A recent trip to a Georgia O’Keefe exhibit at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY, reminded me about another thing you have to love about Le Musee d’Orsay in Paris: You can take digital pictures of your favorite paintings. In the old days, flash photography was forbidden in many museums after someone finally had the bright idea that millions of camera flashes per day would eventually have some impact on canvases which each day are nakedly exposed to thousands of viewers exhaling carbon dioxide. When you think about it, seeing ANY masterpiece which hasn’t been shielded with plexiglass and cordoned off with barbed wire is perhaps one of those little privileges in life that we take for granted.
I hate to say how many times I’ve gone to the Musee d’Orsay WITHOUT bringing my camera. It seemed pointless. Certainly there were much better reproductions in the books being sold at the museum bookstore if I felt I needed to carry off the image. But that was before the days that I was introduced to Carl Zeiss. The quality of digital cameras continues to improve and even though my models are old now, the Carl Zeiss lense
continues to do a good job (at least for my needs).
These photos were taken with a SONY DCR-TRV25 videocamera which also takes still shots. The newly purchased SONY DCS-T1 Cybershot(also with a Carl Zeiss) which is not much larger than my cell phone takes equally clear photos (turn off the flash feature in the museum). The fact that there is so much ‘merchandising of the Masters’ in most galleries, it may not be too long in the future before photos will be forbidden under any circumstances.
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Planning on going to the Musee d’Orsay?
Remember the museum is closed on Mondays and open late on Thursday nights. The first Sunday of the month is FREE!
For details check out the Musee d’Orsay website under the headings: Practical Information and Access.