Selfie sticks for smartphones are now an everyday sight at tourist attractions worldwide but some users say they are being stopped from taking snaps in some places simply because of snobbery.
The selfie stick is linked to social networks, quite simply because people distribute their photos. I think it really influences visitors to this site. It make others want to come and see the exhibitions.
For many, it is the most practical way of capturing the moment.
“It’s very useful for four people taking a picture together. I wanted to use it but it’s ok,” lamented one visitor banned from using hers at the Chateau des Versailles.
London’s National Gallery and the Palais de Versailles outside Paris are now on a growing list of places to forbid their use citing safety concerns.
Denis Verdier-Magneau, cultural development director at the Chateau de Versailles defends the move as accident avoidance measure.
“One is practically one meter away from the objects. even the chandeliers which are barely a meter above [head height] us. So you can imagine with a selfie stick the damage it can cause,” said Verdier-Magneau.
More than 1,000 tourists visit Versailles every day and many do not feel it is a problem to use a selfie stick.
One tourist said: “We’re with a group, so our friends could take pictures for us. But if you’re here by yourself it will be kind of disappointing.”
Unlike Versailles, the Louvre and the Georges Pompidou art museums have not yet banned selfie sticks.
A debate is raging over their use but many believe they are helping to bring more people through the doors – which can also have a positive impact on museums.
Simon Bruneel, cultural mediator: “The selfie stick is linked to social networks, quite simply because people distribute their photos from the Palais de Tokyo on social networks like Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and I think it really influences visitors to this site. It make others want to come and see the exhibitions.”
In the meantime, Japanese artist Kenji Kawakami has immortalised the selfie stick with an artwork entitled “ Hand for Lazy People”, perhaps the ultimate tribute for self obsessed snappers.