Manuel Alvarez Bravo at Getty. Bad Getty manners. : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Made a special trip to the Getty in L.A. over thanksgiving to view the Alverez Bravo display. There were three large rooms set up with many great photos. One small room with three of E.W.'s and Tina Modotti's to view for comparisons. It is one of the Modotti pictures that is glued into my psyche.

The rooms were cavelike with very dim light and it made the photos hard to enjoy. I was looking at the scans in the bookshop later and seeing details I didn't see in person. Just backwards of what you would expect.

My big complaint about the Getty is their "tripod" rule. Absolutely none ever.

That's a necessary and understandable evil. I sent them an Email asking for consideration of folks who like to look at the world upside down. Why not open the OUTDOOR areas up 3 or 4 times a year in the AM before the gates open and let a few folks enjoy doing large format architectural shooting.

I got the big cold shoulder. No reply.

As someone who has done their part in adding to Mr Getty's wealth if not the demise of the planet driving around in lumbering carbureted V8 dinosaurs, I expected a reply, even if it was Buzz Off.

If anyone else feels like the Getty should be useable to large format folks, please let them know.

-- Jim Galli (, December 02, 2001


Jim, The Getty should, but don't expect it in our lifetimes. Curators become instantly braindead, never remembering that they're just hired help too! Ken

-- Ken Woodard (, December 02, 2001.

Dear Jim

Perhaps, they are afraid if we take photographs of the buildings, then we might steal their souls!!


-- John Bailey (, December 02, 2001.

The buidings and the grounds are copyrighed and trademarked in perhaps the most copyright and trademrk conscious city in the world.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, December 02, 2001.

Dear Ellis

Yes, I am certain either the museum or architect or both try to maintain rights restrictions on the buildings and grounds. I really do not know since I have not been to the new facility, however Jim says they restrict tripods which I can understand from safety standpoints, but do they also actively prohibit the taking of photos anywhere on the exterior? Living next to a national park, I know when I tramp in with 'pro' type equipment they become very concerned that I might be misusing the park for commercial purposes. Probably, the Getty does not want their facility used as a backdrop for ads, unsupervised articles and who knows what.

What I believe Jim was getting at was reasonably asking whether the museum could accomodate LF users. His suggestion of limiting LF access to a couple times a year seemed reasonable. His concept of going in the morning before the general public seems a good way to stave off the public then asking why they could not use their tripods. If reproduction rights are a concern, then the LF photographers could execute an agreement that images would not be used for commercial purposes without further review or specific release.

What galls me is that apparently the Getty chose not to reply. All too often the cultural types believe they know what is best without looking at the big picture. A simple, polite, 'we'll take it under advisement' often will go a long way.

By the way, I often appreciate your comments and perspective on many of the forum's issues!

Best regards,


-- John Bailey (, December 02, 2001.

I should clarify and add that the Getty allows snapshots outside and perhaps one could even quietly photograph inside with no flash as long as it was not intruding on someone elses experience. J

-- Jim Galli (, December 03, 2001.

As a resident of LA, I would say Jim, you picked the wrong longitude and latitude as a place to expect the kind of consideration you'd like from the Getty.

They at Getty probably look at us LF as another fringe special interest group wanting a favor, instead of kindred folk... nobody does anything out of courtesy, or for free in LA.

You must be from somewhere nice.

-- Andre Noble (, December 03, 2001.

The Getty probably knows all about those rowdy LFers. What they could do is make them walk up to the museum with 40 lbs on their backs. That would calm down the exuberance. George

-- George Nedleman (, December 03, 2001.

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