Is a photographer an artist?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by bmac, Nov 1, 2002.

  1. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Though I'd add a little fuel to the fire. Should a photographer be concidered an artist if he/she doesn't do their own printing? Why or Why not???
     
  2. Robert

    Robert Member

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    Depends. Is an architect who doesn't saw his own wood an artist? Some are some aren't. If all you do is hand over the film and ask somebody else to print it then it's different then somebody who asks a printer to produce the photographers vision.
     
  3. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    Is a singer an artist if he/she doesn't write his/her own songs?
     
  4. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    You have to look at that photographer's pictures in order to make the determination.

    I don't think anyone can reasonably contend that Henri Cartier-Bresson is not an artist, yet he did not do his own printing.

    I'm sure we can all name dozens of photographers who do make their own prints who don't qualify as artists by any stretch of the imagination.
     
  5. steve

    steve Member

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    There is a long tradition in visual arts of the artist not making the final print. In lithography, and often with etchings, a printer is employed to make the print for the artist. This is because the printer has greater skill with the techniques needed to ensure a good print. This does not detract from either the work as being art, or the person who made the original image (on a plate or stone) as being an artist. Why should photography be any different than other forms of graphic expression in this respect?
     
  6. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    The point about the photographer and the printer not being the same person is a good one. Some people like to do their own printing. Others have someone else do it. Each has advantages and disadvantages. You can print your picture as you wanted to see it - but you may not be objective. A person who prints for you (if he/she is good) can be more objective and may do a better job but may have a different idea about what is important. On the one hand it is a solo effort, and on the other it is a collaboration. Either way, art can be made sometimes.
     
  7. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    Bump
     
  8. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    What is this bump? I mean no disrespect but I don't get it.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think the idea is to bump the topic to the top of the "new responses" list and prompt more discussion.
     
  10. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Bruce,
    Aggie's "bumping" the pages back to the "New posts since last visit page." By doing this she brings older posts to the attention of the newer purveyors of this site (and there are lots!) to try and jumpstart more discussion about these topics.

    If I've got this wrong, just let me know.
     
  11. Jorge Oliveira

    Jorge Oliveira Member

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    There is an Brazilian architect that is quite famous all over the world, Oscar Niemeyer.

    Well, he doesn't buid anything - just DRAFT the buildings as per his inner vision and others finish it.

    So, even out of photography an artist does not have to be a craftsman.

    Jorge O
     
  12. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    "Is a photographer an artist?"

    Yes.
     
  13. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    is a craftsman an artist? if not what's the difference between the two?
     
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  15. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    So, we've ascertained that an "artist" doesn't have to actually build anything, and doesn't have to print anything, so here is my question:

    Is a person an "artist" if he just thinks about something and does not physically do anything?

    What if he "dreams it up", tells someone else and they make, build, assemble it. Is he an artist? OR is the person that eventually takes his idea the "artist"?

    Is an inventor and artist?


    Just askin'



    MIchael MCBlane
     
  16. lee

    lee Member

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    "Is a person an "artist" if he just thinks about something and does not physically do anything?"

    Back in the 1970's there was a school of thought and art called "Conceptualism". It essentially was what you are asking about. Just think up the piece and get someone else to do the work. I think Andy Warhol worked in the manor if not all the time then at least some of the time.

    lee\c
     
  17. victor

    victor Member

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    well..
    it is really a very dificult question..
    i cannot think of my works as printed by some one else. i think it is very important to work on your own. the development is much better. i dont mean studing basics, i mean going beyound the professionalism. in this respect, for me, darkroom plays a great role.
    but,, i cannot say it in total way...
    first, as jorge oliv said about the architect. second.. if we take a studio work for example, one who make a negative which is totally balanced and directed to some kind of print, than does it really matters if he himself exposes the negative to the paper or his printer colegue?
    but generally, i tend to the end of the self working and finishing. i think even in studio work, the touch of the photographer is more sesetive when one know to master the darkroom craft.
     
  18. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    You might ask Kostabi, He made millions with everyone else painting his concepts. They are great , A statement about human nature and it's assembly line approach to growth and structural evelution. To his buying public he is definatelly an artist. Yet his assembly line does the dirty work. He being the Idea guy.
     
  19. Jorge Oliveira

    Jorge Oliveira Member

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    Michael

    As I see it, an artist is someone that creates what we consider 'art'.

    He doesn't have to execute it as long as he can transmit his idea for other people to do the final work.

    Going back to Niemeyer, see as an exemple his home:

    http://www.niemeyer.org.br/canoas/canoas.htm

    What he did was the sketch - other people took care of the details (under his guidance) and built the house (I've met people that worked for him and made comments on how he works).

    So, if one takes a photo and someone else do the dev and print to his liking, this doesn't makes he/she a lesser artist.

    Jorge O
     
  20. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Is a photographer an artist?
    Maybe not.

    It seems a court of law has determined that an image that went from photographer, to a person to develop the film, to a person to print the image and then to someone to retouch it, 'belongs' to the last person to touch it -- the retoucher.

    (bupm, err BUMP)
     
  21. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    What if a person thinks about something, and tells no one. Is he still an "artist".

    Is the defining action the thinking, or the making. If it is just the thinking, then being an artist is completely irrelevant. Almost everyone thinks of stuff all day. Everyone is an "artist". It all means nothing.

    As my Sensei, Donald would say, "Art is just like water flowing through your fingers, you might know what it is but you can't grasp it."


    When you can snatch the pebble from my hand then it is....
    .........
    .............

    Michael
     
  22. Poco

    Poco Member

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    I have an Uncle who lives in Vienna. The Albertina had a juried show once and my Uncle sent them an envelope with three nails, a piece of string, and instructions on how to nail the nails into a board and loop the string around them. It was accepted.

    As far as photography goes, my internal joke is that I only overcam my frustrations with it once I began to see it as performance art. That's a joke, yes, but there's an element of truth to it.
     
  23. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    ART is an instinct fallowed by the intestinal fortitude to perservere. How that happens is up to the person with the initial instinct. (thought) Everybody has ideas, few have a driving need or ability to see them to the end. To their own satisfaction.
     
  24. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Michael,

    My friend you are gasping in the ether...I am overcome with your wisdom.
     
  25. KenM

    KenM Member

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    I participated in a show recently where the largest number of prints were put up by a fellow who neither developed his own film, nor printed them himself. His reason? Takes too much time. He prefers to hunt out places and fill rolls of film with images.

    Is he an artist? While his persistence in finding interesting spots to photograph is admirable, I don't think it's enough to qualify him as an artist. After all, he's only performing the first step in a long process...

    I don't have a problem with someone not developing their own negatives. Really, when it comes down to it, developing negatives is by necessity a mechanical process. All decisions regarding development are made when you take the image - when you develop a negative, you're just 'going through the motions' - they're careful motions, but 'motions' nontheless.

    However, I do have a serious problem with him not printing his own work. How can someone other than yourself print your negatives and even approach what your initial visualization was? Even if you're standing beside the guy making the print, it's difficult (if not impossible) to dictate your vision and have someone else print it on paper for you.

    Me? I make my own negatives, develop my own negatives, and print my own negatives. I also throw out my own prints since they're not good enough! Aritst? I've never been comfortable calling myself an artist. I'll stick with photographer.
     
  26. 127

    127 Member

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    Taking this one step further, what about the photographer who doesnt "take" their own pictures? Cindy Sherman for example is famous for her "self" portraits, and hires an assistant to actually press the button. Though her latter stuff is rather tedious conceptual stuff, some of her earlier work is definatly interesting. Is the photographer the person who takes the photograph?

    To throw in another random point, an Adams print actually printed by the man costs $10,000. You can have an identical print, made from the same neg with the same process, printed by someone else for $200. Clearly some people think the photograher is the person who made the print.

    Finally - to throw out every thought I have without making any logical argument: Jackson Pollock said that art was the process of selection. I would say that photography is pure selection (and by extension pure art!). A photograph can't show whats not there, but it makes it's point by selecting a part of whats there, and choosing how to present it.

    Ian