Perhaps Simon Blint didn’t get the memo.
After all, the Director of Visitor Relations for San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art refused to acknowledge the museum’s change of photo policy Friday when he ordered two security guards to forcibly throw out a local photographer for taking photos inside the museum.
The photographer is none other than Thomas Hawk, one of the most widely read photo activist bloggers in the country.
Hawk, in fact, was one of the bloggers who not only wrote about my arrest last year, but also contacted the Miami Police Department seeking more information, including obtaining and posting the arrest report which was filled with contradictions.
Hawk obviously is not one to take something at face value. He’d rather get written confirmation before giving it his support.
It was only last June that Hawk posted about an email he received from MOMA confirming that beginning July 14th, non-flash photography would be allowed inside the museum.
This is a tremendous and positive step forward by the SF MOMA and represents a huge victory for photographers. The SF MOMA was one of the few SF fine arts institutions that disallowed photography in their galleries.
But Hawk’s joy was shortlived.
After purchasing a family membership, Hawk and a friend visited the museum only for Hawk to get thrown out after taking a photo.
My crime? Taking a photograph from the second floor stairs in the SFMOMA’s atrium (an area where the SF MOMA’s own website explicitly says photography is allowed).
Blint, pictured above as he orders Hawk to leave, accused him of “spying” on his staff with a telephoto lens. Hawk, who was using a 14mm lens, was actually snapping the photo below before he was confronted.
Hawk, who refers to Blint as a “first rate asshole”, has vowed to do all he can to spread the news about MOMA’s hypocritical policy on photography. Already, his story has received 3,444 recommendations on www.digg.com.
And here I was bragging about my 585 recommendations on www.reddit.com.
It is ironic that the great Cartier-Bresson, who took thousands of photographs of unsuspecting people in his work, hangs in the museum while a photographer practicing the same type of work gets ejected by a power-trippy asshole. It’s hypocritical and disappointing.
And unfortunately, it’s becoming all too common.