[ELI5] How does the flash in cameras damage paintings in museums?

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[ELI5] How does the flash in cameras damage paintings in museums?

In: Technology

Light breaks down colors. The other day I found a green shirt I’ve had in my back seat for a few months and noticed that the part that caught light shining through the windows was really faded compared to the rest of it.

Of course it takes a while to fade a color with light but the idea is that we try making the painting last for as long as possible and if there’s hundreds of people flashing light on a painting every day, it’ll severely cut the painting’s life expectancy.

Flashes used to emit a lot of UV which damages dyes and paint. Flashes no longer emit UV so they don’t do any damage.

Museums have kept this rule for two reasons:
1. Flashes are really annoying for everyone else.
2. They have a higher chance of selling their book to you if you can’t take good photos yourself.

Not at all. It’s the stop the annoying tourist from using a flash where none is needed. Imagine being a security guard and being exposed to flashes thousands of times a day. It’s there for them and others that work there.

Light breaks down paint. While not really the same look at clear coat failure and oxidation on cars