Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dr Hawass has confirmed that cameras are banned from the Valley of the Kings. Apparently the problem is that guards have been taking bribes to allow people to use flash in the Valley of the Kings. Personally I think Egypt would do better getting rid of any guards that do that - maybe pay guards within the tombs more and insist they know English so that they can also act as guides - rather than penalising tourists. I don't have a problem with banning photos from within the tombs but banning cameras from the Valley of the Kings rather than tackling the problem of poor guards seems worrying. If guards can't be trusted to protect the tombs, then what is the purpose of having them? I find his admission very concerning. If guards will take money to permit a tourist to take an illict photo, isn't there a risk they will take a large sum of money for something more serious?

I have more sympathy with Dr Hawass position regarding the Egyptian Museum as there are people who ignore "no flash". Some people don't know how to turn it off, and unless the camera is very good then it is hard to take pictures without flash so they use flash.

I've taken pictures for years in low light without flash (and have come to realise you get better pictures by avoiding flash) but then I pick lenses based on their ability to take pictures in low light and I'm prepared to take time to set up the shot, make sure I'm steady and relaxed and so on.

The compromise for museums could be making cameras available for hire which don't have flashes, and which have been set for taking pictures in low light.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

i can understand it more in the tombs but what on earth is the issue with taking pictures outside in the VOK, they are really being bloody minded.

Anonymous said...

i don't agree with this decision. it's not an good thing ! flash isn't dangerous it's an cold light, the hot light installed inside the tombs was very dangerous for the pigments ! no scientific study shows that the flash was dangerous !

why the SCA don't sell special photo ticket ?

the decision of hawass is an non sense.

tim said...

Hi Kate

Once again the Supreme council of antiquities sends out a wishy washy statement and while I am in agreement with no flash inside the tombs I might also be convinced that there probably should not be even tourists in such fragile and scientifically important sites.

Anonymous is right the actual lighting installation in the tombs is bound to have an effect over time. All the more reasons for building replica tombs!

Having said that I would like to point out that the pictures taken for my site " The archaeological review" have been taken in the Royal British Columbia museum which is very dark and without the use of a flash. Still the pictures turned out nice.

The guards are another matter!

Anonymous said...

Maybe if the Egyptian authorities actually paid the guardians of the tombs a decent wage instead of the pittance they are paid, photos inside the tombs may never have happened, 200LE a month to look after a tomb 24x7 is ridiculously low, these people sometimes have to wait up to 3 months to be paid.

Maybe a real wage for the guardians is what should be looked at instead of feeling the need to take tips to generate money for their families.

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