London’s National Art Gallery has become the latest global cultural institution to forbid the use of selfie sticks. A spokesperson for the gallery released news of the ban on Wednesday and explained that it would improve the general visitor experience and also ensure exhibits were not damaged by people using the extending rods.
The spokesperson continued by saying that selfie sticks were the same genre of accessory as camera tripods and these were also prohibited on the premises of the National Gallery. The blanket ban on the sticks has been welcomed by gallery visitors and art critics alike.
Critic Brian Sewell told reporters he was all for the ban. He noted that they posed risks of damage to valuable artworks and also caused throngs of people to back up around exhibits. Mr Sewell complained that art-lovers who wanted to just look at and enjoy paintings could not because there were too many other visitors taking photographs for them to get a decent view.
Since the selfie stick first appeared on commercial markets last year, retailers have logged record sales. It is now commonly used by tourists so that they can pose themselves for photographs in front of famous monuments, museum pieces and sights. Using the stick gives a wider angle of the particular backdrop.
The National Gallery has followed the likes of the Colosseum in Rome and Washington DC’s Smithsonian Museums in outlawing the selfie stick. Over at the British Museum, a spokesperson said curators were reviewing the policy on photographic aids and noted keeping exhibits safe and allowing enjoyable visitor experiences were the most important considerations.