One of the great sources of inspiration, and comfort, can come from the study of the philosophies and "mindsets" of the luminaries in photography and art itself. Many times, we find, we are like the serf confronted by the Knight unexpectedly deprived of his armor ... "Why, he looks a lot like ...me!!"
I'll kick it off with a quote from ... I'll keep you in suspense until the end of the quote....
"At the tender age of 13, he was already an apprentice in a studio, painting on porcelain to earn a living. At 17, he was decorating fans. At 21, when he entered the painter Gleyre's studio and painted a model without trying to idealize it, the master asked him dryly: "Do you just paint to amuse yourself?", to which the young (painter) retorted: "Yes, I do, and believe me if I didn't amuse myself, I wouldn't do it."
Later he said, "Oh what a joy to indulge in the exquisite ecstasy of painting..." or again: "To me, a painting must be an agreeable, joyful, pretty thing - yes, pretty, really." Not long before his death, he claimed that barely a day had gone by - barring some major incident - without his painting. "I don't know if what I paint is good or bad. What I do know is that I have always painted the way I felt I had to."
If (he) is famous today the world over, it is because this passion for painting, that we will see threading its way even through moments of terrible self doubt and constant searching, had one single and unique subject: the joy of the moment, enjoyment of life.
Despite the crises he went through, despite the physical suffering of the last 20 years of his life, he always managed to find sufficient comfort and strength to rejoice in beauty and life. by creating a world that belonged to no other great painter, a mythical world, bathed in light, from which the eternal image of woman emerged.
"What I love," he said, "is skin, a young girl's skin, pink and suggesting excellent blood circulation. What I love most is serenity."
- From "Pierre August Renoir", by Michel Ferloni and Dominique Spiess.
[quote="Ed Sukach"]"Yes, I do, and believe me if I didn't amuse myself, I wouldn't do it."
I recognized Renoir from that quote. His philosophy and mine would differ so radically that I doubt we'd have any common ground.
I tend to be indifferent to the notion of beauty as an asset to art because the notion seems trite. Neither would I glorify the ugly for its own sake.
OTOH, it sounds like Renoir enjoyed his painting more than I enjoy my photography. More and more these days I find that photography fights my efforts every step of the way.
"I don't know if what I paint is good or bad. What I do know is that I have always painted the way I felt I had to."
What? No 20 page long statement with "postmodern" used every 5th word?
Obviously nothing will become of this Renoir person....
People have asked me why I am not going digital. I always reply "Because I like film. I just LIKE it!"
Lex: " I tend to be indifferent to the notion of beauty as an asset to art because the notion seems trite."
What else is art ultimately about? I have previously stated that what art does is connect us to the world and to each other. What I did not add was that it does so through beauty. Great music is always beautiful music, to take on example. Beautiful does not mean trite. Beauty does not refer sentimental kitsch, or photographs of sunsets. It refers to something much deeper. What you think is beautiful may not be what I think is beautiful, but beauty is always at the core of great art. Keats said it best, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty." And that's it in five words.
Today that understanding has been lost to a great extent. Art, you will learn if you read current criticism and/or go to art school, is not about beauty, it is about ideas. I'm with the great art historian, Sir Herbert Read who said that art was about feelings and that, "If one has ideas to express, the proper medium is language."
Great art is always informed by intelligence, but it is not about ideas. Never has been. Never will be.
Picasso's art was never about ideas. Although the early cubist work was informed by his thoughts about what it would be like to have multiple views of something seen simultaneously, it was not about the idea of that. It was about the sensation of that--a very different thing.
Thnking and feeling are not mutually exclusive, but they sure are different. It is quite a different thing to feel something and to think you feel it.
"I think artists are more concerned with pursuing a specific idea that doesn't necessarily, at least in their minds, have an inherent narrative element. They make the picture for their own reasons. "
So says Ferdinand Protzman in the National Geographic article in another thread
I'm not sure if he's advocating thinking (ideas) or feeling (own reasons).
Guess I'm just not politically, or artistically, correct.
Great art is never about ideas. Duchamp did some very interesting things. Extremely. And pointed to many new directions. But is he a great artist? Not in my book. Once you get the concept, you don't have to look at the art anymore. Visual art is supposed to be visual, or do I have that wrong?
Being from Philadelphia (the museum there has, I believe, the largest Duchamp holdings in the world and has many of his most important and influential works) I have spent many an hour looking at them. So it is not as if I never heard of the guy or am not more than a bit familiar with his work and that of many of those who have followed in the various paths that opened up to them as a result of his work.
Duchamp's art is interesting and thought provoking, surely. But is it great art? Nah.
But what about all the art that has become JUST about ideas?
I mean let us face facts, there is some really dicey stuff out there that is based more on what the artists TELLS you, than what you can actually get from the work.
The fact is that modern (I'm sorry, POSTMODERN....), art is more about semiotics than anything else it seems. Where-as someone could have art that they simply created because it pleased them or they wanted to, now it is all about the semiotics of the work. So the work is left behind in favor of the message. This is how you get literally talentless people who become lauded as "geniuses". This how someone like Prince can steal the work of someone else and get all the credit for the image.
Personally I have a sign for people who value semiotics over all else....
It involves a middle finger.....
Thank you, jdef, for according my words the status of the absolute truth rather than as my opinion. I was not aware that anyone regarded my words so highly.
It would be interesting to see your anwer to Robert's question: " But what about all the art that has become JUST about ideas?
The notion that Art is what connects us to the world and each other through beauty is often expressed; for another example see the Editorís comments in LensWork #49. As in LensWork and this thread these types of remarks always seem somewhat suspect to me. The context in which these remarks appear seem to indicate some ulterior motive or justification on the part of the participants or artists (itís best to be suspicious of what I say here also). Iím not sure if Art or even Great Art can escape itís context, the world of appearances, to some other place where beauty and some immutable truth merge. Would not this some other place where beauty equals truth be beyond the world of appearances? How can a photograph which is rooted in the world by itís very scientific nature - lens-camera-film-chemistry - point beyond the world of appearances? ďBeauty is truth, truth beautyĒ are these five words enough or are they perhaps five words too many? In this context Iíd like to think that beauty is like an egg and ideas like sperm and Art the combination of sperm and egg. Iíd like to think that really Great Art grows to transcend entanglements in any present, past or future contexts. What could the mechanism of this growth be? Would it not be the Artist infused with the Ideas and Art of the present and past reaching not only toward the future, but beyond it and beyond him or her self?