Gallery snaps over selfie sticks

Published: Wednesday 11th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Selfie sticks are to be banned from the National Gallery.

Visitors will not be able to use the gadgets – used by people to take photographs of themselves – at the venue because they fall under the category of tripods, which are already prohibited.

Other cultural destinations in London are believed to be considering a similar move.

A spokeswoman for the National Gallery said: “Photography is allowed for personal, non-commercial purposes in the National Gallery – however there are a few exceptions in order to protect paintings, copyright of loans, individual privacy and the overall visitor experience. Therefore the use of flash and tripods is not permitted.

“Our gallery assistants and visitor-facing staff are fully briefed and instructed to ensure we are striking the correct balance between visitor experience and the security and safety of works on display.

“Therefore they will use their discretion on a case-by-case basis in preventing photography which puts the safety of the collection at risk or obstructs other visitors.”

They have drawn disapproval from traditionalists but selfie sticks have proved immensely popular, with Amazon reporting that sales rose by 301% in the three months September-November.

Boris Johnson, Beyonce and Barack Obama – who used one during a video promotion at the White House – are among those seen with the devices.

However, they have met increasing resistance in recent months.

Tottenham Hotspur banned selfie sticks from White Hart Lane after a complaint from a fan, while they have also been barred at a number of galleries and museums in the US and France.

The online Collins dictionary describes a selfie stick as “an elongated stick to which you attach a camera or mobile phone to take a better photo”.

The British Museum confirmed it is reviewing its policy on selfie sticks.

A spokeswoman said: “Visitors to the British Museum are permitted to take photographs in public areas, not including temporary exhibitions, for non-commercial purposes.

“The museum is currently reviewing its policy on the use of selfie sticks and other apparatus within the museum grounds.

“The safety of objects and visitors is paramount to the British Museum and staff will politely inform visitors if the use of any equipment is endangering objects or other people on site.”

Selfie sticks are currently allowed at the National Portrait Gallery.

A spokesman said: “At the National Portrait Gallery we are aware that some of our visitors use selfie sticks.

“It is important that all our visitors enjoy their experience at the Gallery and anything that may prove disruptive is reviewed on an ongoing basis.”

Visitors to the National Gallery backed the ban today.

Morny Davison, who was waiting for the Inventing Impressionism exhibition to open, said: “It is an interference in what one hopes is a reasonably calm experience looking at great pictures.”

Another woman, who did not wish to be named, said art lovers would be “thrilled” by the ban.

“It’s becoming impossible to see pictures,” she said. “First there’s people with cameras then there’s cameras with sticks. They should have been banned some time ago.”

Published: Wednesday 11th March 2015 by The News Editor

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