Thoughts on fashion -vs- art

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Eric Rose, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    “Fashion is what seems beautiful now but looks ugly later; art can be ugly at first but it becomes beautiful later.” - Steve Jobs

    Interesting take. What do you think?

    Eric
     
  2. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Seems simplistic to me.
     
  3. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I guess I don't see what shelf life has to do with something being art.
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    it seems that art can "grow on you" but by the time bad fashion grows on you
    it is out of fashion ... if you wait 20 years that bad fashion will be beautiful again.
     
  5. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Styles come and go. Style lasts.
     
  6. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Fashion sells today; art endures.
     
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    So is the pictorialist style a fashion or an art? f64? Soft focus (High tech or Low tech)? PJ? ...
     
  8. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I think it is more a matter of intent. Trying to be fashionable -- or to create something from the heart...
     
  9. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Please feel free to ignore the following; it probably does little to promote the discussion.

    I think we may be confusing three words or concepts here, (if I remember properly from the semester 20 or so years ago when I was asked to teach Marketing) Fad, Fashion and Style. The words are often used interchageably, and there is considerable overlap between their meainings.

    A fad is something that catches on very quickly in the market, but which has little appeal beyond the current trend and tends to fade quickly. Think Hula Hoops, Beanie Babies, and (hopefully) HDR. The cool kids have a knack for being right on the curve with fads. Fads tend to be bold and eye catching, and sometimes a little embarrassing when we look back on them. One other thing about fads is that they do not necessarily fade, but are often outright rejected when they are no longer part of the cool cycle.

    Fashion may take elements of a fad, or be influenced by it, but has a broader, more lasting appeal. (you may or may not like it, but it creates its own market) Like the shape and colour palattes of cars, the length of hemlines, or the trend over the last decade towards greater contrast or saturation in images. (which is most likely a result of the digital evolution)

    Style is the word that is most akin to art. It is something that has lasted long enough to be recognizeable by its elements, and takes its place in the broader culture of a nation or region. Think Art Deco, denim jeans, Greek and Roman columns. In photography these would be the various genres or techniques which have developed over these last 150+ years; documentary, street, landscape, abstract, etc. A style may or may not be currently fashionable, ("stlyish" generally means in fashion) but can be identified by its elements. Its influence can be seen in other areas of the culture and a style can often be taken by the rest of the world to represent or identify a culture.

    Whichever word you prefer to use, the question is, "what is the lasting value of this photograph?" Not how much is it worth, but is it relevant beyond the walls of your studio on the day it is made? Is it worthy of consideration beside the acknowledged masters of the art? Is it beautiful, thought-provoking, well executed? What does it say, what does it do?

    Is it art?
     
  10. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    Nicely stated sir!
     
  11. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    Art should not be defined by a level of success or achievement or longevity. A lot of art is bad. Bad art is often interesting. Art is something an artist does usually entailing some level of experiment. It is not the place of a viewer to say I don't like this so it isn't art. Art is not a level of perfection it is an action.
    Dennis
     
  12. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Much art, IMO, is very transitory, it is set in a context that is fleeting.

    For example political cartoons, graffiti (cave paintings), baby portraits, and fashion design all require special skills and real effort to create something of value. Their shelf life is radically different.
     
  13. jglass

    jglass Member

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    I know it's a bit contrary to the general flow of praise for the departed Mr. Jobs, but why should his statements on art have any weight for any artist? Perhaps I'm missing something (happened before, I suppose), but he was good at industrial design (synonyms for fashion or style) and product marketing (again: style, fashion) not art. Perhaps there are those who will argue the iPod or iPhone or iProductX are "works of art." They are dead wrong.

    I do agree, however, that quality (I won't call it art because that's too loaded) tends to rise to the top slowly and may take a long time to grow on you. I know many of my most loved music collections (we used to call em cd's, and before that "records") were definitely not my favorites until the third, fourth, fifth listen. Then I began to be able to hear the depths more accurately. By the same token, a lot of music that strikes a chord with me the very first time I hear it (coldplay anyone?) becomes pathetic and hackneyed after the third or fourth listen.

    I suppose the same could be said for some photography and other visual arts but it's by no means universal. And, sorry, but the fact Steve Jobs said it should really mean nothing to us in this context.
     
  14. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Jeff-

    with all due respect, I think you're really selling Steve Jobs short here. What he did which was of culture-changing importance was to change the MEANING of a personal computer to the user, and the users' relationship with it. You can certainly argue that without him, what has happened would have eventually happened anyway, and someone else would have been the one to do it. But that's revisionist history at best. The fact of the matter remains that by bringing first the graphical user interface (GUI) and then hotly on the heels of the GUI bringing style and design to what is otherwise a utilitarian device, Steve Jobs gave people computers they could have a relationship with, and he forced the rest of the PC industry to at least try to take on that challenge with greater or lesser degrees of success. I don't know that it has any bearing on the question of what is art vs fashion, although I think you could argue that Steve Jobs was an artist by successfully marrying style and fashion to an industrial object. He's an artist the same way that Pininfarina and Bertone, the Italian coachbuilders, are artists who compose sculptures in steel, rubber, leather, lacquer and petroleum.
     
  15. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Fashion can be art but doesn't have to be. And tastes in Art change a lot. The definition of art is a constant flux or more precisely you can't define art. imho

    Regarding Steve Jobs I believe him to be a true artist of marketing but not a designer or an artist in the classical sense, he had a great design team and always had a great team working with him (among them many employees of Xerox Parc GUI was first used in the Xerox Alto in 1973, 10 years before Apple) Saying Steve Jobs was a solitary great artist means deminishing the work of the team of which Jobs was a part. Apple always was and always will be a team effort like 99% of all great products. Sorry but what Steve Jobs says about art is really not releveant for photography or any other artform other then maybe multimedia art.

    Dominik
     
  16. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    If what he says has no relevance to any artform, then no art critic's comments, opinions or formulation of an art theory has any validity either, as most critics are not practicing artists either. By that way of thinking, the last valid art critic was Vasari. Oh, scratch that, Hitler would have been a valid art critic because in addition to holding opinions about art, he was a painter too (an entire apartment in one afternoon, two coats!!).
     
  17. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Your absolutely right. I only put his name to it because it was a direct quote. The statement is deceptively simple and will be dismissed by those that do not like to ponder things.

    Eric
     
  18. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Doubt Steve would disagree that art without commerce is a hobby.
     
  19. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Steve Job's opinions about art is as relevant as any other humans opinion about art just not more. I still believe that he is overhyped by the media and that he is given him too much credit for other peoples accomblishments which isn't his fault, but the medias

    Dominik
     
  20. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Let's try and not concentrate on Steve so much and try and have a discussion about the quote instead. I know that will be hard for some.
     
  21. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    And art with commerce is selling out. :whistling:

    For me art is the creation of something fresh to express an idea, an emotion, it's something done once or first.

    Once we step into creating copies we move somewhat away from art toward the world of engineering, manufacturing, production, standards; the stuff of commerce.

    Photographic studios a reasonable example. A typical portrait done in a studio has only three variables, setup, pose, and subject.

    The setups are normally pre designed and provide incredibly accurate and predictable results. These setups are little production lines designed to churn out "similars" where the the only thing that changes, yes over simplified here, is the face.

    The work of many studios is exemplary, but is it art or simply production/business?
     
  22. CGW

    CGW Member

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    That's what made the iPhone art. It sold because it was a superb piece of industrial design. Jobs and his designers weren't hobbyists. Photo studios ginned out kitsch.