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Roger Hicks
09-14-2006, 02:23 PM
egos, here in this thread.

i am in school, learning art. i know enough to know very few people really understand what art is. alot of people can tell what is or isnt "art", and maybe talk about it, but most do not understand what it is.


Are you saying that you are one of the elite, and that you do understand what art is?

Just curious.

Cheers,

Roger

stevebarry
09-14-2006, 02:47 PM
Are you studying to be an artist or are you learning art theory and history?
Either way, you surely don't need a degree in it to either understand or appreciate or to practice art - just an open heart an mind. Some things, also, go beyond "understanding"...

Cate


Cate - im working on a BFA in photography. But because someone can appreciate art it does not mean that person understand it. ya know?

stevebarry
09-14-2006, 02:49 PM
Are you saying that you are one of the elite, and that you do understand what art is?

Just curious.

Cheers,

Roger


no Roger, i am not.

blansky
09-14-2006, 03:53 PM
Welcome Steve.

You'll find that these "art" discussions pop up every now and again here but it never gets resolved because not only don't we know what art is, we haven't even decided what the hell photography is.

Stick around,

You'll see.


Michael

HerrBremerhaven
09-14-2006, 04:42 PM
Hello Steve Barry, and welcome to APUG,


egos, here in this thread.

A quick word about egos . . . when someone does not think highly enough of themselves or their work, some might consider that a lack of self esteem, or even depression . . . . . . . when one thinks and speaks highly of themselves and their work, some might consider that as confidence, though some will consider it egotism . . . . . . there is a very fine line between confidence and egotism, a line which will often not be visible nor definable to many people.

If you are going into the world with an art degree, whether intending to only produce fine art, or intending to do commercial work, you will need a great deal of confidence to succeed. That confidence will be taken by some to be egotism, and those individuals may dismiss you entirely. It is not an easy life, but it can be highly rewarding.



i am in school, learning art. i know enough to know very few people really understand what art is. alot of people can tell what is or isnt "art", and maybe talk about it, but most do not understand what it is.

I am sure you probably had this discussion in one of your classes already, or soon will. Should art just be for other artists to understand? Do only artists have the capacity and knowledge to understand art?




i still disagree with you on the artist making a photo. i would say an artist (not trained in photography) armed with a point and shoot 35mm, and a local lab, could make art more often than most photographers. or a digital camera for that matter. thats what im saying....an artist armed with a cheap digital camera, would make art more often than a photographer with a 4x5 and a nice b/w film.


There are infinitely more cameras in the hands of non-artists, or those not intentionally producing art than there are artists with cameras.

To paraphrase your statement: a truly artistic or creative individual could likely pick up any camera and create visually compelling images.

There have been famous painters of the past whom did not have formal training in art. There have also been time periods in history when certain styles and approaches of art were in their times not considered fine art, yet in later review in some art history texts, or by some museums, were recognized as art. To apply this to your statement, there are likely some photographers in history now viewed as artists who did not have formal training in art. I agree that simply buying a camera does not make one an artist, no more than buying Windsor & Newton paints and brushes makes one a artist of paintings . . . . however, just because one buys a camera first, prior to learning about art, should not negate an individuals ability to become an artist, or even a recognized artist later on in history.




i totally agree with you about the holocaust and vietnam. the other side of that is - we will never again have a band like the beatles - or anything that so many people, as a group, are into and influenced by (good or bad). im saying, anyone can be those things today, because their is no authority on what is or isnt good. it is left up to you and me, and everyone else with a computer, to decide what is good. no more getting published, getting signed to a record deal, or being shown in a gallery. anyone can record an album, show work labeled "fine art", publish (sorta) a book, write a news story - today, and have an audience. things have changed.

im not trying to be cryptic.


Things obviously have changed. I got my degree in art in 1998, though my speciality was/is oil painting. I feel there is great value in having learned all aspects and foundations of my degree. I also have no need to validate it amongst those who did not attempt to get the same degree. After you graduate, none will care what your GPA ended up being (mine was 3.7, if anyone was curious). What people considering your work will care about is that work, based upon your portfolio, and if you only do fine art you could include your exhibit history.

While I don't know what your goal is for getting that BFA, I wish you the best of luck with that in the future. There are less than 5% of the people I graduated with in 1998 still doing any creative work at all; it can be a very difficult and often frustrating career. I hope you stick with it in the future.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

stevebarry
09-14-2006, 10:42 PM
Thank you for the welcomes! I appreciate it.

Art is for everyone to enjoy. Everyone. What i am trying to say - is that, if you are going to try and create the art, you should have some understanding of what art is. No? It is up to you to do things everyone can relate to - or not.

I think it is an essential part of art, to discus it.

I would say, the majority of photographers that will be remembered in the art world, have had a formal art education. There are exceptions of course, some extremly notable ones, but it certainly is not the majority. Some of my favorite photographers are self taught....

It is a misconception that simply because one uses a large format camera and film(or any combination of equipment), one is practicing "fine art photography". Which seems to be the view held by most people here.

As some have said, I think we are talking about two different things. Art, and art photography, are different than "fine art photography". I think the later is used by those in the photo world, whos goals are not simply commercial. a seemingly more pure persuit, but in that context its just a self applied label, which becomes kind of meaningless. especially since, there is no consensus, on even what it means to be a "fine art photographer". i would never call what i do, fine art photography.

HerrBremerhaven
09-15-2006, 12:59 AM
Hello again Steve Barry,



Thank you for the welcomes! I appreciate it.

Art is for everyone to enjoy. Everyone. What i am trying to say - is that, if you are going to try and create the art, you should have some understanding of what art is. No? It is up to you to do things everyone can relate to - or not.


This is my approach and thinking too. However, it is often that the artist needs to be an educator. In the Unites States many people do not grow up knowing about works of art, unlike in Europe and other areas of the world were it can often be a more important aspect of early education (not just college level).

I think if someone wants to create art, then it can be helpful to have a basis in foundations, or at the very least understand and be exposed to some art history. When I would be careful applying that approach would be those rare individuals who show great insight, inspiration, and ability to express their creativity visually to others. While those are indeed rare individuals, a careful approach could help them become even better artists.

I use to have a battle with some of my former professors about some art only possible to be understood by other artists. My feeling has been that art should be compelling for nearly anyone. Art for artists, or only understood by artists, smacks of elitism.




I think it is an essential part of art, to discus it.

The other extreme is people outside the art world telling you they don't understand art, but they know what they like. Likely many here have already heard that expression. When you can tactfully explain to an interested outsider (or client, or buyer) how they are viewing, or an idea you wanted to express, then you can encourage understanding of art. I like to know what someone thinks about or imagines when they see one of my paintings or photos. Then I might ask what they noticed first, or second . . . or what really drew them towards an image. Create a dialogue, and move onward from that when it appears that a viewer is interested.




I would say, the majority of photographers that will be remembered in the art world, have had a formal art education. There are exceptions of course, some extremly notable ones, but it certainly is not the majority. Some of my favorite photographers are self taught....


I don't know of any statistics for this. I am inclined to agree that some had formal training, maybe not like there has been in the last few decades. Unfortunately claims based upon majority statistics can seem like mob rule. You need to consider that someone with a BFA might be clueless. Just like any degree or formal training, there can be differing levels of success at becoming an artist. Getting the BFA is a good idea (in my opinion), but that alone does not make one an artist. I knew several people that I graduated with in 1998 that many of my co-graduates would not consider artists, despite that piece of paper.




It is a misconception that simply because one uses a large format camera and film(or any combination of equipment), one is practicing "fine art photography". Which seems to be the view held by most people here.



It can sometimes seem that way here, and on other forums. However, I would not belittle anyone whose ambition is to create art. While they might make many mistakes, a little encouragement and knowledge can help people become better artists. A simple approach is that others might think someone's images are beautiful , whereas someone with formal training in art knows there is more to artwork than beauty. Someone formally trained in art might also be able to explain to another individual the formal elements. Of course, simply following formal elements, or applying ones knowledge from foundations training is no more a guarantee of producing compelling art than buying a camera, or a set of paints and brushes.

I suppose there might be a romantic notion of being an art photographer due to difficulties of technical efforts with a particular camera, film, process, printing method, et al. There are skills and crafts involved in photography, but none of those things validate the resulting images as art. You should also be aware that many people involved in photography are in it for the processes and procedures. Some others just want to record history. A few will consider that their control of the cameras and processes makes their results artistic.

While none of that is formal, I would imagine that a careful examination of some of those photographers images would reveal some surprises. Then some artist might come along and mentor such an individual, point out some images and explain why they might have been more popular or more successful images. There are good guidelines based on foundations and formal training, but there are no absolutes nor formulas in producing works of art.




As some have said, I think we are talking about two different things. Art, and art photography, are different than "fine art photography". I think the later is used by those in the photo world, whos goals are not simply commercial. a seemingly more pure persuit, but in that context its just a self applied label, which becomes kind of meaningless. especially since, there is no consensus, on even what it means to be a "fine art photographer". i would never call what i do, fine art photography.

When I get hired for commercial work, it is because of my creative vision, and the approach I can bring to a client to produce a compelling visual solution to their creative problems. I see my work as not being fine art in that it becomes produced as numerous copies, and there was a commercial intention prior to the attempted creative solution. I usually have complete control over how I approach the painting, illustration, or photos. This goes back to what you stated that some imply that a level of control indicates whether something is art photography, fine art, or simply art . . . . almost like art is more of a verb than a noun.

Maybe a better example would be my paintings, since most people accept oil on canvas as being fine art. A couple times I have entered into discussions of having posters made from a few of my paintings. While someone down the line might market the posters as fine art, I truly only consider the original painting to be a work of fine art. Here again, this is my choice of semantics.

People usually understand when you tell them you produce fine art and I don't think there is anything wrong with using such terminology. I don't recall saying that in college, because I had this feeling that until I showed my work in an exhibit, or got that degree, it did not seem proper to claim what I was creating was fine art. Instead I called it painting, or drawing, or illustration, or sometimes photography . . . terms I still use more often.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

catem
09-15-2006, 03:58 AM
A simple approach is that others might think someone's images are beautiful , whereas someone with formal training in art knows there is more to artwork than beauty. Someone formally trained in art might also be able to explain to another individual the formal elements. Of course, simply following formal elements, or applying ones knowledge from foundations training is no more a guarantee of producing compelling art than buying a camera, or a set of paints and brushes.Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)
In some ways this discussion reminds me of a recent thread on technique in photography, what it means to us, the different elements that are or are not important or necessary, and the value we give to them.

Art is about many things and takes many forms. Fundamentally it is about expression and communication - of ideas, thoughts, emotion, feeling - different combinations, different elements. It can be an art primarily of ideas, or it can be a very personal journey of the artist. Sometimes context and analysis is important, even vital, sometimes it isn't, and the power of the art transcends everything else.

Photography is as much of a fine art as pottery can be (when the use of the pot is to be looked at rather than used). It is also fundamentally about communciation.

What makes it beome 'art' as much as anything else, can be about beauty, and what makes us wonder about the world and what it is to be human.

Cate

clay
09-15-2006, 05:32 AM
I'm guessing you have yet to take your photo history course. Very few 'artists' using photography to this point in time have had formal art education. It is the exception rather than the rule.




I would say, the majority of photographers that will be remembered in the art world, have had a formal art education. There are exceptions of course, some extremly notable ones, but it certainly is not the majority. Some of my favorite photographers are self taught....

jnanian
09-15-2006, 06:54 AM
photography has always been the ugly cousin of the art world.
photography departments in schools were separated from the other arts.
no matter how much people have tried to pass it off as "fine art"
it is looked down upon ( much the way analog/analogue photographers look down upon people who use digital photography).

not saying that photography isn't or can't be artistic, it can, it is just a hard sell ... i am still trying to figure out what "fine art" is... a lot of what i see doesn't seem to me to be art or fine ...

Roger Hicks
09-15-2006, 07:25 AM
...photography departments in schools were separated from the other arts...

Yes, but at least when I was applying to art school (before deciding to read law instead) there were separate courses and qualifications for applied and fine art photography.

Cheers,

Roger

David Henderson
09-15-2006, 10:07 AM
"can someone define "Fine Art Photography" for me please?"

Nah, that would spoil all the fun. Just think about all the empty lives if everything had agreed definitions.

Indicators might be--

Fine art costs more than the buyer thinks its going to

Its fine art when its sold through an expensive gallery, with multiple mark-ups.

Its fine art when the seller or photographer think its good.

Its fine art when its only functionality is to cover that stain on the wallpaper.

catem
09-15-2006, 10:27 AM
photography has always been the ugly cousin of the art world.
photography departments in schools were separated from the other arts.
no matter how much people have tried to pass it off as "fine art"
it is looked down upon ( much the way analog/analogue photographers look down upon people who use digital photography).

Like ceramics and textiles aswell, there's still a lot of snobbery about subjects that were seen as 'crafts' - but I do think it's changing, the boundaries are much more blurred now.


not saying that photography isn't or can't be artistic, it can, it is just a hard sell ... i am still trying to figure out what "fine art" is... a lot of what i see doesn't seem to me to be art or fine ...

Something about 'fine art' it's a snobbish thing originally, the idea of the purity of art, the academic nature of it, unsullied by lesser art...
Ultimately, we choose to call it what we want. I call my work photographs, because I feel comfortable with that, but I definitely believe that photography can be an art form. Whether it's 'fine art' or not ....well, that's partly playing the game of the inventors of that term in the first place, and it's an argument that I think is quite sterile. Also quite divisive when those with 'legitimate' claims to speak about these issues (through being involved in the academic fine art world) appear to lay down limitations for it's full enjoyment and understanding by those outside the academic walls.
Cate

HerrBremerhaven
09-15-2006, 02:00 PM
Hello Cate,



In some ways this discussion reminds me of a recent thread on technique in photography, what it means to us, the different elements that are or are not important or necessary, and the value we give to them.

I recall that thread. It was a very interesting discussion. Glad you reminded me of that one.



Art is about many things and takes many forms. Fundamentally it is about expression and communication - of ideas, thoughts, emotion, feeling - different combinations, different elements. It can be an art primarily of ideas, or it can be a very personal journey of the artist. Sometimes context and analysis is important, even vital, sometimes it isn't, and the power of the art transcends everything else.


Nicely stated.



Photography is as much of a fine art as pottery can be (when the use of the pot is to be looked at rather than used). It is also fundamentally about communciation.

What makes it beome 'art' as much as anything else, can be about beauty, and what makes us wonder about the world and what it is to be human.

Cate

Agreed. I tend to get wordy in some of my postings, but Cate, you have stated this very well in much fewer words. Well done.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio

HerrBremerhaven
09-15-2006, 02:21 PM
. . . . . . . Also quite divisive when those with 'legitimate' claims to speak about these issues (through being involved in the academic fine art world) appear to lay down limitations for it's full enjoyment and understanding by those outside the academic walls.
Cate

I think when looking at art history there have constantly been attempts to define or structure art, or fine art. The funny aspect of that is the many great movements of art that were in rebellion to established, highly regarded, or accepted academic notions. The Impressionists, Expressionists, Surrealists, and Dada were some prominent and recent rebellions to the established notions, and attempts of structure by noted museums and academies. Obviously not everyone likes the various works from this time period, but whether or not someone likes the works should not dismiss them as art.

Just to take the Expressionist time, many of those artists could not get exhibited in the major salons and galleries of their day. Those established and highly regarded institutions attempted to impose a formal structure to art, mostly painting and sculpture during that time. It was only later in time that the Expressionist movement was recognized. This cycle has been repeated many times prior to that, and since that time . . . and probably will continue.

The museums and galleries attempt to control or define what is art, or what is not art. Exhibits outside established museums and galleries could be viewed as rebelling against establishment. There is rarely consensus in art; almost anything goes.

My feeling is that if anyone feels confused by my paintings or photography, then I have failed. Hopefully I avoid creating art for artists and people outside acidemia can appreciate what I create.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio

Roger Hicks
09-15-2006, 02:27 PM
I think when looking at art history there have constantly been attempts to define or structure art, or fine art. The funny aspect of that is the many great movements of art that were in rebellion to established, highly regarded, or accepted academic notions.

Dear Gordon,

Indeed, and this is why I am deeply suspicious of '-isms'. They are rebellions against, and attempts to structure, rather than an attempt to be true to a vision. The term 'impressionists' was (as far as I recall) originally an insult, while Fauves, Dadaists, Futurists and Modernists were essentially bandwagons.

Photography, since the Linked Ring and Camera Work (with its poisonous, pretentious hangers-on) has sometimes outdone painting as a source of worthless sell-righteousness.

Cheers,

R.

HerrBremerhaven
09-15-2006, 02:42 PM
Hello Roger,

Exactly. Some academics might belittle or dismiss efforts of those they consider outsiders. However, there is now even an established outsider art movement. Anyone should be careful dismissing something as art or not art because those in the future could likely see our time in a different manner.

Seems the history lesson has been that art was mostly defined in hindsight. I cannot predict the future, but I would place a good guess that more aspects of photography will be accepted as fine art in the future.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio

Roger Hicks
09-15-2006, 02:45 PM
Dear Gordon,

Ah! The Established Outsider! A perfect definition, cf the YBA (Young British Artists).

Cheers,

R.

blansky
09-15-2006, 03:20 PM
But why would anyone care what the "academics" have to say anyways.

I would be interested in seeing their lists of accomplishments.

Michael

HerrBremerhaven
09-15-2006, 03:39 PM
But why would anyone care what the "academics" have to say anyways.

I would be interested in seeing their lists of accomplishments.

Michael

Hello Michael,

I suppose one might care about the academics just enough to not be like them. That would be the rebellious aspect, or lead into outsider art.

Quite likely some academics have done well. More likely (in my opinion) is that they did little to nothing to advance art movements, other than inspiring others to not agree with them, and not follow their suggestions.

Does having a degree in fine art make me an academic? Am I not allowed to rebel against established movements in the world of art?

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)