Ways On How To Get Great Looking Photos

Simon Blint, Director of Visitor Relations at the SF MOMA, Yeah You Jerk, Photography is Not a Crime
Image by Thomas Hawk
If you think that photographers should not be subject to this kind of harassment digg this here.

Simon Blint, Director of Visitor Relations at the SF MOMA is a first rate jerk.

Recently I blogged about my excitement regarding the San Francisco MOMA’s decision to begin allowing photography in their permanent collection after years of maintaining a closed no photography policy. Directly because of this change in policy, I decided to purchase a family membership in order to support the museum, both with my artistic energy and financially. I was excited to begin spending regular time exploring and documenting the museum.

Unfortunately, I should have known better than to really believe that the San Francisco MOMA was serious about opening up the art and architecture entrusted to them to the general public.

After purchasing my family membership and visiting the museum today I was forcibly thrown out of the museum by two museum security guards at the direction of the Director of Visitor Relations Simon Blint.

My crime? Taking a photograph from the second floor stairs in the SFMOMA’s atrium (an area where the SF MOMA’s own website explicitly says photography is allowed).

You can see the photograph that I took when I was thrown out at the top of this post.

During the course of my interaction with Blint I told him that:

1. I was a new member of the museum and that I’d been in contact with Thea Stein in the Marketing and Communications Department of the museum who had confirmed the recent change in museum policy with me personally regarding photography in the museum.

2. That the SF MOMA’s own website explicitly allows photography in the atrium.

3. That I would be blogging my forcible eviction from the MOMA.

Blint told me that "he did not care" and that he needed to "protect" his employees — employees that might appear in my photographs. I was not shooting with a tripod. I was not shooting with a flash. I was being quiet and respectful of the area and the other patrons.

Blint on the other hand was hostile, accusatory and refused to even examine my photographs or allow me to share with him what I was doing with my art. He accused me of using a "telephoto" lens to spy on his staff from the public staircase on the second floor. Blint obviously knows nothing of photography because the 14mm ultra wide angle lens on my camera body was about the furthest thing possible from a telephoto lens. He refused to discuss this, refused to examine my photographs, refused to consider it at all and simply had me ejected with two security guards.

Ironically Blint also tried to eject my friend torbakhopper who was hanging out with me at the museum today and he wasn’t even taking photographs. He finally relented on his case and told him that he could stay if he wanted but that I was going to be forcibly ejected.

Blint refused to escalate the situation to a superior even though I told him I’d been in contact with museum personnel. He was on his own personal power trip and misused and abused the authority entrusted to him for the public benefit to harass, humiliate and embarrass a paying member of the museum. Photography is not a crime

I believe that I was very much targeted in this case because I was using a digital SLR. There were plenty of people taking photographs of the atrium using point and shoots that Simon did not target, but I think that it was the fact that I was using a larger DSLR that made me a target. Rather than try to understand what I and my art were about Simon felt the smarter way to deal with the situation was simply to kick me out of his museum.

While I might be able to understand if my ejection from the museum had been at the hand of an overzealous security guard who was simply uninformed about the SF MOMA’s change in policy regarding photography in their museum, when this ejection came directly from the Director of Visitor Relations I find this to be unacceptable.

If the museum has a photography allowed policy in their atrium as explicitly expressed on their website and someone identifies themselves as a photographer, artist and paying and supporting member of museum I would expect less hostility, aggression and harassment. Photography is an art and those of us who choose to practice the great art of street photography ought not be targeted by bullies like Blint. Many of the great artists, artists being shown in the SF MOMA itself were practitioners of street photography. It is ironic that the great Cartier-Bresson, who took thousands of photographs of unsuspecting people in his work, hangs in the museum while a photographer practicing the same type of work gets ejected by a power-trippy asshole. It’s hypocritical and disappointing.

It is unfortunate that one of my first experiences as a paying member of the SF MOMA had to be full of hatred, bitterness and harassment.

Update: The SFMOMA Responds to this incident here.

Photography can be very enriching and help you acquire new skills. To get the most out of it, a certain amount of research and intelligence-gathering is required. The article below provides some tips on how to take incredible pictures.

One crucial thing to remember is to shoot multiple pictures of your subject; take as many as possible. You can choose later which shots are best. Digital photography enables you to do this without wasting precious film, thereby ensuring that you capture the perfect image.

If you’re shooting fast moving subjects, select camera settings that will clearly show your subject instead of leaving it blurry. Increase your ISO to make sure everything works properly. This technique will produce a clear image, even when the subject is in rapid motion.

Find the right combination between shutter speed, aperture and ISO. These are the elements that determine exposure when you are photographing subjects. It is possible to use overexposed photos in some cases, but generally these should be avoided. With a little experimentation, you can strike the right balance between the 3 settings to deliver the results you want.

Get your subject into the most flattering position. If you find that photos taken during family gatherings never seem to turn out well, the problem could be due to the candid nature of the shot, and the resulting element of surprise. Posing your subject will increase the likelihood you get the shot you want.

Find inspiring scenes in ordinary places. Grab the camera and begin taking pictures of familiar objects. You could use items like a pencil or a kitchen sink to experiment with different forms and compositions. How unique your photo turns out is completely in your control. Look at it as a challenge to see how interesting you can make the object.

Keep in mind how intimidating it can be to have all eyes focused on you as a model, so help your model to feel comfortable with you by creating a relaxed atmosphere. Many people feel self-conscious or uncomfortable being put in front of a camera. Be friendly, strike up a conversation and ask permission to take pictures. People should know that it’s art and not a privacy invasion.

When you first arrive for a wedding photography job, you can warm up by looking for poignant, unplanned vignettes: a fresh centerpiece, an abandoned purse, a jacket thrown over a chair. Sometimes you will get some fantastic shots that are unexpected.

There are three important items to bear in mind when photographing any landscape item. These three include a background, a mid ground and foreground. These are important for photography, but also in other kinds of art.

You need to know when you should and shouldn’t use the flash that is on your camera. It’s not something to just always leave on auto. If you use too much light, you may wash out the subject and spoil the picture. Be sure that you have the flash turned on when you’re in a dim environment or have to deal with low lighting.

Immediately after departing on a trip, begin snapping photographs. Don’t forget to take pictures of your journey, as it can provide images as memorable as the destination itself. You can document your entire journey with the camera. This will give you more memories in the future, and it increases the chance a very good shot pops up.

No doubt about it, to become a good photographer, it’s necessary to do some research and get in quite a bit of practice. Some of the information here will help you see instant improvement; however, some of the others will require you to practice before progress can be made. Don’t let yourself get discouraged, photography should be fun. Keep the above tips close by to become a more successful photographer.

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