When it comes to selfie sticks, there seem to be two kinds of people: those who love them and those who despise them. Maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but seeing as how you’re here on a photography website, I’m willing put my money on you not being too fond of them. And, if I’m right, then we’re both in luck. Museums across the United States are beginning to enforce a selfie stick ban that prohibits visitors from using the obnoxious arm extenders within the museum’s walls.
As much as I’m convinced museums want to admit they’re enforcing the ban to “respect artistry” (thanks Kanye) and the actual artists whose work is being exhibited, most museums are taking the politically correct route and citing the inherent safety concerns of carefree tourists recklessly parading around priceless art exhibits with an 3-foot long stick protruding from their persons. Fair enough, I suppose, but it doesn’t make it any less painful to report that many museums and galleries actually promote the taking of selfies (sans selfie stick, of course), especially if you’re a celebrity like Katy Perry or Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim, Hirshhorn Museum, and the Getty Center already have a ban in place. The Metropolitan Museum of Art will also soon be following suit. Sree Sreenivasan, the Met’s chief digital officer told the New York Times,
“From now on, you will be asked quietly to put it away. It’s one thing to take a picture at arm’s length, but when it is three times arm’s length, you are invading someone else’s personal space.”
Who knows, before long the rest of the world may follow South Korea’s footsteps and ban selfie sticks in all public places. In November of last year, the South Korean government threatened anyone caught carrying an unregistered selfie stick a fine of $27,000 or face three years in prison.