Originally Posted by Athiril
No one said anything about art historians telling artists what they should create. Where did you get that from??
But the idea that new artists should not learn from the past is just ridiculous. That's like handing a violin to a would-be musician and telling him there is no need to study the history or technology of music, 'just start scratching until you have something'.
Of course the first in any field have to learn in a vacuum. So what! Does that mean everyone should learn in a vacuum? Early efforts should be respected and valued, if for no other reason than their handy mistake avoidance value.
It used to have a clear meaning. However, in recent years every wedding, portrait and bar mitzvah photographer has learned that it can be used to demand higher prices, so it has become quite meaningless; even offensive. Doing a google search on the term "fine art photography" returns such a meaningless miss-mash of results as to be useless.
Originally Posted by ntenny
I have recently started saying "artist-photographer". Often I just drop "photographer" all together, not that I am not proud of being a photographer, but saying just "artist" has a kind of defiant, in-your-face quality about it that I like.
"Fine art photographer" also has an inherent defensive quality to it. It never would have arisen if photographers hadn't felt the need to justify themselves as artists.
I am content to allow the term to dilute itself right into oblivion.
Maybe maybe not. As an eighteen year old just starting to take photography seriously and just learning how to print I am making it a point to learn how to make my prints archival. As it stands now I print on RC paper; one it's cheaper and two Ilford cooltone is only in RC. (And yes I realize that FB is more archival, though the more recent generations of RC look like they may hold up nearly as well.) But I would never criticize someone for using less permanent materials, even for "fine art". As I recall da Vinci's Last Supper was painted on increadably unarchival plaster exposed to the elements. Yet I think we can all agree that, to put it bluntly, doesn't suck. I think it's closed minded to judge the validity of art based on weather it will be long lasting or not. If that was the case the only truly valid art would be carved from solid granite or shaped from flawless diamond.
Originally Posted by davidkachel
This reminds me of one supplicant who came from the local University at the suggestion of her "art teacher". Not only was her work horribly executed, but the subject matter was the typical kittens, flowers, sunsets stuff that all amateurs take. Her "professor" didn't seem to know anything more about photography than she did, or she wouldn't have sent her. (Or maybe she just wanted to palm a problem off on me!)
Originally Posted by Patrick Robert James
I feel for the museum curator, but I am not so concerned about the "easy" aspect of digital photography. The same was actually true of film. Though digital is certainly more superficially easy than was film, the same phenomenon occurred nonetheless: buy a camera today, be a photographer tomorrow.
My concern is with those few from the multitudes who make a conscious decision, "I want to be a fine art photographer", but then don't bother to learn anything from those who have the knowledge they ought to desire.
Case in point: I have yet to find any web site like this one, for digital fine art photography. Someone desiring to acquire a skill set and historical knowledge of analog photography could readily do so here. Not so, at least that I have seen thus far, for digital wannabes.
'Fine art photography' does still, strangely, have some meaning on APUG it seems. Probably because of the zone system bias. 'F/64 vs pictorialism' is actually still a relevant and timely debate here!
But anyway, let me tell you all a story. Back in nineteen-diggidy-two...
'Cows are very fond of being photographed, and, unlike architecture, don't move.' - Oscar Wilde
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Originally Posted by davidkachel
perhaps this is true, but i don't really know if it is actually true or not.
none of this "stuff" with new technology has been around very long
and there is a huge difference between actual longevity and longevity
that is projected through some scientific experiment. there have been pigment prints
for a long time on cotton rag and they have not lasted very long ...
i still remember hearing "it is pigment, like paint is pigment" to me at least, its just marketing hype.
if you talk to the folks at KODAK they might tell you that RC prints can be processed to last just as long
as fiber prints. they have told me that on more than one occasion.
the problem with not knowing the "history" is a difficult one
because there are many histories, and many important people in science and technology
and image making. some of the most important photographers people in the arts,
photographers, painters &c, are not the ones that have made the history books
(because they had connections, or they have someone with influence paying attention to what
they are doing, or what they did ) but the ones that have not been so lucky.
personally, i think john garo and arshile gorky 2 of the most important artists of the 20th century,
but for the most part they are left by the side of the road, even though they were at the forefront
of photography and painting, but i don't hold it against anyone if they have no idea who garo + gorky were ...
in the end people seek out the things that interest them.
I do have to agree with David K on the point though that my generation is filled with pretentious ignorant asses. I've never been able to understand lacking in humility so much as to not be able to admit the obvious benefits of learning from the past. I've only been perusing photography for six months, I suck at it. That makes sense since I've only been at it six months, even Adam's probably wasn't that great the first few months after he picked up a camera. I'm happy to learn and love having access to such amazing resources such as this site, my local art museum, and the excellent selection of photography and art history books at my library. I only wish other aspiring photographers could do the same.
You have missed the point entirely!
Originally Posted by Slixtiesix
I was never interested in a "diluting the craft" argument. After all, I have made the switch to digital 100%. Though I would hate to see any craft lost or forgotten, that is completely unrelated to this discussion.
I am only concerned that new photographers are not acquiring the knowledge and skill set they ought to be acquiring from those who have gone before. They do not know that there are materials not conducive to long term permanence. They are often not even aware there is such a thing as long term permanence! They have no clue why a photograph should not be made to imitate a painting. They are unaware of analog skills that are directly translatable to the digital side and would be of benefit. Necessary knowledge is not being transferred from one generation to the next as it once was. Even the simple concepts of dodging and burning (though they are best done quite differently in the digital realm) are unknown to these newcomers.
Please read through the information at http://wilhelm-research.com/ to fully understand how good the archival properties of ink jet printing has become.
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
"They seem determined to make all the old mistakes all over again."
Isn't that what being young is all about?