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Thread: Fine Art Status

  1. #111

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diapositivo View Post
    A very small percentage of all photography produced has, instead, the purpose of creating something nice to hang on a wall. There must be a term to distinguish this "candidate to wall hanging" photography from all other kinds of photography. This term is "fine art photography".

    When people say "Fine art photography" they just mean "a photograph intended to be nice and hung on a wall". They just mean the purpose is only being pleasant to the eye without any practical further use.
    Enjoyed reading your post, but I have to say that I think you need to spend more time with contemporary photography, or more appropriately should I say, the modern language of photography - which has no meaningful translation for the term 'fine art'. I agree that people who do use the term tend to mean 'pleasant to the eye' and tend to refer to more traditional modes of image making practiced by craft oriented photographers. But would you call Burtynsky's work merely "pleasant to the eye"? Is it 'fine art' photography? I'd prefer to use simply 'art photography' in his case, because there is more than just a glaze of prettiness, shape, form and texture - the work is intellectually, environmentally and perhaps politically motivated, not just visually. What is visually compelling about his work, like the Old Masters, has a symbolic basis and carries deeper meaning - form follows function. With modern work like this - the cutting edge of photography - the term 'fine art' is only ever used disparagingly to describe superficial, conventional and traditional work, practiced with old ways of thinking. Burtynsky and the work of many on his level is not fine art photography. And I don't suppose it ever was, because he appears to have picked up the camera from the start with the mind of an artist - with a point of view and things to say beyond purely visual attractiveness.


    Quote Originally Posted by Diapositivo View Post
    That said, IMHO "fine art photography" is not "art" in the highest sense as no photography is ever "art" in the highest sense, not even Saint Ansel's production. I see it more as a craft, the domain of skill and taste. Mestiere.
    Photography is a medium used, to varying degrees of success, by artists.

    I see 'fine art photography' as the first level of creative work that sells. I find it disheartening that the term is used most often by photographers themselves to pigeonhole their own work. Some of my pictures would probably fall into the 'fine art' realm and be regarded with suspicion by many for that reason. This is something I've tried to consciously move away from. But you'll notice a marked distinction between it and the work shown in the super galleries, and it's not just about quality, but mentality.
    Last edited by batwister; 10-21-2012 at 07:02 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #112
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddie View Post
    Are you saying photography can't be art? If photographs never rise to the level of art, I'd agree with you. But, since I often think it does, I'd have to disagree. If a photographer has created a work of art, why shouldn't he/she call him/herself an artist? It's a fairly generic term, which helps to define the photographer's goal.
    Photography can be "Art" but very rarely it's mainly craft I.M.O., the World is awash with self proclaimed artists and fine artists, as my mother used to say " self advertizement is no recommendation ".
    The idea that photography is art is a very recent concept mainly created by photographers agents and gallerys who want to sell their work, most of the most of the great photographers we admire who were producing work that we consider to be art these days, if you would have told them they were "Artists" at the time would have laughed in your face.
    Ben

  3. #113

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    Quote Originally Posted by benjiboy View Post
    Photography can be "Art" but very rarely it's mainly craft I.M.O., the World is awash with self proclaimed artists and fine artists, as my mother used to say " self advertizement is no recommendation ".
    The idea that photography is art is a very recent concept mainly created by photographers agents and gallerys who want to sell their work, most of the most of the great photographers we admire who were producing work that we consider to be art these days, if you would have told them they were "Artists" at the time would have laughed in your face.
    I think you're judging the world of photography through the funnel of your own experience. You believe it's mostly craft because this is the only type of photography you've been exposed to. If you don't understand art photography just say and then, if you harbor any curiosity, spend some time with work heralded as such. This is what I did when I held similar beliefs about photography. I don't think you'd come back with the same opinions, that is, if you still allow yourself to be moved by such things, without judgment or silly superstitions.
    Last edited by batwister; 10-21-2012 at 07:22 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    I think you're judging the world of photography through the funnel of your own experience. You believe it's mostly craft because this is the only type of photography you've been exposed to.
    I think Ben has a point. Most photography is not art. More photographs are taken to illustrate things than are taken as art in themselves. Just about every item you can buy that has an instruction manual will be awash with pictures showing you how to use it or put it together. TV and magazines ar flooded with images of things in an attempt to make you buy them. There are photographs of things everywhere that are not intended to be art.

    Photography can be art but often isn't in the same way as painting can be art but often isn't.


    Steve.

  5. #115
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Just because people buy pictures and put them on their walls doesn't mean they are art in many cases they are merely wallpaper, I recall one of my friends who was a painter at one of the exhibitions of his work getting into a terrible arguemant with a woman who was a rich socialite because he refused to sell her one of his paintings that she wanted because she told him "because it whent with her decor".
    Ben

  6. #116

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith View Post
    I think Ben has a point. Most photography is not art. More photographs are taken to illustrate things than are taken as art in themselves. Just about every item you can buy that has an instruction manual will be awash with pictures showing you how to use it or put it together. TV and magazines ar flooded with images of things in an attempt to make you buy them. There are photographs of things everywhere that are not intended to be art.

    Photography can be art but often isn't in the same way as painting can be art but often isn't.


    Steve.
    I agree that most photography isn't or doesn't try to be art, but it seemed to me his opinion was that photography made with artistic intent, is most often only craft. Which is a belief rooted in ignorance and limited understanding of creative photography. Which is what we've been talking about.

    Quote Originally Posted by benjiboy View Post
    Just because people buy pictures and put them on their walls doesn't mean they are art in many cases they are merely wallpaper...
    That's exactly what fine art photography intends to be, decoration. As opposed to simply art photography, which carries messages, symbolism and is made from an intellectual standpoint. This is the work people need to be looking at to gain a better understanding of the term 'fine art'. Even Ansel Adams had a problem with the term for the very reason that it had historical connotations in the broader arts (as well as photography even then) with mere decoration, for which his work was often criticised. Whereas Weston's work was further removed from the superficiality of 'fine art' because of its connections with modernism. I think both of them would be turning in their graves had they known such discussions were still going on.
    Last edited by batwister; 10-21-2012 at 07:57 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #117
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    My "belief rooted in ignorance and limited understanding of creative photography" is only based on fifty nine years experience as an active photographer, more than thirty years as a member of The Royal Photographic Society, and more than twenty as an official judge in photographic societys in the county I live in, and I've attended more photographic exhabitions than you've had hot dinners.
    Ben

  8. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by benjiboy View Post
    My "belief rooted in ignorance and limited understanding of creative photography" is only based on fifty nine years experience as an active photographer, more than thirty years as a member of The Royal Photographic Society, and more than twenty as an official judge in photographic societys in the county I live in, and I've attended more photographic exhabitions than you've had hot dinners.
    Then I'm at a loss as to why you would say 'The idea that photography is art is a very recent concept mainly created by photographers agents and gallerys who want to sell their work'. It's a shame that in all those years you don't appear to have had any respect for the intent of the creative photographer, but imply that he is simply a pawn in the world of galleries. If that's not ignorant, it's certainly twisted.

  9. #119
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    The fact that most photographs aspiring to "art" status fail, doesn't mean that all fail to reach that level. The same could be said about painting, sculpture, etc.

  10. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    I agree that most photography isn't or doesn't try to be art, but it seemed to me his opinion was that photography made with artistic intent, is most often only craft. Which is a belief rooted in ignorance and limited understanding of creative photography. Which is what we've been talking about.



    That's exactly what fine art photography intends to be, decoration. As opposed to simply art photography, which carries messages, symbolism and is made from an intellectual standpoint. This is the work people need to be looking at to gain a better understanding of the term 'fine art'. Even Ansel Adams had a problem with the term for the very reason that it had historical connotations in the broader arts (as well as photography even then) with mere decoration, for which his work was often criticised. Whereas Weston's work was further removed from the superficiality of 'fine art' because of its connections with modernism. I think both of them would be turning in their graves had they known such discussions were still going on.
    So I assume that many photographers produce work that could be considered fine art and/or art? Perhaps putting a label on anything like this is not a good idea.

    “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



 

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