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View Poll Results: Is photography an art or a craft?

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35. You may not vote on this poll
  • Art

    18 51.43%
  • Craft

    17 48.57%
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  1. #1

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    Ok let me pose the same question here as I did in PN.

    For a little background I found myself in another of those digital vs classic discussion ( I know, I know, some of you think I will never learn...) and one of the arguments proposed explaining the lower value of ink jet prints in the art market was that they were "mechanically reproduced." To which the digital camp responded that ALL photography is "mechanically repoduced" and that it is merely a craft, not an art (figures, uh?). The arguments explaning this were rather ludicrous and easily opposed, but to my surprised I found myself in the lone position defending photography as art. So I posed the question in another thread. Again to my surprise most of the replies fell on the middle, where people said it was both.....some said it was art, some said it was craft, but the overwhelming mayority said it was both, depending on who was doing it.

    So, you guys dont get the chance to waffle and be PC, you get only two choices, I will be interested to see what the outcome is here.

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    This is a serious forum, so I'll be more serious here than I was over there.

    I don't see mechanical reproduction as the decisive factor, but utility.

    Fine furniture is often made with hand tools only, but furniture making is usually regarded as craft, because furniture is functional.

    "Fine Art" (images for display only) is opposed to "Applied Art" (illustration, journalism, advertising, etc.) in photography, and I would say that applied art is craft that sometimes is regarded as art, while fine art at least strives to be art.

    Is photography an artistic medium--yes, just as paint is, but not every painted surface is art, nor is every photograph.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  3. #3
    Cheryl Jacobs's Avatar
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    Assuming we are talking about the fine art, aesthetically pleasing, like to look at it sort of photography....

    it's art. Art, art, art.

    (Ok, and yes, there's craft in the printing aspect, but since it's one choice, or the other....)

  4. #4

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    I think when you start in photography, the craft needs to be learned to have control about how a scene is interpreted (the photographer's vision). Craft and Art should work together.

    Often, comments about my photos are: "Technically excellent but the subject is not interesting". I guess I lack the "Art" part of the equation..

  5. #5
    Jorge Oliveira's Avatar
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    A nice scene, correctly framed will become a good photo if correctly exposed and developed (and I mean correctly for this very one scene).

    So, it starts by craft.

    A news photographer is not concerned with art - he's concerned with been there and presenting the fact. But sometimes there is art in it.

    A fine art photographer is not concerned with facts - he can choose the right light, etc, he creates a scene as per his inner vision. And sometimes there is art in it.

    So, craft is inseparable of good photography.
    Art, we all hope it's there...



    Jorge O

  6. #6
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Too intersting to avoid. My comment .... Who really cares?

    A possible difference: "Craft" is explainable; "Art" is not.

    Here goes ... from "Alfred Steiglitz - a Biography" by Richard Whelen:

    "It would be a mistake to think that Steiglitz's purpose and objective was to make people understand modern art," wrote de Zayas. "In Steiglitz's hands modern art had transcendental value. He showed it not only for what it was, but for what it could be for the individual to find his own real self... Modern art was to most incomprehensible; for that reason it was the best tool to make people understand themselves."

    "The `work of art' was never... of much interest to Steiglitz," opined Hutchins Hapgood. "It is what the work of art symbolizes, what is behind it , that counts.... Apropos of a picture by Marin, a drawing by Rodin or a painting by O'Keefe, Steiglitz would talk by the hour about `life', as it manifests, or should manifest, itself in all human relations -- marriage, politics. morality." In the photographer's view, however, any attempt to explain a work of art, to analyze it or fit it into a theory, was antithetical to the spirit of art."
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  7. #7

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    I don't know that you can say "who cares" as apparently many do because the question or variations of it keep being asked.

    I guess I am PC as I didn't vote for either as I think it is both and possibly neither depending on why, what and how it is done and used. Today I spent most of the day in the darkroom printing little itty bitty photos of grandaughter to hand out at school and to her friends. Art? I think not but some craft necessary.

    I also tried again to print a negative that I have unsuccessfully tried before from a scene that I have shot several times. I would say art and craft if I ever get what I have invisioned.

    There is also the vast majority of film and digital images which are shot in all manner of cameras without thought or purpose beyond the fact that Kodak has convinced people that you need to record things for yourself. I would contend that most of these shots and their automated mechanical printing are neither art or craft, but they are photography.

    Bob

  8. #8
    bjorke's Avatar
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    Poll: Foolish or Dangerous?

    Sorry to pee in the pool here but this sort of question comes up often and it's always silly. One could ask the same of painting, scultpure, or even performace arts like music and dance. Art's inherent subjectivity makes it immune to such smug quantization.

    Also, the question is shockingly vague on both sides of the equation -- not just defining "art" but also "photography." Do you mean the process of photography, or certain works of photography, or the marketplace for photography, or, like Roland Barthes, do you really only care about the impact of photographs upon the person of the viewer, in which the photographer plays only an incidental role as the middleman between viewer and nominal subject?

    The notion that such complexities can be rapidly boiled-down to "facts" is IMO antithetical to the very nature of "art."

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
    KBPhotoRantPhotoPermitAPUG flickr Robot

  9. #9
    Aggie's Avatar
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by bjorke
    Poll: Foolish or Dangerous?

    Sorry to pee in the pool here but this sort of question comes up often and it's always silly. One could ask the same of painting, scultpure, or even performace arts like music and dance. Art's inherent subjectivity makes it immune to such smug quantization.
    That's just it, nobody does if you think about it. If you say "painting is an art" chances are most people will agree with you. Of course some might start to get too technical, dissect your sentence etc, but overall I think most will agree with you.

    It is certainly not my intention with this question to "define" art, or photography in the context of art..etc, etc.

    What took me by surprised and made me curious is that this opinion existed in the Large Format forum. Supposedly it is the pinnacle of photography, where the supposed photgraphers have the reputation of taking the most care when making a photograph and are supposedly the most ruthless when editing the images they plan to show. Yet, apparently they go to all this trouble and dont consider what they do an art.

    Am I the only one who finds this strange? I never had any doubts that photography is an art. Of course it makes use of "tools" but to me the end result, a print, is an art object much like a painting or a sculpture when done with that end in mind.

    SO I think you misunderstood my question, I dont want to "quantify" art or photgraphy as art, what I am really interested to know id how you
    feel deep inside you about photography. There is no need to explain, qualify or make a disertation.

    Ed, thank you for the courtesy of expanding on your answer. A moron at pn simply answered "who knows/who cares", the funny thing is that this bufoon calls himself a fine art photographer....lol....

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