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  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    Has Nadav Kander made the switch from highly successful commercial photographer to lets say for argument sakes fine art photographer?
    I was an avid fan of his early work.

    Others like Albert Watson, Irving Penn and Richard Avedon come to my mind, when I think of photographers who have made the switch, Lillian Bass and probably a fantastic
    list of photographers whose work just is damm good and received as great photography.

    Ed Burtynsky does not immediately strike me as following a commercial then fine art route., as he always has followed a very structured path , starting in Mass with the quarry work. I consider his work damm good as well , just a different path than Nadav Kander for example.
    I'd say he's better recognised as a commercial photographer, but I got to know him through his "Yangtze - The Long River" and Chernobyl series. He's definitely heralded as a big name in contemporary art photography.

    Burtynsky is in the same sphere I'd say, for his almost painterly compositional convention in tandem with subject matter that can only be described as photographic. Their work transcends the medium and finds itself shifting towards the pole of art because it says things of universal relevance that only a photographer can say - namely, a direct tackling of the social environment. Burtynsky's environmental subject matter just wouldn't work in painting because it is so illustrative and so much about man's effect, but his visual sense and artistic framework, like Kander's, is more 'classical' or operatic and owes itself more to the great landscape painters than any photographer. In the art world's mind I'd assume these painterly references are what get the brownie points, as well as an embracing of what they see as photography's strength, to describe, to play it straight. There is little in either of their work that appears to be directly descended from the lineage of photographic convention (of composition or approach to subject matter), only a surface connection to the concerns of the New Topographics.

    So I definitely think for photography to be well regarded in the art world it has to be both uniquely photographic (embrace the medium's strengths and limitations), subjectively relevant (timely), and also nod its head to the broader arts (painterly technique/compositions/symbolism/knowledge and proper use of colour) - having an art education obviously helps here. I think street photography is regarded as an oddity because it is uniquely photographic, socially relevant, but ignorant about the visual arts. This is why historians will tell us the greatest 'photographers' are street and documentary, yet they give other work the benefit of the doubt, allowing it to fall into the art sphere, so long as those visual nods to art convention are there.

    Abstract or transformative photography tends to be dismissed because 1. It doesn't hold relevance for the average viewer and 2. Is seen as a deception (i.e. the famous thing with Ansel Adams' details - "What's the medium?"). Yet abstracts that are clearly photographic tend to get more recognition from the art world - recently, Hiroshi Sugimoto's 'Lightning Fields' - because the photographer is playing it straight and the subject matter is universally identifiable, symbolic (dangerous?) and visually immediate.
    Last edited by batwister; 09-09-2012 at 02:12 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    In Steichen's time, photographers were very concerned with how they fit in with the broader arts. He wrote in "A Life in Photography" about the old German painter, Richard Lorence who volunteered to criticise their work. The best he would say of a photograph was ""Well that's a good one. It would make a fine painting."

    Now I see much narcissism and ignorance of all art in digital photography and the social networking framework that it feeds.

    But I am glad you bring up people like Nadav Kander to remind me there is good work being done.

    I am sure Steichen would have appreciated and exhibited his work in the Museum of Modern Art.
    There was certainly a wrestling within modernism and pictorialism of "should we/shouldn't we?" It was very much a time of testing the water, gaining the respect of the traditional art world and establishing photography's place and true virtues. I think today photographers are more at ease with the idea of referencing art, as the water has settled and photography has gained more recognition.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddie View Post
    Exactly my point.
    I don't want to come off narcissistic. Sure I want to know what to call myself. And I know right now I won't call myself a "fine art" photographer.

    I am sure, markbarendt, you only have a few record shots where you don't know what motivated you. Did you forget to "turn something on" inside? Or maybe your subconscious holds the key.

    If you were to compare some of my duds to a grilled steak, I'd sometimes deserve criticism like "that meat was sure chewy" (to quote young Austen G, dinner guest).

    But usually I try to feel something, anything, as I take the shot and again when I print it. Last night I wasn't feeling it so I didn't even turn on the water.

    So I practice the art - I can safely say that.

    The others who "make" their photographs or work off concrete concepts - I can safely say they are miles ahead of me in the "fine art" arena. And I am comforted by those miles.

    batwister, I'm digesting your thoughts. Chewy, but tasty!... When I think of street photography today, I don't rule out composition. Cliveh is showing us that photographers can organize a scene into a photograph. Steichen was saying that kind of thing in the article, that a photograph is just a record until it is organized. Then it comes alive.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    ...believe the artistry/messages of a photograph can transcend the medium and we've been seeing it happen for the last few years. Like the classic painters, the masterful brush techniques and pleasing compositions were often a lure for the viewer - what makes the work transcendental is the symbolism, from which we derive meaning. Photography is only just about maturing into a similar state, slowly developing a more articulate visual language, using pictorialism as a surface glaze for deeper meaning
    Well put Batwister! I liked your post.

    Would a nice corollary be that photography is changing much like how painting evolved with the arrival of Picasso's mixed media Still Life with Chair Caning in 1912?

    Still Life with Chair Caning

    Kind of ironic that Still Life with Chair Caning was exactly 100 years ago
    Last edited by zsas; 09-09-2012 at 02:35 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: fix link
    Andy

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    I believe the artistry/messages of a photograph can transcend the medium
    An image like this perhaps –

    http://artnews.org/files/0000012000/...gene_Atget.jpg

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  6. #46
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    I personally find many of to-days advertising, fashion and commercial photographers are producing far more creative and exiting work to me than boatloads of these self styled "art photographers".
    Ben

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