He Watches

Museum Photography

Do you like to take photos in museums?  It’s very challenging…  To me, I like to try to take a photo of the actual museum or a photo of some art and its relation to the museum.  I find taking photos just of the art itself to be a little boring. It seems so obvious… and it seems like kind of a disservice to the art itself, unless you are adding something new or seeing it in a new light. It depends on the art, of course. A photo of a painting always falls flat, but a photo of a statue can be interesting.

Daily Photo – He Watches

And so it was with the emperor here in the Capital Museum in Beijing.

Do you know how hard it was to get permission to use a tripod in here? It was very very hard. And, the permission part had to be in Chinese, which adds a whole new layer of complexity to the permission-gaining-process. But, luckily I had a little team there helping me out with this stuff, and that made life a lot easier. After all the paperwork was squared away and three redundant layers of government officials were satisfied, the light was perfect for this shot. I rushed over to take it before the ink was dry!


  • you’ve gotta love the texture in the walls!

  • Wow – he’s magnificent – love his hands!

  • Matthew Lusk

    Great picture Trey. The angles behind the statue are very neat.

  • Vincent Randal

    As for animal hilarity here’s a dog with a really long tongue from when he was a pup and now all grownup. SSSSSSSSLLLLLLLUUUUURRRRPPPPPP!

  • Trey Ratcliff


  • Casper van Zyl

    Well seen, well captured .I was there as well but rushed only had about half hour and thought it was a waste ,as one needs at least half a day to wonder around as there is so much to see and capture. I now carry a monopod in my bag and it looks like a handle hanging from the camera,but when no one is looking I can extend it and hold it to the rails and fire away,just an added suport item. Food for thought. And it is challenging.

  • Nice photo, Trey!!  Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms that visit your website.  Have a great day 🙂

  • Hi Trey,
    you mentioned some trouble about getting a permission to use a tripod in the museum. Could you go a little more into detail, how you ask for a permission in general. e.g. the Louvre etc. Is it just a simple inquiry for the usage, more of a beg or like convincing with examples from this blog etc.

    A little light into this darkness would be highly appreciated.


  • Sweet

  • bob prangnell

    Learn to hand-hold and you won’t have this hassle.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thank you! 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    My local contact helped me since it was all in Chinese.

  • Vaibhav Dandavate

    The light is perfect for how you have set up the shot. Beautiful composition.

    To me, before I read the background story about this picture, the right side of the shot seemed a bit distracting. But now that I read about it and understand that this is in a museum… adds a totally different perspective.

    Thanks, as always, for sharing your work.

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