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Thread: Fine Art Status

  1. #121

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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    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.
    I think the only label here is 'fine art'. Art photography is a much broader concept, but like all art, the best definition might be that which is rooted in ideas beyond the visual. Anything else might be better called 'photography'. It's often the most talented photographers, producing the most beguiling photographs, that are hesitant to label their work art. Maybe for them it's because what they've chosen to explore in their work is 'something else'. Callahan and Cartier Bresson are two photographers I can think of whose work is 'something else', and the only comfortable definition is photography.
    Last edited by batwister; 10-21-2012 at 10:54 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #122
    lxdude's Avatar
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    You guys are a humble lot, honestly discussing which photography might be called art- given that most with a creative impulse and/or desire for attention label their actions art, even if it's piling up a bunch of junk in the middle of a gallery and calling it an installation or squawking like a chicken and calling it performance art, and it's accepted as such.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  3. #123
    michaelbsc's Avatar
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    Fine Art Status

    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    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.
    I agree that the discussion ought to be about "some" rather than all.

    Think about pottery. Clearly some pottery is made to be, and achieves, "fine art" status. But other pottery is just coffee cups in a rack.

    No one argues that pottery isn't both utilitarian and a medium for art.

    Someone brought up the medium point pages back. Clearly snapshots at a family gathering don't work their way up to art just because you have them in a scrapbook. Just as clearly images designed to evoke a response and staged appropriately are more than the memory jogging memento under grandmother's coffee table.

    In my mind the art/memento dichotomy is determined by intent.

    I'll stay out of the "fine" fray. That is fraught with hyperbole.
    Michael Batchelor
    Industrial Informatics, Inc.
    www.industrialinformatics.com

    The camera catches light. The photographer catches life.

  4. #124
    cliveh's Avatar
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    The label can also change over time. Someone working at the V & A in London told me that at one time their collection of Atget photographs were catalogued under architectural photography, but eventually they had to reclassify them as art (or something along those lines). I am sure this is true for many other historic photographers.

    “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

  5. #125
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    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.
    You miss the point, I do "have respect for the intent of creative photographer", but as a skilled craftsman, not as a highfalutin, self styled "Artists".
    I.M.O.some of the most creative work I have seen recently has been in commercial fashion and advertising photographraphy, that has no pretentions of being fine art .
    Last edited by benjiboy; 10-21-2012 at 01:14 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Ben

  6. #126
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjiboy View Post
    I.M.O.some of the most creative work I have seen recently has been in commercial fashion and advertizing photographraphy that has no pretentions of being fine art .
    But some of that is considered art.

    There's too much rubbish written debating what art is, it's about creativity and a mastery of the medium (which is craft) that allows the artist to create excellent work in the chosen medium.

    Part of being an artist is being able to contextualize your work. It's also about conveying something from your soul. That's another thread

    Ian
    Last edited by Ian Grant; 10-21-2012 at 01:42 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typo

  7. #127

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    Quote Originally Posted by benjiboy View Post
    You miss the point, I do "have respect for the intent of creative photographer", but as a skilled craftsman, not as a highfalutin, self styled "Artists".
    I.M.O.some of the most creative work I have seen recently has been in commercial fashion and advertizing photographraphy that has no pretentions of being fine art .
    Self-styled? Do you prefer accidental artists?

    You're forgetting the most important part of (good) photography; seeing strong images. Craft doesn't count for ANYTHING, not now, not ever, if the image is shite.
    Cartier-Bresson wasn't a craftsman, so by your reasoning, was he not a photographer?

    Help!
    Last edited by batwister; 10-21-2012 at 01:51 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #128
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    Self-styled? Do you prefer accidental artists?

    You're forgetting the most important part of (good) photography; seeing strong images. Craft doesn't count for ANYTHING, not now, not ever, if the image is shite.
    Cartier-Bresson wasn't a craftsman, so by your reasoning, was he not a photographer?

    Help!
    Or an artist?

    “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

  9. #129
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I was recently at a symposium that included, among other things, a talk by a university archivist who specialized in photographs.

    One of the challenges she had to deal with regularly was that the extensive collection that she worked with had been catalogued in various ways over the years.

    As an example, rather than organizing the information according to the name of the photographer, it was often organized by subject matter instead, and as it was mostly not computerized, there often wasn't a reliable cross reference either.

    As a slightly flippant example, if you wanted to find work by Ansel Adams, you wouldn't search under his name, but rather under "Mountains" or "Graveyards". Similar to what cliveh mentions above.

    So if you start arguing about how to label certain types of photography, you need to keep in mind that the ways photographs have been labelled in the past have changed a lot.

    And a definition of Art that says Craft doesn't matter at all if the image is strong seems to under-value the fact that artwork is both a depiction and a "thing" with characteristics of its own.

    Otherwise there would be no difference between a photograph on display and a photograph depicted on a computer screen.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  10. #130

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    And a definition of Art that says Craft doesn't matter at all if the image is strong seems to under-value the fact that artwork is both a depiction and a "thing" with characteristics of its own.
    An original print does have value - as the best raw material for reproduction. That's extreme, but most photographers learn about photography or indeed painting from studying reproductions. Today, most art photographers are concerned with the narrative of a cohesive body of work. This is in some ways a reaction to the lack of virtue the singular image has in the age of the internet, which this out of date idea about the print as a singular object doesn't tackle very well. People can more efficiently view single images on the internet, and will. The series, which contemporary photography is all about, is uniquely suited to book form. The limited edition large format book is becoming the ultimate form of presentation for contemporary art photographers. I believe the book is now that 'thing' you mention. Check out the prices of Mark Steinmetz recent publications, who is one of the most acclaimed contemporary traditional black and white photographers. I'm forever frustrated that a contemporary photographer I like has published a fair deal, but have become expensive collector items - after only a few years. For really getting across what Ian mentioned, the contextualisation of a body of work, the book (reproduction) is what really matters to art photographers today. To those producing relevant work.

    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    Otherwise there would be no difference between a photograph on display and a photograph depicted on a computer screen.
    There is a difference, but not one that should matter to people studying and practicing photography. The best way I can put it is that the painter's presence is in his brush strokes, the physical expression, the tactility of the canvas in layers of paint - which needs to be seen to really 'know' or more to the point feel his work. A photographer's presence is in his vision, the purity of concept illustrated by the image itself. This can be translated in all its glory in even the most mediocre reproductions. The print for a photographer is like a shout and most people will only hear the echo, which is enough. For many people that's even enough for them to know the smile of the Mona Lisa as well as their own mother! To see the Mona Lisa in person would be a transcendent experience, like meeting Ghandi, but it's not necessary to feel its effect. So it shouldn't have to be for photography.
    Last edited by batwister; 10-21-2012 at 04:16 PM. Click to view previous post history.



 

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