They want to make art, good. Stomping on the past, fine. Rural Texas has a good record in this regard, Rauschenberg and others. His erasing a DeKooning, Brilliant. This worrying about history is not new. The academy was worried too when the likes of Picasso and Duchamp showed up. Adams and Weston won't be forgotten because young upstarts don't care about them. BTW their interest in printing on new materials has antecedents too. Maybe not Steichen et al but Perhaps Man Ray or Maholy Nagy.
The reason why contemporary picture-makers working in a digital environment don't care about photographic tradition and history is that they are not part of it.
Originally Posted by davidkachel
The technical and aesthetic considerations invoked when generating pictures from electronic files are not the same as those that prompt the production of photographs: physical art-objects made out of light sensitive materials. Digipix can be made to resemble any process in any medium and for the time being many are regularly made to resemble photographs. Perhaps this is because the digital world has not evolved a secure aesthetic of its own. Or maybe photography is such a powerful exemplar that the digi-worker can't conceive of what a good picture should look like save that it should look like a photograph. Or is it a plain case of imitation amounting to flattery?
If you will allow that "different" is not "the same", that "looks like" doesn't mean "same as", and merely "saying so" is insufficient to "make it so", then I insist that digital picture-making is not photography at all. And it's about time that digipix accumulated their own tradition and history instead of cadging a free ride from photography.
i see where you are coming from.
as a student of art and architecture, former gallery owner, i don't think it is important that someone knows the "roots"
that you think are important. i understand why you are upset because the folks you have
canonized aren't seen as important in the newer "wannabes" .
to be honest a lot of the people who have been canonized as fine art photographers aren't really important to me either ...
i know about people, artists, painters, architects &c who are important to me, and while i know who some of the others are
i haven't made it a rule to "know" them. it isn't hard to see their influence though, 90-95% of the photographers
who claim to be "fine art photographers" seem to be copyists ... copying the style of their favorite early photographer ...
they really aren't doing much new, or growing at all, just searching for tripod holes ...
as for archival method and digital image making, well, the field is wide open ... there is no such thing
as an arcival digital ink print, or file, unless it was an internegative and an arcane process was created in the end.
i don't really care what wilhelm suggests are archival because they really aren't, just ask people whose work
has all turned cyan ...
digital image making is just as much photography as exposing film.
Originally Posted by Maris
the sensor is sensitive to light as much or more so than film, just because you don't say it is, don't mean it's so.
in some threads, you also suggest that a photographic print isn't a photograph either. if that is so, then paper negatives
aren't photographs either, calotypes, salt prints or anything else, just negatives and diapositives / slides and polaroids and dageurreotypes,
tintypes and anything that is "first generation" ... but then again, they are sensitive to light like a slow sensor so maybe the only thing
that is actually a photograph is a shadow ...
Ah! Cyanotypes! :D
Originally Posted by jnanian
I think with every generation there is a tendency to criticize the younger generation. My experience with my children’s generation (ages 28, 26, 21) is that they are pretty much the same as my generation. My son was an art major in college. He took art appreciation, studied the old masters and worked hard on his projects, especially his senior show. He was a pot major—pottery that is. He knew the complete history of pottery, all the major trends, the best working artists etc. He knew a few photographers from his classes, but not many. But then, he knew a lot more potters than I did.
He was dedicated to art, so he studied it and worked hard at it. At his senior show, he introduced me to a classmate who was a photographer. She had beautiful prints. The color ones were digital. The black and white ones were analogue. She had one cyanotype. We started talking about her art and her inspiration. We took a tangent and talked about her influences. I can attest she was fully aware of the history of photography.
At least the members of the younger generation in the art department at St. Olaf College know their stuff.
I think there have always been people who are truly interested in the arts, and they will study the technique and the history. There are also a lot of people who will dabble in photography or watercolor or pottery. They will not do the hard work to become really good.
The issue then is why do the young people David is meeting think they are artists?
I speculate that the barriers to declaring oneself an artist have been lessened by the new technology—especially in photography. In the past, cameras were expensive. To produce quality prints, or at least large prints, you either had to have a dark room or spend a lot of money to send out a negative to be enlarged. Today, a cheap consumer camera can match the output of many top end cameras. If you have a file, you can get it printed cheaply. Just look at the prices on Mpix for large prints. All kids have computers and cameras. (When I was growing up way back in the 70’s, only a few had 35mm SLRs.) More kids are experimenting with the medium. They don’t need the skills that we had to acquire to get over the threshold of proper exposure, the skill to print in a darkroom, etc.
I don’t know if it is a good or a bad thing. In general, the more young people that are exposed to photography, the more will rise to the top. If you have a cow that gives a quart of milk a day, you will get little cream. A cow that gives 5 gallons of milk a day, you will end up with a lot more cream.
As for printing on aluminum, I made a few tintypes last week. I didn’t use Japanned tin, I used aluminum. I’ve tried printing on etched circuit boards. I have seen some wonderful photographic works on Plexiglas, curved to reveal a secondary photo underneath. I don’t have a problem with young, or old, photographers pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable in photograph, trying new methods or pursuing a new vision. I don’t want to be stuck in the f/64 aesthetic. Some of the new work will succeed—most will be crap. But people need to experiment, play, grasp for the new, or photography will become stale. Hopefully, they will also have a good grasp of the past to guide their journey of experiment.
I don't know how you can have a passion for something (or create art in a specific medium) without wanting to search out those that succeeded before you. Not necessarily to emulate, but to understand the "vocabulary" of the medium. It doesn't mean you have to like their work, but awareness is important. No one lives in a vacuum, and no one creates in one. When I'm confronted by an "artist" who says it's not important to know the history of photography, I can't help but question their commitment.
As for digital, I think it's a medium in it's infancy. It needs time to find it's place in the pantheon of the arts. Right now, I see digital as more technology driven, rather than aesthetically driven (a quick visit to any digital site will show more discussions about the hardware than the image making possibilities). I do know many people doing excellent digital work, however (with few exceptions), they all started with film/darkroom (and embraced the history, too)....
Originally Posted by eddie
Perhaps the medium should not be confused with the art.
The science of photography is a cumulative body of experience and technology that is best passed from generation to generation. Each successive cohort can be free to choose whichever well-honed tool they like, hopefully without too much needless reinvention of wheels.
On the other hand, the art of creating meaningful images need not always be additive. The burden of precedent can get very heavy. Innocent rediscovery is just as enlightening as diligent study. To encourage the fullest expression of creativity and genius, any education would best include both kinds of learning.
Like the saying goes, youth is often wasted on the young. It usually takes the experience of a lifetime to really open our eyes. We can only hope that our children will someday look up from their little screens to see the larger world around them.
I'm 23 and I notice same thing