View Poll Results: Is photography an art or a craft?
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That is true about the table, but I have seen Shaker pieces at the Art Institute of Chicago and other museums were they are considered to be art. I don't think the creator intended that characterization, but yet that is how it is perceived today.
I think photography is craft; art is IMO a specific purpose to which a craft or other skill is used. Like writing isn't art, but that it's a skill that can be used to produce art (e.g. poetry).
Photography is a craft which can sometimes be used to produce art. It's the same as woodwork. You can use the same basic tools to frame a wall or build a Shaker chair. The difference is in the craftsperson.
A product predominately of the Hands - is Craft.
A product predominately of the Soul - is Art.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
A few events are coming together - must be fate.
While waiting for the thirty (30) minutes for the Agfapan 400 to "cook" in the JOBO processor, I have many chances to re-read my old Camera and Darkroom issues. I'm rediscovering the roots of some of my internalized pre-conscious mindsets.
My attitude (generally) towards "critiques":
From the July, 1993 issue - "Perspectives - Is Photography Art - The Old Question, Revisited", by Mike Johnston:
"I like photographs. I mentioned earlier some examples of the "found" pictures I value. But I tend to like photographers more; not only because I am sympathetic to their struggles, and sympathetic to their problems, but - and this is crucial - because I am convinced by their work when they succeed. So as a viewer, I am willing to spend time and care and effort to unlock the secret of what's inside them, the mystery of what they're struggling to "put into" their pictures. What interests me is not so much the fact that some small subset of all random photographs happen, by chance, to be good ones; I am more interested in what all of one person's photographs can tell me about that person's thoughts and values, and how completely that can be communicated in pictures.
One thing this interest requires and assumes, though, is integrity on the part of the photographer. If the photographer won't be honest, or if he or she imitates a generic style, or allows other people to tell them what to photograph, or merely pursues superficial technical effects, then it gets harder to tell what they're really about."
"... In general, one must admit, most photographers fail at being artists. This is true even when they're trained and when they're trying to be.
The ones who succeed the best, I think, are the ones who don't try to rig the game, who do their own thing who don't try to second-guess the arbiters of style and taste, who don't judge themselves only by the acceptance of others, who are willing to experiment, to loosen up, to stay honest with themselves, and above all, to listen and respond to what their gut tells them about their work.
The ones I am describing are, as far as I'm concerned, the only real photographers. Not the ones that Dorothea Lange called "the Success Boys", who make photography pay, but rather those who somehow manage to shove the craft of photography kicking and screaming into the realm of consistent personal expression. They're the ones who really make this medium vital for the rest of us, and it's those people whose work we try to bring you in the pages of Camera & Darkroom. They're the ones who make photography worthwhile, Here's to 'em!
And if that's what you you're trying to be, why then, here's to you too. Good luck, and don't ever quit!"
Its attitudes and underlying philosophies like this that made C&D so great - that it lives on - so strongly - in the memories of those influenced by it.
"If the photographer won't be honest -- If he or she imitates a generic style, or allows other people to tell them what to photograph" ... Isn't all that the raison d'etre of the overwhelming majority of critics?
-So tell me again ... other than fostering a sense of security - "I won't get yelled at or encounter disapproval", what is the value of criticism?
Ed Sukach, FFP.
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