Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me thrice, I'm gonna be pissed.

Just walked back in from an extremely abbreviated visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Given I've been killing myself the last week to get assignments for other classes done, I had been forced to put off this week's photojournalism assignment (candid shots at a planned event), I was going to head over there tonight to shoot their regular Thursday night cocktail hour. Figured I'd get a couple shots in about 45 minutes and get out of there before I got suckered into buying some expensive drink.

This is three times now, though, that the ISG has screwed me over, and only one of them was my own damn fault.

Sometime when I was younger, my family packed up the SUV to go check out the ISG. We'd been hearing good things about it forever, and my folks figured we could get in and out pretty quickly, before my brother (who was all of 7 at the time) or sister (who would have been 3) started to complain. At some point during the trip, my brother apparently leaned too far over a display and one of the security guards threw a hissyfit, manhandled my brother away from the display, and yelled at him right there. He was 7. He hadn't fallen, he just got closer than the security guard liked.

During the summer, while I was working on my Boston in 60 Project, I decided some Monday morning to go to the Gardner museum for my daily trip. I hadn't checked ahead of time; it's not open on Mondays. Of all the days of the week for it to be closed, that didn't make sense to me, but fine, I'll chalk that one up to my own damn fault.

This time, though, I had done my due diligence. I scoured the ISG website (to which I refuse to link) and found no mention of a ban on photography. Great - I'd swallow my pride, get my shots, and get out of there. So I headed over to the museum around 6:15 for an event that ran from 5:30-9:30. After waiting in line for half an hour in the 35-degree drizzle, I finally got into the foyer where I was told "no photography, you'll have to check that". I asked the guy why not, was this not just a regular Thursday night event? "Museum rules." Then I cursed him out colorfully in front of the whole line and walked away. If someone can find any mention of a ban on photography on the ISG website, I'll take my crow pie, but I looked and there was nothing.

So now, with this assignment due tomorrow morning, I have just about no chance to get anything. Thanks, Isabella, and rot in hell!


  1. From the Gardner website:

    All media coverage must be approved by the Museum. Photography for a newspaper or for local media which provides publicity for the Museum is encouraged, but the photographer must sign a form agreeing to send the Museum, prior to publication, the photograph and caption for approval. Photographs are for private use only and may not be published or made part of any public display without specific written authorization from the Office of Special Events.

    Hand held still cameras are permitted in the Museum, but no tripods, video cameras, or large camera bags are allowed. Flash photography is allowed only with the specific consent of the Office of Special Events.

  2. Fair enough, however: this was a handheld still camera, and the camera bag was not that big. If they'd asked me to remove my camera from the bag, that would have been fine. I never attempted to present any credentials (not to mention you're probably not going to find many papers that will allow for caption-approval), I was just told I could not enter with the camera, I would have had to check the entire thing. Period.

    They got understandably a bit paranoid after their stuff got stolen about 15 years ago, but there are limits. "No flash", sure. "No tripods", sure. But "no pictures at all"? C'mon.