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“The Museum Guard Project”… Photographs by Paul Greenberg
October 7 - November 1, 2011
Opening Reception October 7, 2011 6:00 - 8:30pm




National Gallery


“The Museum Guard Project”… Photographs by Paul Greenberg


I do not know why or when I became interested in photographing museum guards.

I have always loved visiting museums.  They are on the top of my list of places to visit when I travel to a new city.  Over time I began to focus more on the guards, than on the art.  I was interested in the diversity of their uniforms which, depending on the museum, varied from street clothes to very “official” looking uniforms complete with caps and badges.  The enthusiasm with which they approached their work also varied from “none” to “too much”.  It was not unusual to see a guard reading, working a puzzle, text messaging, or just day dreaming.  The other side of that coin is the guards who thrive on “please don’t touch” or “step back behind the line, please”.

My work for the past twenty years has been in the panorama format.  I use the 35mm Widelux camera.  I use T-MAX 100 film, and I do all of my own darkroom work.

I have always classified myself as a “social documentary photographer”.  Almost all of the images in this project are unposed and shot surreptitiously.  On the rare occasion that I asked a guard to pose for a picture I was for the most part rejected! 

To my knowledge this is the first photographic exploration of museum guards.