Taking photos in a museum or not.

Last week my family an I took a little trip to the British museum with my Fuji Xt1, to see the Egyptian displays. I haven’t got a native Fuji lens yet as I wanted a manual focus only set up for the time being, to challenge myself. I also wanted to travel light with a pretty fast aperture, so I paired my Xt1 with my Nikon 50mm 1.8. I left the tripod at home because museums won’t allow you to set one up.

I forget how bad the lighting is in these kinds of places with some of the interesting exhibits in glass cases with a tiny little orange light shiny down from the top. All I could see in the glass was reflection! I could have pulled out my circular polarising filter to cut these out, but that would lose a full stop of light! With exhibits that were worth taking a photo of, the light was generally a little better.. But people.. People made me not even bother to take more than a handful of shots!

I know these kinds of places are tourist hotspots but damn! Everytime you have a shot lined up, I swear 50 people decide that that’s the time they should have a look at what you’re about to shoot. With the 50mm on a crop sensor too, it made me have to stand back further than I’d have liked. This gave more people space to walk in front or decide to stand right in frame. And this was on the ‘lesser’ exhibits. I struggled to even get a phone shot of things like the Rosetta stone or Cleopatra’s mummy. People where crowding and pushing into each other from a grab shot.

I could have probably waited longer than I did to get a better shot, but why waste the time?! They’ll never be portfolio worthy, and for the most part, would remain as snapshots and a record of being there (if that makes sense).

After getting irritated with people, I just lived the moment. I put the camera away and enjoyed myself. Looking at other people taking photos, they’d walk up to the exhibit, click, and walk away. Living your life through a lens, be it your phone or a camera, and not actually experiencing your subject seems pointless.

I was disappointed that I didn’t take many shots, but thinking back on it, I spent time experiencing my surroundings, and I knew that I’d probably never look at those shots again. Let alone showing anybody. So for me, I made the right choice.