Super Colossal

Photography Banned at Des Moines Library

Tuesday, 27th October 2009

A librarian visiting the Des Moines Public Library has learnt that David Chipperfield has made moves to forbid people to photograph the building without prior permission. After visiting the library and being told not to take photographs, Jessamyn West sent a letter to the library asking why. The response was that the architect had asked for photography of the building be forbidden lest the photographs be used for commercial purposes:

Our photo policy is part of our meeting room policy which I will attach. This meeting room policy was rewritten just prior to our opening of the building in April of 2006. At that time, the architect was very sensitive to photos being taken and the possibility of them being used for commercial purposes, so we added the following:

“Permission to photograph the library reading rooms and other public areas of the building may be granted by the library director or her designee. Photographs and videos may not include library signage or the library logo, and photographing may not disrupt library customers’ use of the library. Library employees on duty may not be photographed for political campaigns. Fees for commercial photographs of the library may be established by the library director, subject to the approval of the Board of the Trustees.”

The extended conversation that follows on Archinect tracks the issues of privacy, the disruptive potential of photography and the right to take photographs on government owned land.