Question about shots taken using instant film; Are they art?

Discussion in 'Instant Cameras, Backs and Film' started by dreamingartemis, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. dreamingartemis

    dreamingartemis Member

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    When I say instant film, I mean films like TIP, Fujifilm instax series. I have been pondering this question for a while, can instant film shots be considered one (albeit one of a kind art)?

    I mean I have seen helmut and even Daido's work that consist of instant film only. Which got me thinking since I primarily use instant film to either do a test shot or just to take a shot to keep in either my diary or travel journey. Although I also sometime use it at model photography session to show the model what the shot should look like after develop or at least as a gift (aside from the model fees I pay) of the event. So in short, I use it mainly for

    1. Scrap booking.
    2. Test shots
    3. Ice breaker.

    But can it be used in the same league as regular photographer and produce works of art? Most of the time I see books about polaroid being used to take test shots and the book uses these photos to talk about the background of those masterworks.

    I hope I am making sense here but it's just odd for me to see instant work being elevated to Art level. I'm not dissing the medium as I shoot instax mini and instax wide so i really do love the format.
     
  2. dreamingartemis

    dreamingartemis Member

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    True, the definition of art is subjective and I guess I should have asked it in this way, "can ever the work produced using instant film be elevated to FINE art?" Because while I see books of instant film work but I have yet to see an exhibition about instant film masterpieces.
     
  3. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    In the 50 years since I got my first Instamatic, I have steadfastly maintained the photography is not art. If nascar isn't a true sport, likewise photography is not art. Pictures can be "artistic", but they are not art. A photograph, produced by exposure of treated silver through a lens; is a capture of reality. For me to define it exactly would read like a manifesto. And only kooks write manifestos. Photography is miraculous, magic, sorcery, or mad science. Painting wet brushed pigment compounds to make a picture is art. An imitation. Photography captures reality, easily provable and documentable. It is fact, not art. That said, since the computer and digital photoshop, and the digital camera, "photograpy" is just garbage. When film or plate is gone as a resource, photography will be dead. The digital camera is just the rotted corpse.
     
  4. jcoldslabs

    jcoldslabs Member

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  5. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    Also look at Walker Evans' polaroids.
     
  6. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    You know what art in photography is? It's a guy with a camera and film who makes a honorable living photographing weddings and baby/familypictures, or photos of the customer's assets for that paying customer. Such an photographic entrepreneur who lives by his wits, honor, and talents to make his customer happy is the true artist. Anybody who lives by grants or public agency is a parasite and a ne'r -do-well, and cannot truthfully claim to be an artist. When I look at "art" in these United States today, I first follow the money. If the trail leads back to my wallet... I can call most of it what I want to.
     
  7. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

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    I am very interested in this discussion.

    Can a guy with a 3D Printer make fine art sculptures?

    It would be helpful, to me at least, to define the terms, or to at least distinguish fine art from good art, what we mean.
     
  8. dreamingartemis

    dreamingartemis Member

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    Holy moly! I had thought of the same thing! But then it begs the question, does a figure produced using 3d printer as good as one produced by hand if we don't consider the design but rather the material base on the figure which what my main question is about.
     
  9. dreamingartemis

    dreamingartemis Member

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    Now this is what I was looking for! That people in this time and age are still shooting instant film and making great artwork with them
     
  10. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    If anyone says its art, then it's art. It might not be good art but it art hahaha it is what you make of it.


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I see a two-pronged answer.
    1) What is the photographer/creator's intent?
    2) What is the viewer/public's perception?

    A photograph of a factory on fire would be considered journalism if the photographer's intent was to document the incident but if he made the photo with a different mindset, the very same photo would be considered art. On the other hand, if the photo was printed beneath a headline in a newspaper, Acme corporation on fire!" the public would perceive it differently than if it was framed and hung in a gallery.

    Does the medium in which the photo is presented affect how viewers perceive it?
    To a degree, I think it does but I think the medium is only the intermediary which conveys intent.

    On the other hand, the very same Polaroid or Instax photograph would be perceived as having a different intent depending on whether it was presented in a pile on a coffee table, whether it was mounted in a scrapbook or whether it was framed and hung on the wall.

    So, yes, I think a Polaroid CAN BE considered art if the photographer presents it in a way that conveys artistic intent to the viewer.
     
  12. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

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    There was discussion recently in another thread (http://www.apug.org/forums/forum238/115585-whats-up-blur-grain.html) where I think the conclusion (or one of the conclusions) was that good art is art that communicates the artist's message well. Good art doesn't need a particular medium or a particular set of rules, it just needs a good artist working skillfully in a medium.

    That's a different conversation than what is fine art, which is I think what this thread is really about. A really good work on a Polaroid and a big masterly piece of oil painting - they are both art, and they are both done well and skillfully, but how do we get any further?
     
  13. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    I think it's all down to intent, whether it be a polaroid, an analogue shot or even a sketchbook and pencil.

    A photograph or drawing of an object could be made for a catalogue or as a technical drawing to use in a factory. Clearly not art, but, if expertly done, could be regarded as a craft or the work of a "craftsman".

    Again, if I photograph a sunset purely to use as a meteorological illustration of clouds, it would not be art. But if I take the same shot to put on my wall or to enter in a gallery, purely with the hope of giving pleasure to a viewer, this would be more likely to be regarded as "art".
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2013
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  15. 2bits

    2bits Member

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    So if the wife says you are a real work of art! Is that a compliment...:blink:
     
  16. dreamingartemis

    dreamingartemis Member

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    Yes, I do agree that intention as well as presentation is important to determine whether a photo can be considered fine art but then that brings us to the question, instant film to me for now (but that is slowly changing with what has been presented earlier) is something that is spontaneous rather than planned in regards to taking the shots as well as its presentation.

    Perhaps just as photography was accepted as one of the many medium that can be considered fine art, maybe instant film too will soon be accept as well, albeit in a limited fashion considered its one off ness
     
  17. dreamingartemis

    dreamingartemis Member

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    Thanks for the link, had I known this thread has existed, I wouldn't have to open this one. Though it does detract a little considering this is more of a question of, will instant film ever reach fine art level? Once the shot is taken, it can never ever be truly reproduced and will it stand the test of review by people to be considered fine art?
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    yes it is art, all of it !

    just saw a piece in the news about a painter who painted tons of paintings
    were they 'art" ? he didn't think so, he told his family to destroy all his work
    after he died ... but they didn't, maybe they forgot, who knows ...
    sold the house
    and the buyers found all the paintings ...
    now they are in galleries and expositions in NYC and LA and BOSTON
    and some have sold for $500,000.00


    in the end it really doesn't matter if it is considered to be "art" by the creator, or anyone else, does it ?

    btw more songs about buildings and food, the talking heads album is made david hockney ...
    its pretty amazing, and the music isn't too bad either :wink:
     
  19. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Look at my gallery I just posted 3 instants, at least 2 of the 3 I think can be art, the tree... Not sure lol


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  20. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Can't spontaneity be artistic?

    I like to perform sleight of hand magic with coins and things. If I met you on the street and saw you with a handful of coins, whereupon I made several of them disappear in my bare hands, with my sleeves rolled up to the elbows, then made them materialize again in your coat pocket, would that be artistic?

    What's the difference between impromptu magic and an impromptu photo?

    Some of my best photographs have been "grab shots."
     
  21. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    Yes. Your magic can be an art, in the sense of a theatrical performance, which entertains and pleases the "audience" or viewer, even if this is just the one person. It's a craft, as well, in the sense that you have perfected the techniques of the magical illusion. Any good actor, dancer or musician is an artist and a craftsperson.

    Same with the improptu photo.... you've identified a subject or event which might produce an artistically pleasing picture, and know enough of the craft of photography to quickly capture a record to a satisfactory technical standard.
     
  22. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

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    I don't think the two threads repeat each other at all. Most of the responses here seem concerned with the question can instant film be art and the answer is of course. I think where this gets interesting is trying to figure out where artistic instant film fits with fine art.
     
  23. 2bits

    2bits Member

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    Boy is this subject getting deep! Everyday I see stuff that people try to pass off as art. Some good, some not so good, and a lot of it really really bad. Honestly if it's "art" you want to call it, then so be it. Soon enough someone will let you know how good or bad it is.
    And if it comes out looking like "art" more power to you. I can see where some instant film shots could be called art, but very little of it in my opinion.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2013
  24. dreamingartemis

    dreamingartemis Member

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    Well it doesn't repeat but at least it helps answer some of my questions I've been having.
     
  25. dreamingartemis

    dreamingartemis Member

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    Again this brings me to another part of my question, unless the technical as aspect of instant film improves, at it's current state, do you think it's enough for it to be considered fine art?
     
  26. Lauris

    Lauris Member

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    Until the technical aspect of charcoal improves, do charcoal drawings count as art? When Ingres did his drawings, were they considered art compared to his paintings? They sure are now!
    One thing I think is very interesting is how much art and craft are still tied together in art photography discussion. A great deal of that I believe is inherent to the rather scientific medium, as well as it's influential practitioners ('saint' Ansel). In painting this was jettisoned by a large set of artists through the 20th cen. There are still painters (I was one) who grind their own oil paint, who glaze and stumble on linen supports, but it's no longer a necessary part of what a painting is, merely an aspect that informs the end result. Likewise, fiber based double weight two bath fixed prints, are still an artistic medium, but a Polaroid pinned to the wall, or transferred onto arches, or scanned and blown up can just as well be.
    Is it art? Is still a super fun question. Myself, I lean toward believing in 'works of art' as a document of an artistic enactment, or possibly less palatable, art is a record of performance. I was looking at some of Dijkstra's Portraits the other day and was struck by how much this was a part of it. The act of setting up the camera, interacting just so with a complete stranger and capturing them in a moment of 'self-ness' would have been a beautiful thing whether the camera was loaded with sheet film, Polaroids or nothing at all. The use of large format film, however, gives a delightfully transparent record of the experience. Maybe the perfect medium for the moment, but not the only one.
    Even Worse! Acts and the documents thereof can be rounded up or down by history. Th Gee's Bend quilters probably didn't sit down to be artists, but they've wound up in th public mind that way. Likewise I'm sure some very earnest 17th century guy sat down brush in hand to enact art, but is now regarded as decoration at best.

    So, split decision on my part. With hope, I'd say that art is that which you set out with wholehearted artistic intent to bring into the world. More cynically, art is that which patrons will associate their names and money with in the long run.
    sorry for the ramble!