Thursday, January 02, 2014

Le Louvre: to photograph or to see

Selfie with Shakira by Gerald Piqué at Facebook, 29 Dec 2013. "En el Louvre con mi Gioconda! — with Shakira". From the Facebook page of Musée du Louvre.
Musée du Louvre, 75058 Paris - France. + 33 (0)1 40 20 53 17. http://www.louvre.fr/ Horaires: Ouvert tous les jours de 9h à 18h sauf le mardi. Nocturnes jusqu’à 21h45 le mercredi et le vendredi. Visited on 2 Jan 2014

There is more and more photographing. Everybody today is carrying a camera or several. I was observing the photographers in front of every artwork. Perhaps the original sense of this is: "I love it, I photograph it". But there may be more senses. "I photograph it, I see it". Perhaps even: "I photograph it, it exists". Often, I'm afraid: "I photograph it, I don't look at it." And sometimes: "I photograph it, I prevent others from looking at it".

There are world-class photographs of the artworks readily available in books, catalogues, and on the internet, including on Le Louvre's own brilliant website.

I have been examining beautiful photographs of many of these works since 50 years, and now I have the unique chance to see the real thing. It is likewise with the photographers. But in many cases the photographers do not stop to examine the artwork at all, but instead start to photograph it. As if the camera lens were superior to one's own eyes.

It is a bit funny and paradoxical. But the main thing is that these huge crowds keep coming and spread enthusiasm for Le Louvre along with their selfies and Twitter feeds. Even on Le Louvre's own Facebook site there is a Shakira selfie in front of Mona Lisa, the tiny lady trapped in her huge bulletproof glass booth like Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem or Hannibal Lecter in the Silence of the Lambs.

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