First of all, many thanks to all for sharing, so openly, your different perspectives on what is art, art of photography, fine art, and photographic art. I am learning a lot about how fluid those ideas are, and I have a feeling that the concept might be a temporal one. I would like to ask you to humour me, please, and to follow a thought experiment, and to share your observations, if you would be so kind.
Imagine that it is year 2112. Photography uses artificial intelligence technology, and images, flat, or multidimensional, or fully spatial, can be perfect representations of what was seen, with an optional multitude of applied corrections etc, all done within a matter of seconds, by commonly available, inexpensive equipment. Output is holography-like projected into space, or onto surfaces, and it is easy to make it indistinguishable from the real object, except, perhaps, when one wants to scale the image. You can even touch the projections, they are as soft or rough, as the original object was, unless one applied a creative manipulation, naturally. There are no "computers" as they were known in 2012: everyone just speaks, or simply thinks up their wishes, into the nearest Intelligent Thinking Cloud (ITC) Wish Receptor, and answers are given, things are purchased, actions happen, as required. No one uses old-fashioned "keyboards", of course.
There is a group of "old school" photographers. They use an ancient technology, that requires the use of rare equipment that has not been produced for 70 years, but which can be restored by dedicated people. They are called "inkjet printers". Image making process requires hours of using a "keyboard", and a thing called a "mouse", that takes some 5-10 years to master the movement of, not to mention years spent learning the art of visualising on the "screen" what the "print" will look like, because the colours never really match each other, or your wishes, anyway. Sometimes, you have to go back to the beginning, make changes, and repeat—you cannot just wish your idea into a Wish Receptor, because "computers" fundamentally do not understand human wishes, and they lack such receptors. You also need to make "ink" from rare, often toxic, chemicals, that are difficult to source, very expensive due to the scarcity of some of the precious ingredients, and, needless to say, requiring plenty of skill, just like the making of "paper" requires, which has nothing in common with that Bioquantic ITC Holopaper that materialises in front of you, as needed, unless the Cloud is in a temporarily bad mood, every Monday morning.
Above all, creation of an image, beautiful, but so old-fashioned, and with that retro "digital" look, counting perhaps as few as 800 megapixels, requires hours spent in front of a "screen", using a "computer", which breaks often, runs "software" that is often annoying, hangs up, is very unintuitive to use, relies on oddest ideas called "layers", and lots of numbers that always say 255... After spending hours tiring their minds, developing hand injuries, and shortening their lives from breathing toxic "ink" fumes, these amazing individuals, through the hard work of their hands and minds, create sometimes beautiful objects, which they call "traditional inkjet photographs". One has to admire their dedication, in the era of everything being made automatically, with no human intervention, by the ITC. In fact, to some art historians, these individuals, who can manually operate "computers", are reminiscent of 20th century photographers, who also created art by hand, by operating a primitive, but very satisfying to use objects, in labs, which they called "darkrooms".
However, there is a discussion just going on, on the APUG-Thought-Sharing-Collective, to decide if images produced using the ITC can be called fine art. It seems, that, unlike those who used computers in the past, people of today, who do everything by means of thinking an idea into the Cloud, cannot be equalled to the artisans and craftsmen of the long forgotten era.
Are the ITC photographers creating fine art, or just decorative products? Is fine art so abstract as to be always separable from its medium, or is the medium a holistic part of what makes art?
Last edited by Rafal Lukawiecki; 10-17-2012 at 06:40 AM. Click to view previous post history.