The Goldwater Library is pleased to announce its contribution to community-based photo sharing, Metropolitan Museum: Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.
If you're reading this post, chances are you're already familiar with flickr, one of several social networking photo sharing tools on the Internet. The 'sharing' in photo sharing comes not only from adding photographs to the Internet for all to see. It also comes from contributing to other people's photos with notes, comments, and keywords or phrases, known as 'tags'.
Albums (or 'sets' in flickr parlance) allow any member-contributors to assemble photographs by theme, event, or whatever concept they choose. Similarly members can create a collective album, known as a 'group' or 'pool', to take advantage of other people's photographs by likewise gathering them under a single banner. It's this 'pool' concept that we're taking advantage of, a gathering together photos taken by visitors to the AAOA galleries -- the objects, the installation, the visitors, in short, the entire experience.
An article some months back in Artnet reblogged in this space got us thinking about differences in the approach taken by art museums toward photography in their galleries. Art museums have had policies governing the taking of photographs in their galleries since indoor photography first became practical. And when it comes to publishing photographs of museum objects, museums have created a cottage industry in selling rights and reproductions of objects in their collections.
But the pervasiveness of digital photography and photo sharing websites (such as flickr) has significantly altered the equation. There's scarcely anywhere impervious to digital photo documentation. Family photographs, once relegated to shoe boxes or dusty albums, can now not only be readily retrieved but also relentless shared with everyone. In effect, the personal becomes not just public but universal. And amateur photography taken inside museums have long been a staple of travel albums.
But why this particular project and why now?