curiosity about the ways of the world

Fight, flight or tweet


Not Monet’s garden, these lilies are at Taynish on the west coast of Scotland.

What’s happened to living in the here and now?  When we were in Paris last week I was amazed to discover art gallery attendants now allow people to take mobile phone pictures of paintings.  The rooms are full of happy snappers reducing life to a small screen.

Last time we went to the Orangerie, probably about 10 years ago, Bobby was shouted at for venturing too close to Monet’s water lillies ( he wanted to feel them for himself so maybe it was longer ago than that). Anyway, this time the room is full of folk filming themselves in front of the work without actually looking at what’s on the walls let alone trying to feel it.  And not a peep from the uniforms except the occasional, ‘pas de flash madame’.

All those gorgeous colours, two rooms of curving walls encouraging you to immerse yourself in the changing light and shade, yet so many people filtering the experience through a tiny screen in the palm of their hands.  No flash though.

It was the same in Rodin’s garden, a treat of dappled light and solid gut wrenching sculptures on a scorching September day. And in the National Gallery in London two days later when Ray and I spent a happy hour or two before we caught the train back to Edinburgh.

All this time, my Nokia was nestling in my pocket – it often feels an indispensable part of my life but there are times when I am more than happy to switch if off.  I can go further than that. The dictator in me thinks that if people can’t switch off, mobile phones should be deposited in lockers on the way in to places full of works which can open our hearts and minds – or, at the very least, our eyes.

As Christine said after our trip to the Orangerie, “People are so busy recording the moment they are not actually living it.”


Reflections of Venice


  1. Administrator

    I’m discovering quite a few galleries have a free service allowing you to download digital images from the permanent collection. The Ferguson gallery in Perth for one. (Keep meaning to make use of it.)

  2. Administrator

    Leonardo will be turning in his grave…

  3. Peter Casebow

    I noticed the same thing inthe Louvre in February but have to admit I’ve got a wonderful series of pictures I use as a screen saver on my Mac of all my favourite paintings, so I often relive the moment:)

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