A Visit to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and How I Missed the Shot.

Sometimes things don’t go the way you plan, even on the spur of the moment. At the last minute they can fall apart. Sometimes the unexpected becomes the better result and finally as someone once said, “luck favors the prepared mind”. 

So this is how I blew it.

During a visit to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Ft. Worth, Texas, a trip I’ve wanted to make for some time as they have a very large curated photography collection, I almost caught a reasonably good photo, but due to my lack of mental preparedness, it became, let’s say, less than average.

First a note about photography in the museum. When I visit a museum or gallery I try to check their website to see if they actually have a photography policy. As it turns out this particular museum does. It is not really extensive but you definitely get the impression they would prefer no cameras at all. They do not seem to have a problem with smart phone photography though. It seems they just want to do everything to prohibit any type of commercial photography, which is understandable and they do encourage you to share any photos on social media using the #amoncartermuseum hashtag. 

So, I thought this would be a good time to work on my iPhone photography skills (I have an iPhone for this very reason).

As my wife and I are walking around the museum (they really do have some nice pieces in the collection), I became interested in the hallway that currently goes through the photography exhibit. It has some nice squared off passages, and if you are in the front lobby, the opposite end is a sort of great room affair with lots of marble and a statue as the centerpiece on the end wall (sorry, I didn’t get the name of the piece). I was looking at the whole situation as frames with leading lines and a center focal point -you know, from a photographic perspective.

The only problem with the composition was a tour guide (Docent) standing near the statue. I made the image anyway.

After I made the image, with sort of a lackluster attitude, a series of events took place that made me chuckle to myself and still gives me a smile – thinking how I nearly completely blew it.

Here is the first shot.

The first lackluster try. #amoncartermuseum

First the tour guide (Docent) moves out of the frame. Then, as I raised my phone to get the picture, this guy, from somewhere, enters the frame from the right side. As I start to lower my phone because someone’s in the frame again, I realize that this guy is framing himself in the passageway and that he is dressed in all black, wearing a beret, and we’re in an art museum! I quickly raise my phone back up and make the image just before he exits the frame to the left.

Here’s what my thought process was:

Cool there’s no one in the shot.

Crap who’s this guy and why is he in my shot?


Unfortunately the whole image is about as crooked as can be and no amount of transformation, leveling, or cropping in Lightroom can fix it to my satisfaction. 

So here it is in all of its “glory” …. ugh.

The best I could do at the time. #amoncartermuseum

So, the lesson here would seem to be the old saying “be prepared” and “expect the unexpected”

For certain, patience is a virtue and if I hadn’t been so impatient, I would have been in a better mental space to take full advantage of the circumstance. Also – know your equipment. If I had been more practiced with my phone, the ensuing fumbling may not have taken place. So, ultimately, I didn’t think – about anything, really. 

Lesson learned, and after all, there will be other days and other images so I’ll just chalk this one up as one that got away.

As to the museum itself? They are currently remodeling the second floor so this does limit their display space but they do seem to have quite an extensive collection. I would, of course, like to have seen a larger photography exhibit (duh). So for your enjoyment, here is an original Margaret Bourke-White print from 1927-1928.

Margaret Bourke-White #amoncartermuseum

Of course they have works from other mediums like this oil on canvas painting by Georgia O’Keefe made during her time in Taos New Mexico.

taos adjusted
Georgia O’Keefe #amoncartermuseum

All in all a worthwhile experience and best of all, admission to the museum and exhibits is free. I highly recommend a visit to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art if you are in the Ft Worth, Texas area. Check their website for hours and policies here.

Thanks for reading.

The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do” 

 Andy Warhol