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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    I would respect digital more if it did not try to hop on the backs of more established mediums, instead of carving their own market out. It would not have been difficult.
    A few artistic lives ago I used to create digital images by modeling and rendering in 3D. Many people still do this, and the market is already estabilished (think of ALL the current video games, most animated movies, digital special effects, etc...)

    The problem at hand is artistic (or medium) forgery, for the lack of a better term. Sean hit the mark, why hide the fact that it is digital? In my opinion, some of these guys are not trying to express themselves as much as fool other people. That is, the goal is not content, but perceived medium.

    Wow, that really does look like a pastel, huh?
    Yeah, it does, it looks like a scan of a pastel, or a copy print of a pastel. All that I need to do is examine the absolute lack of texture, or pastel residue, to know it is NOT a pastel. There, have a cookie.

  2. #12

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    If you are concerned by efforts of some to disguise reproductions as original works, it will only get more difficult. There are already people working on reproducing the brush strokes as a three-dimensional overlay (especially for images printed on canvas). I don’t think their intent is nefarious. It shouldn’t be surprising. After all, manufacturers have long recognized the desire for folks to own a less-expensive replica of the museum original. No, they are just trying to do a better job. On the other hand, I suppose we could go back in time to when color reproductions were fraught with inconsistencies and strange approximations of the original.

    Mind you, I don’t mean to infer that there aren’t people that will abuse these advances.

    Indeed, what seems to most often upsets folks is the potential for misuse of the medium. We’ve essentially transitioned from riding a tricycle to a driving Ferrari in less than a decade. I don’t think people are upset by that. What seems to concern them is that we drive responsibly.

    While of concern, the ethical debate is far less interesting to me than the creative potential that the newer technology provides.

    I have images that already look like watercolors without the “benefit” of any Photoshop filters. I love to print them on watercolor paper to enhance this feeling. The textured paper results in a three dimensional quality that is especially nice for rendering snow and fog. I love having the option to do so and don't, in my own creative endeavors, mean to create a feeling of inadequacy in folks who choose other reproduction methods.

    Please consider: “We all stand on the shoulders of those who precede us.”

    The advances in imaging technology have followed a natural progression beginning with storytellers in whose soul images resided until shared with an audience. With camera obscura, the process of image making became much more mechanical, though still mysterious.

    When light sensitive materials were invented to retain a residual representation of a moment, it became fashionable to be critical of the image. Suddenly it wasn’t just that an image was captured, but how sharp it was, how long it lasted, what color it was, what process was used to create the image. The technological juggernaut was in motion. I think that ever since, while better and better capture, printing and archival methods were discovered and debated, what photographers have really been seeking is to regain the passion and mystery of the original storytellers.

    Digital techniques are just another in a long line of methods to capture and render an image. Even so, there are many gifted technicians who don’t have a clue how to express emotion in their craft. That includes writers, musicians, dancers, and yes, photographers. Put the modern tools in the hands of a gifted artist and the likelihood of a positive outcome increases dramatically.

    It seems silly to think that as the ability to capture and reproduce images with contemporary technology becomes ubiquitous, that the skill of an analog master is somehow diminished. On the contrary, that skill becomes all the more extraordinary and the valuable. But, that, is for another discussion.

    Regardless of what method one chooses to express oneself, content reigns supreme.

  3. #13
    Mateo's Avatar
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    kswatapug said:

    "Regardless of what method one chooses to express oneself, content reigns supreme."

    I'm just guessing but... if I throw away my brushes and paints and learn how to make digital prints with brushstrokes on canvas, I don't think I'll get too many shows next year. Mind you, I do appreciate digital technology but the art world seems to appreciate hand craftmanship.

    Content without execution lacks authority. Just my humble opinion.

  4. #14

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    This is true. My freind of mine is an illustrator and a hell of an oil painter to boot and a lot of editors say it is refreshing to see non digital output. To actually see a hand drawing. They also say that it is becomming more rare to find traditional artist as more and more are moving to digital. From what I can see digital in a way is destroying art.

    No I am not bashing as I do use digital for sports and journalism but again I do not say they were created with film either.

    Just my two cents.

  5. #15
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I've seen an artist who shows digital photos (usually brightly colored florals and landscapes) converted to inkjet "watercolors" on the craft show circuit, and I'm always amused to think who would buy such a thing. They are as well executed as such prints could be and are nicely framed, but they just look ridiculously hokey. They still have a mechanically reproduced appearance that screams "I AM A FAKE THING!"

    But hey, whatever floats..., etc.

  6. #16

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    Content without execution lacks authority.

    Agreed. How about, "Content, with proper execution, reigns supreme." ? That is what separates raw vision from masterful expression.

    I have seen so much beautiful work--both traditional and otherwise--and find it hard to see the results of each as anything but the artists' effort to produce the best work possible given the constraints of the various media. The artists are driven to do so. In the end, "how" something is created then becomes secondary to "why". What are they trying to say. A fine "reproduction" is just that. It begins with vision and ends with the mastery of the medium.

  7. #17
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    Someone shoots an object, runs some filters over it to make it 'look' like 'natural' media and someone buys it because it looks like a painting.

    It sounds like a match made in heaven!

    If some artists feel threatened by this they are a little late to the game. In the land where reality shows reign supreme and the number 1 beer tastes like tainted, carbonated water, you shouldn't be too surprised by what is produced and sold as 'art.'

    *

  8. #18

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    "I agree with what you are saying above, but my point is, some clowns out there will eventually take a dslr shot, convert it to a watercolor image in photoshop, put new watercolor inks in their epson, user water color paper, and you can be sure as hell they will call them "watercolors" or "watercolor paintings", and sell them as watercolor paintings without telling anyone it was a digitally produced media. I think people have a right to know what they are buying or viewing. I have already seen lightjet prints devoid of all mention of digital processing and hiding behind the traditional paper name to make it appear it is a handprinted image."

    I really could care less what other people do. I make prints on my Epson 9600 and call them "inkjet prints" if anyone asks how they were made or what kind of print it is. I have to laugh at the people who insist on using "Giclee" - way to cute for me, but, then I have trouble calling a color photograph "C" print a "chromogenic print" or an Ilfochrome a "dye destruction print."

    I guess I don't understand your problem with LightJet prints. In reality, a LightJet printer is just a really big enlarger using RGB lasers for printing on standard photo paper. Making the print with an enlarger or making it with a LightJet really takes the same amount of work. Instead of working in a darkroom you're working in a "lightroom." If you want a quality print, the final print really happens in your head as you figure out what needs to be done to the transparency or negative to achieve your end goal (dodging, burning, masking, etc.). To me, how this is carried out is immaterial.

    So I can't have it both ways? I do use a process for creative purposes and find it enriching, does this mean I should keep my mouth shut when artists are deceiving the public with their work? Believe me, we haven't seen anything yet. I've said before it's just a matter of months before gelatin inkjet papers arrive, and 'silver inksets' are available so the digital printers can then sell their inkjets as "silver gelatin prints". This has almost happened with platinum, ask Jorge about Platinum Giclee prints.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "both ways." There you go again with that Giclee term...inkjet - please... So what you're really pissed off about is that you feel people degrade the "pure art form" work (a real platinum print) by calling an inkjet print a platinum print (as an example). Fair enough. Again, for me personally, I just call the print exactly what it is - if it was a platinum inkjet print - that's what I'd call it. I don't think that degrades the inkjet work or makes a real platinum print any more worthy of being "real art." A boring photograph is just that no matter what the reproduction medium.

    That's all I'm getting at, mainly these bad apples out there who trash everyone for thinking art is more than the 'finished product'.

    This one I really don't understand. In this sentence you're talking about the people "who trash everyone for thinking art is more than the 'finished product' " - isn't that what you're doing? Or, am I missing something? The finished product either works on an aesthetic level or it doesn't. I'm sorry, if you want me to appreciate the process instead of the final work - then art better become a spectator sport so we can watch the process and not care about the outcome.

    Their disregard for what it means as a human to create something with real materials by hand is disgusting to me...

    As someone who has printed photos for over 35 years, has done really involved hand work processes like lithographic printing, and works regularly in my woodshop and metal shop - I can say - I don't undertand the attitude. If you want people to oooh and aaaah over your hand craftsmanship - take up leather tooling, woodworking, or black smithing. Then you won't have people making a mistake as to what was hand done.

    I just don't care how you arrive at the final image. Spending hours in a darkroom hand making a boring photograph won't make me appreciate the image - it's still a piece of crap. Hand coating a glass plate and contact printing the glass plate on your hand made platinum paper won't make me say, "Wow!" "Look at all the work - how impressive." If it's a bad photo, I'd probably end up laughing at someone who would spend that amount of time to turn out a bad photo.

    Too many people get hung up on the craftsmanship portion of art in general. They hope that fine craftsmanship will overcome bad art - maybe no one will notice it's a piece of shit because the workmanship is so good. Dazzling logic. Kind of like trying to pass off an inkjet print as a true color photo?

  9. #19
    jd callow's Avatar
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    Some very good points steve. I also don't care what others do. I dislike deception, think it is pretty telling when an 'artist' has to rely upon 'tricks' to make the image interesting and sad, but funny, when people buy the image because of the 'tricks' employed. Those tricks being imitation, fancy labels or caned effects.

    It is of course another thing all together if the artist uses the tool as a vehicle for his message. I have seen some beautiful digital work that could only be done 'naturally' by a computer.

    In the long run the value of traditional media to the mainstream public may be diluted or not.

    *

  10. #20
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    Steve:

    Some good points for sure. But, I think this whole article/debate presumes artistic merit in the first place, and saying content is king and process shouldn't matter is really setting up a straw man to knock down. The problem many of the respondees are alluding to is really about misrepresentation. I think the beef some people have is when artists(or galleries) are disingenuous about what a print really is. All things being equal, the identical image (and let us stipulate that the image is good and worthy) printed on an inkjet with 'platinum giclee' inks and represented as a platinum print is emphatically not the same thing as a handmade 'real' platinum print, and to call them the same thing is just fraud. On the other hand, if printing an image on an inkjet is 'close enough' for most people, and they know exactly what they are buying and they get a significant price break in the process, then hey, more power to the artist. Just call it what it is, and move on. But if your argument about content being the main criteria, then why does this article talk about original paintings that sell for $140,000 and 200 print 'giclee' editions selling for $1000 each? Clearly 'form' seems to have a bigger premium attached to it than 'content' in this case.


    I do think that a good artist needs to carefully think about the economic effects of printing big editions, though. Again, asssuming the images is worth a sh** in the first place, there will always be a rarity premium that some buyers will attach to a very limited edition. On the other hand, there just aren't that many really well heeled buyers out there. So the perennial question: Do you want to sell one for $1000 or 5 for $200? It is probably less risky to take the 5 print approach, since if your calculation is wrong, you still might sell 3, whereas the unique print approach may leave yet another piece of orphaned art taking up space in someone's basement.

    As an aside on this whole discussion, I am always tickled at the number of photographers who turn out for gallery openings, but would never even entertain the idea of buying someone else's prints. Mostly it is either tech or trash talk that goes on at these things, and unless the show is by a 'superstar', there just aren't that many pins in the wall at the end of the evening. I am amazed at photographers who will complain that the photo market stinks, that no one is buying their prints, yet would totally freeze up at the notion of actually buying a print. Makes you wonder why they expect anyone to have any economic behavior different than their own. You gotta laugh.

    But its all fun.

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