Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
photographs that were taken last century (for example some of the
work of the french photographers latrigue and atget ) ...
they were not taken on the pretense to be "fine art" or even "art" but to day they are seen
to be just that. no statements, just child with a camera, and a documentary photographer with a paid commission ...
So the intent is in how we see them, not in what the maker wanted.

That's a fair point (were it so - and even if it were not).

Yet the distinction holds. We recognize these (assuming for now that they were indeed just pretenseless thingies, i.e. the makers thought nothing special about their subjects. Which begs the question why they shot what they shot so consistently) as important documents.
Important, because they are early samples of a new way in which people began to interact with their environment, their society, etc.

They however are clearly different, and still recognized as such, from most of the early family and other snap shots made by other photographers of that time.

Why would that be, you think?
It's not because for Lartigue or Atget the subject matter didn't matter. It did. They knew what they put in front of their lenses. They did have "a view" on things. Their view

They are not the pinnacle of fine art.
They are not fine art at all. Just as little as, say , W. Eugene Smith is fine art.
Both Lartigue and Atget were journalists.

And no, fine art, art, documentary, journalism: these are not just labels.
It's like saying, in a discussion about what makes a fine family car, "family car, truck, sports car, they are all just labels" and suggest a Mack truck as a good choice for doing the school run.
Don't know how anyone could think like that.

And yes: people interpret things. That's part of communication. Nothing wrong with that.

The point here is that fine art has nothing to communicate, except the "look at me, because i am sonething to look at" thing mentioned earlier.
Not even "look at my grandma, i love her to bits", or "look at the pain and desperation, don't you hate war", etc.
Nothing. Just "look at me! I'm pretty, so you must look at me!".