Why is it dangerous to photograph pictures with flash? (A PHOTO)

Why is it dangerous to photograph pictures with flash? (A PHOTO)

In some museums, you will have to pay extra for a photo of a picture for memory. Even then, it is unlikely that a work of art can be photographed with a flash. Museum staff forbid such an action.


Why is it dangerous to photograph pictures with flash? (A PHOTO)

They explain this behavior by the fact that the bright flash of the camera can cause paints to lose their color and original properties. Is it really? Or is it just another commercial move?

Some objective reasons It is clear that no one enjoys a series of flashlights flickering from all sides. This is especially unpleasant because it prevents you from enjoying the view of old paintings and other cultural monuments.

Moreover, photo flashes can interfere not only with visitors, but also employees of the museum. Because of them, the image on security cameras may be overexposed. This will distract museum guards and negatively impact their work.


Why is it dangerous to photograph pictures with flash? (A PHOTO)

On the other hand, the museum has prepared special catalogs separately for those who want to take with them high-quality photographs of paintings as a keepsake. They feature all the works of art that could be seen in the halls. They were photographed according to all the rules so that the colors and texture of the strokes were not lost.

Accordingly, museum staff are concerned that these catalogs are successful with visitors. This has its own commercial interest. And that's okay.

In view of the above, a ban on flash photography may be justified. But why do museum workers insist that such actions harm primarily the paintings?

Are flashes harmless? It's no secret that ultraviolet radiation in the spectrum of sunlight contributes to the fading of colored items. Could camera flashes have the same effect on paintings?

As you know, the light pulse produced by modern cameras lasts only 1/2000 seconds. And in order for a thing to burn out, it must stay in the sun for at least an hour.


Why is it dangerous to photograph pictures with flash? (A PHOTO)

Consequently, a similar damage to the picture can be caused only if it will be photographed at least 7.2 million times per hour. After all, only then the light from the flashlights will be continuous throughout this time.

It is unlikely that this situation can be regarded as quite possible. Even despite the huge flow of visitors, paintings in museums are photographed much less often.

But what, then, are the museum staff so concerned about?

Types of flashes It turns out that flashes produced by cameras are of different nature. For example, the LED lamp installed in all smartphones is completely harmless for exhibits.

The same cannot be said about the flashes produced by a xenon lamp. Such light tends to age surfaces. In laboratories, xenon lamps are used to test materials for strength.

Despite the fact that the duration of the flash is only a fraction of a second, its intensity is quite high. This kind of radiation is especially destructive for exhibits that are already more than 100 years old.

At times, an instantaneous light pulse can have an even stronger effect than prolonged exposure. There are many examples of this from life.


Why is it dangerous to photograph pictures with flash? (A PHOTO)

And this is due not only to the strength or nature of the radiation. But also with the chemical composition of the object under its influence.

Due to the fact that most of the paintings in the galleries are painted by old masters, they are made with organic pigments. Compared with modern synthetic ones, these substances are not so resistant to environmental influences.

Even short-term, but intense radiation is destructive for them. In this connection, the paintings require a much more careful attitude towards themselves.


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