We don't want you to think that we are cranky, but we can't allow you to take pictures of items in the gallery. The reason? Some folks come in, take photos of work that artists have made, send the photos off to knock off and that takes the artist under. Don't believe me? Allow me to let you know that there are several artists that I know that this very thing has happened to. A few bad apples spoil the bunch, you know.
A gentleman by the name of Randy Marks (thanks Cj for the jog of memory) made absolutely gorgeous paper lamps in his studio in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Target swooped in, knocked them off and put him out of business. The paper lamps in the fun shapes? That was his idea. That was his baby. I have no idea what he is doing now.
There were folks from Hudson, Ohio with the company named Cassiopeia. They sold something called Book Hooks. The idea was stolen, made overseas where copyrights aren't respected and brought back and sold here. I did a search and don't see anything about their product. So sad.
There is an artist from Providence, Rhode Island-- happily still working-- by the name of Vilman. Vilman had a partner and their studio name was Vilman + Klinger. Some beautiful boxes with pewter accents were at Target. I flipped them over. They weren't Vilman + Klinger. My heart broke.
It happens so often. It happens to people I know. It has happened to friends.
So, when you go into an art gallery, keep your camera tucked away. We can't allow photos, because we are trying to protect the artists. That is what we are there for. That is one of the reasons that they pay us to represent them. Understand that we hate to hear, "Well, I'm taking a picture so that I can go home and make it." (I heard this the other day, after politely confronting a customer about taking photos with her cell.) If that is the case, take a mental photo. We're happy that you've come to us for inspiration, but we're still watching out for the folks that employ us for that reason.
Edited to add: I realized that I hadn't included the fact that so many folks treat a gallery as a museum where items can be touched. That's okay, as long as you use gentle handies! But, there is a museum vs. retail establishment line, where the items at a museum are not for sale and photographable (A word? Eeek!) and the items at a gallery are a bit more protected and certainly for sale. Obviously, much advertising goes on in the great world of retail, but galleries are a bit more conservative. That may also help with the whole "no photos in the gallery" thing. We aren't mean people! We're just trying to protect our friends!