I am an avid museum goer. I have a membership to the Seattle Art Museum, and try to visit as many different museums as possible while I am traveling. In the past month I have been to The Seattle Art Museum (twice), the Portland Art Museum, San Francisco Fine Arts Museum, The Martin Lawrence Gallery in Las Vegas (not a museum but more fine art on display than most museums), The UCLA Hammer Museum, The LACMA, The Petersen Automotive Museum (rolling art), The Broad and The Getty.
As long as it is post 1700-ish (religious or portraits of kings or random wealthy people are not my bag) I can stare into paintings all day. I can peer in to the abyss of a Van Gogh and the way he uses bright colors along with the depth and texture of paint to create light, shadow and direction within his paintings. I love the way you can tell roughly how old Monet was when he painted his canvases depending on how blurry it was. Sure an impressionist painting is made up of many dots and dashes to begin with, but his failing eyesight later in life caused his paintings to become more and more of an impression over time than an actual representation of the subject matter. I love the way you can tell a Degas from the oddly contorted and uncomfortable looking poses the women are often depicted in regardless of their activities.
I also love street and environmental photography. I find it almost like a meditation to wander around with my Leica camera attached to my hand like an extended body part and capture the world going on around me. Museums are great places to shoot environmental photography. The architecture and lighting are usually dramatic and tend to work well when it comes to creating imagery. Unless it is otherwise noted, you are allowed to take pictures with no flash in any museum!
Aside from the art surrounding you and the there is a whole world of photo fodder at your fingertips. Most art museums are designed to be architectural wonders themselves. By using the shapes or lines within these often breathtaking buildings, you can add a whole new element to your photography. When you are surrounded by such a diverse amount of creativity, you can’t help but to be inspired. And after all, art breeds art, doesn’t it?