Here’s the scenario. You know there is a pretty cool place you want to photograph (non-commercially) but you also know even though the exposure would be good for them they might not take kindly to you “sneaking” some pics without asking so you write off and ask permission.
That’s what Thomas Hawk did, and they said no. Even though there is already a bunch of pictures floating around and he might bring in some much needed attention for the museum.
This place I had never heard of until he wrote about it, The Neon Museum, thinks keeping images of it protected helps with their mission of “cultural enrichment for diverse members of our international community” (it seems they only want to serve the international community of ‘driving distance from the museum’).
I just got back a rather disappointing email from the Neon Musuem in Las Vegas. I had written to the museum to inquire about taking photographs of some of their neon signs this past weekend while in Las Vegas. I’m not going to link to the museum. You can find them on Google if you want. For those of you who don’t know what the Neon Museum is, it’s a boneyard of sorts of many of the old Las Vegas neon signs. It’s a place that these signs go to die and the non-profit Neon Museum states their mission as “to collect, preserve, study and exhibit neon signs and associated artifacts to inspire educational and cultural enrichment for diverse members of our international community.” Unfortunately their policy with regards to photography does not seem to fit with their stated mission.
What they should have said was “If people can see your pictures for free who is going to visit and put money in our donations box”. Then they would have a point. It would be tempting for Thomas to just go and sneak some pictures like everyone else but then he would lose his moral high ground, I really doubt he will stoop to that.
It’s not an easy thing, on the one hand without publicity no-one will visit so they close, on the other if people can see the stuff without visiting they close any way. Really they should be smart and work out a limited way that he can take some pics and they get good coverage without giving away the whole thing. Until they do that, they are just making their mission a joke.