The Salles des Etates which some say contains the greatest number of masterpieces “of any room in the world”, houses the Mona Lisa as well as the Largest Painting at the Louvre – but it’s mostly dominated by the scrum of tourists moving for position in front of Mona Lisa (to take a picture)
I always visit “Lisa” first, when visiting the Louvre and I know that you can’t capture Da Vinci’s painting with a cell phone. For those with cellphone in hand, I am both attracted and repulsed (kinda of a sweet and sour thing, where you can’t look-away) There was this perfect family which had established it’s position in front of the famous painting for a set of shots, perhaps for a Christmas Card (something a little tacky, but something that I might do, if I had a family and had an “I-don’t-care-what-this-looks-like” moment.
To me, this is the more interesting photo. Like an extreme image of poverty, hunger or homelessness, these images of vanity, greed, the absence of civility, the scuffle and commotion
scuffle, polite, manners, civility, vanity, greed, absence
So my cell phone images are of people grinning in front of da Vinci’s masterpiece – that is more interesting for me. As I was exiting out of the roped-off-area, a young security person approached me and told me that I had taken a photo of a security guard and he wanted to see the pictures on my phone. It seemed like an invasion of privacy, especially in this environment of tourists scampering around snapping pictures of everything. We had a little discussion about regulations, privacy, authority and enforcement before I asked to speak with his supervisor, who more diplomatically refused viewing of my cellphone pictures and suggested that I remove those pictures of Louvre personnel on my own.
I do have a curiosity about those who work in these vicinities of high art. It’s both an extremely boring and important job. I also find their varied attire interesting and think that it would be an interesting study. (although I have never purposely photographed museum personnel)
There are also those managing the long lines out front, those dispensing (and collecting) museum tour audio/visual equipment, in glaringly inefficient lines. (as usual, I need to turn it down a notch and appreciate how difficult their jobs are)