Tag Archives: Security

Museums Get Tough on the Selfie Stick

Walking through museums behind young children scares me. Weird huh? Well, young children have young minds. Those minds have not quite matured enough to figure out that running into the 3000 year old vase swinging your toy is not a good idea.

Children usually lack that bit of common sense and need an adult to guide them through this experimental period of their lives. My years as an educator have taught me that sometimes this common sense passes on to the next generation and sometimes it doesn’t.

In the prehistoric world very few people lived to see 30 years old. Why? Because back then, without medicine and technology, one grand act of stupidity took them out of the human breeding population for good.

But, we’ve moved on. We invented. We, as a species, overcame the chance that doing a stupid thing results in your untimely death. There are no more Wooly Rhinoceroses to play cow tipping with.

Likewise, we now have rules of no running in the museum. Museums hired guards to patrol the art galleries to enforce this rule. Calmness and serenity should descend in the art museum. Unfortunately, human ingenuity is known for creating both chaos and order.

Enter the latest act of social silliness, the selfie stick. According to Molly Shilo of the Observer the MoMA is the latest in a long string of museums including the Frick and the Guggenheim that have seen the potential danger in our latest social craze. In response, they have all outlawed the use of selfie sticks in the museum.

No more can the young carefree mind swing a selfie stick around and carelessly carve up a Caravaggio. No one will accidentally poke a Pollock. That 3,000-year-old vase of the sheer genius and artistic style of a civilization long dead is still viewable to everyone.

In the end, this is a good thing. It’s a sign that the museums are responding to popular outside trends and are trying to save both the world of art history and the youth of today.  It saves the art world from unmitigated disaster and any youths from making a stupid life-changing mistake in the name of a selfie.

The young student of the arts may not understand what the big deal is. They may even rebel at the idea of not being allowed to have this fun. I wish to encourage a sense of patience to these future protectors of human ingenuity. Your selfie is not worth it.

In order to explain this concept, one must understand  that while we have a better chance of surviving the consequences of our actions. If you mutilate a $41.1 million Matisse with your selfie stick you may wish you didn’t survive.   Your allowance sure won’t.

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Travel Security: 5 Tips For Safe Travel


Security of yourself and your camera is very important when traveling.  No one likes to have a job assignment or vacation ruined because of a thief.  Here are 5 steps that might help the next time your out-of-town.


1.  You are not going to blend in.  Don’t try to fit in but don’t try to stand out either.  The locals already know you don’t belong, but you should not aggravate that situation. The only place a person with expensive cameras and big telephoto lenses blend in is a sporting event.  If you find that you need to travel to a less than savory area of a city or country, hire a local guide or a local photographer as your second shooter or security. Do not go alone.  The locals will know where it is safe to visit.


2.  Hotels are vulnerable when the maid is cleaning your room.  It’s usually not the maid or hotel staff you have to worry about.  A well dressed person can simply walk into your hotel room while the maid is there and claim they forgot something.  Wham!  You just got robbed.  Use the hotel vault or use the safe in your room to protect things. You could also lock your bags with a chain around a bedpost or the dresser.


3.  Make sure to zip your bags closed.  The easiest way to do this is just to lock you bags with a small travel lock.  When walking around with a backpack, this can prevent pickpockets from accessing your things easily.


4.  When you’re in the local environment the type of bag you use for your equipment is important.  A major rule is less is more.  Remember you are a photographing “tourist”, not a pack llama.  Several photographers use hunting or fishing vests that have several deep pockets and carry things like UV lenses and cleaners.  Backpacks are great but you have to take them off to get anything.  A sling bag worn across the body is better. It’s easy to carry the bag in front of you if you need access to the bag.


5.  Remember that no camera or personal equipment is ever worth your life.  Equipment is replaceable, hopefully you aren’t.  That is what insurance companies are for.  Get insurance, either a travel policy or a separate business policy.  If you are traveling internationally, keep a list of phone numbers for your countries embassy or consulate in case something happens.  If something bad happens, speaking to a person who speaks your language fluently will make all the difference in what happens next.

Most of all, just use common sense.  Real life is not a scripted reality TV show.  Respect the laws, customs, and any police or security officers with large automatic weapons. Be safe.

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