I finally purchased my first DSLR camera – a Canon Rebel T4i. Last weekend I tested it out during Madison’s Spring 2013 Gallery Night, organized by the  Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. My friends and I visited several galleries throughout the city. My favorite to photograph was the Winnebago Studios collective. I think the lighting was the most interesting, providing a large color palette to play with – emerald, fluorescent white and violet in particular. I also enjoyed the glass blowing at Studio Paran.

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I’m also practicing the art of snapping photos without people realizing I’m photographing them. I looked into the legality of this – cursorily. Privately owned art galleries are legally considered private property, but in the case of the Gallery Night, property that is open to the public. Taking photos in a public space, the classic example being a street or sidewalk, is legal (assuming you aren’t taking photos of a military installation, a residential bedroom or bathroom, or nuclear power plant).

As best as I can tell, as long as I wasn’t informed by a gallery owner, artist, or public notice that I wasn’t allowed to take photographs of patrons, doing so was fair game. (The wishes of the patrons themselves, of course, matter too).  Were I to publish the photos for a newspaper, a release would be necessary to avoid lawsuits. But for a blog post, the requirements seem less clear.

What are your thoughts?


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