I'd like to take issue with the view expressed by Mark Dubovoy in today's (August 20, 2012) Luminous Landscape, urging that photography in museums be forbidden. In the cases he cites - the Mona Lisa at the Louvre and the classics in the Hermitage - I sympathize entirely with his dismay at the swarms of heedless people and their thoughtless photography.
Yet there are situations in which people interacting with art can lead to photographs that have some artistic value: perhaps not grand art like that Dubovoy cites (or that he photographs in his fine landscapes), but art that has some irony, or humor, or psychological tension. Perhaps it can be though of as "street photography" in museums.
I submit three photos that I've taken in museums, of people interacting with art, that I think make reasonable examples. http://blog.lib.umn.edu/victor/hereandthere/Images/Painting%2C%20MIA.jpg
Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota: painting by Doug Argue.http://blog.lib.umn.edu/victor/hereandthere/Images/NYC%20MOMA-4.jpg
Museum of Modern Art, New York: all-black painting by Ad Reinhart.http://blog.lib.umn.edu/victor/hereandthere/Images/20101002Wlaker%20Art%20Center-5.jpg
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: photograph by Alex Soth
None of these photos was taken with flash, none was in a crowded situation, and I believe that none inconvenienced anyone. Under these circumstances, there's no reason that photography should be forbidden, and much reason that it should be allowed.