The current photography exhibition at Tate Modern, entitled Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera, features, broadly, photographs of people taken surreptitiously. Some – a small proportion – is innocent street-photography, such as you’ll find in my blog. Others – taken with hidden cameras in a ladies changing-room, for instance, or with infra-red flash of young couples making love in public places, and the voyeurs they attract – would, if it hadn’t been labelled ‘art’, probably have resulted in prosecution of the photographer or the consigning of the images to the seedier areas of the internet.
Photography is bannned in Tate Modern, as in most galleries. This may be to stop me taking pictures of famous artworks, printing them life-size and passing them off as original, but more likely it’s to maximise the profits in the shop.
The exhibition organisers obviously recognise the power of the camera, often used where it shouldn’t be, to capture moments in time whether they be thought-provoking, emotional, or just plain funny, so it’s frankly bizarre they they enforce their photography ban so rigorously.
One curator told me to turn off my camera, and watched me the whole time I was in his room. The other – pictured here – followed me across two rooms, asked me if I’d taken pictures and asked to see them (I denied/refused, of course, as is my right).