The Oakland Museum of California

Mother and Child, #2

The fact that the Oakland Museum of California lets you shoot in their galleries is really fantastic. So many art museums (San Francisco’s MOMA for instance) are proprietary with their collections and will not let you shoot their stuff.

A museum should be about sharing as broadly as possible with the general public the works in their collection. Photographers are an army of archivists. And great photographers can remix art and find new ways to show, share and present it.

The Oakland Museum deserves a great deal of credit for allowing photographers to shoot their collection and thereby maintaining true to the idea of what a public museum should be about.

I haven’t been to the MOMA in three years because of their no photography policy. It’s backwards, I know, and I need to get over that, but I have such a distaste for the policy of the place that it may be years before I find my way back in there — despite the fact that locked up inside and hidden away are some of the great artistic treasures of our time.

On the other hand, at the Flickrmeetup at the Oakland Museum on Saturday I purchased a membership to the museum (even tax deductable they say on their website). I will be back there many, many times and would encourage anyone I know, and especially photographers to visit as well. There are so many amazing things to see and shoot there.

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3 Comments

  1. A couple of years ago at the Metropolitan Museum in New York a security guard stopped me from videotaping, although taking pictures with still cameras was allowed. This is an incredibly stupid and technologically-backward policy, since most digital still cameras can now take video anyway, and digital video cameras can take stills – and how would they know which I was doing without actually looking at the results?

  2. Fazal Majid says:

    That museum has the largest collection of Dorothea Lange’s work, as fine as any in SFMoMA’s photography collections, so it’s well worth a visit.

  3. Fazal Majid says:

    Of course, Lange’s most famous work, “Migrant Mother“, is in the Library of Congress archives.