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A Tale of Two Photographers: the Visitor & the Professional

On a recent stroll through the IMA grounds, visitor Stanley D. Abell captured the following image of his son in front of Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture.

© Stanley D. Abell, 2011

Later that day he uploaded this image, along with a few others from his time at the IMA, to his personal Facebook page. IMA staff gives a tip of the hat to this photograph and its posting online as a prime example of fair use of an image taken on the grounds and shared through social media – well done sir, well done!

In comparison to this casual moment captured and shared by Stanley D. Abell, Sara Morris details her experience as a professional photographer coming to shoot on the IMA grounds:

It was last fall, and I pulled into the Indianapolis Museum of Art on a beautiful evening.  It was a Sunday, and cars were lined up and down the long drive back into the gardens.  The Elder Greenhouse parking lot was full, and cars were circled up and around the Lilly House driveway.  I had made this drive a million times and never found it like this.  After waiting out a spot in the greenhouse lot, I finally parked and caught my breath.

Looking around, I was in amazement.  There wasn’t a wedding.  I couldn’t see any of the regular picnic goers and such.  I was just surrounded by photographers and families, children, happily engaged couples, and even a handful of dogs.   It was a photo shoot frenzy!  Being a professional in the city for over 4 years now, I have had my fair share of shoots at the IMA.  It’s an amazing and beautiful space with such a variety of backdrops.  I once thought I’d take a year off from shooting there, but it’s a heavily requested location by my clients, and I just couldn’t do it.  So, now, each time I shoot at the IMA I challenge myself to find something new.

When I heard about the new Photography Policy at the IMA, I was in full support.  That day – when I pulled in and was overwhelmed with the sea of photographers – was not much fun.  The IMA had become a photographer’s amusement park.  There were lines of people waiting to shoot in the Museum’s most coveted spots…under the arches, the low branch on the big tree, the iron bridge, the list goes on.  That day was frustrating, but it was the week that followed that hurt the most.  Early in the week following that Sunday, I had another shoot at the IMA.  This time I found my front row spot in the greenhouse lot with ease.  It was a new day, but yet the grounds seemed different.  The grass had turned brown in many spots, and there were visible paths where the ground had been trampled during the weekend, as well as parked on.  It was obvious how much traffic there had been, and the grounds were definitely in need of a break.

My hope is that the Photography Policy will help to give the IMA grounds the much needed rest it requires from time to time.  The Museum is still open to allowing photography, they are just adopting a policy that is very standard in most communities throughout the country.  There has to be some control, or it can turn into total chaos and ultimately hurt the museum most.  I was happy to hear of the new policy and applied right away.  I am thrilled to give back to a place that has brought so many of my clients lasting memories with their families and loved ones.

The IMA wants every visitor to enjoy the grounds and take advantage of the creativity that blossoms out of the natural beauty of the gardens and artworks. We simply ask that you be respectful of the grounds and help us to preserve them for the many future visitors. In the meantime, please share your favorite shots on the IMA grounds through your social media outlet of choice and don’t forget to tag the IMA!



Filed under: Art and Nature Park

4 Responses to “A Tale of Two Photographers: the Visitor & the Professional”

  • avatar
    jennifer Says:

    Is there a link to the new photo policy somewhere?

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    Joey Says:

    It’s 2011.

    You do not own the earth.

    Give me a break. This is another of the growing reasons why static museums like yours will be extinct when the “social media” generation takes over.

  • avatar
    Dave Says:

    @Joey: WTH?
    IMA DOES own their land. I surely HOPE that remains so, even in light of all the outright socialist (communist) government tendencies these days.

    They GRACIOUSLY allow visitors to use THEIR property for FREE. Simply asking people not to destroy it seems pretty damn reasonable a price to pay to use such a beautiful facility.

    You know, they could just sell it to a developer, or to expand the cemetery across the street, or charge everybody 20-30 bucks to get in.

    So, chill and say “thank you.”

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