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Fine Art Photography Debate

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  • #46
    Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

    If you were a curator, would you buy them?

    Going back to something said earlier, it's true that amateurs are free to pursue their creative visions without being tethered by financial concerns, but they also don't get to spend week after week, year after year hammering away at their art full-time. You simply can't be as good an artist as you can be if you only ever spend a few hours each weekend working on it, in the same way that you can't be a good musician if this is the amount of practice you do, or a decent novelist if the only time you write is during your lunch hour.

    One of the reasons why art from professional artists costs so much is because they take time to make.

    This caught my eye in the papers this morning:
    http://arts.guardian.co.uk/art/news/...258101,00.html

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    • #47
      Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

      I recall Einstein bashing out some theory in his lunch hour while he was a patent clerk.

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      • #48
        Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

        Science is easier :-)

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        • #49
          Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

          Originally posted by Hiding_Pup View Post
          If you were a curator, would you buy them?...
          If I was a curator, I would visit this forum and post the question I asked previously.

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          • #50
            Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

            Originally posted by Photocracy View Post
            Is this photographer a fine artist? He uses the label.

            http://www.dungenessgallery.co.uk/default.asp



            Are his subjects secondary to his vision with the former being merely vehicles for artistic expression?
            Hi Rob,

            His photographs are very competent, but even in my state of confusion as to what constitutes fine art I would have to say these examples don't fit that category. And no, his subjects aren't secondary to his vision, in fact the images are very subject orientated with little evidence of artistic expression or vision - to the extent that some pictures are, IMO, little more than record shots.

            That's not meant to devalue his work, much of which I like very much, much more than I like many pictures that are classed as fine art. Just because an image is not fine art doesn't, for me, undervalue it in any way. If I did take that view I would effectively write off as worthless every photograph I have taken in more than 30 years!

            Zuiko
            John

            "A hundredth of a second here, a hundredth of a second there � even if you put them end to end, they still only add up to one, two, perhaps three seconds, snatched from eternity." ~ Robert Doisneau

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            • #51
              Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

              Thanks Zuiko,

              I agree with your analyses. It's certainly the excellent and enjoyable work of a skilled photographer, but I also find the vision to be a little elusive.

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              • #52
                Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

                I agree too - but I don't think anyone here is pushing a choice between fine art or subject-driven record photography, Zuiko. There is, surely, room enough in the world for both. The latter makes travel books more interesting, provides material for guinea pig calendars, postcards, tourism brochures, advertisements, food packaging - and that's the list I get just by looking around the room I'm currently sitting in. It also makes family photo albums and snapshots of friends, which are invaluable and often irreplaceable (not that photos of family can't be art too - Sally Mann is a perfect case in point).

                So surely there's enough room in the world for both fine art photographs and photographs by skilled photographers, and even photographs by not-so-skilled photographers: the real question is whether there's enough room in forums like this one for a little fine art too, a little sustained vision that goes beyond the subjects photographed, into the hearts and minds of the photographers themselves, delves back into the humanity's past and looks forward, through a glass darkly, into the future.

                It's an ambitious undertaking to be sure but, on the other hand, we've got some of the best photographic equipment that's ever been created. Besides, it's hardly like we're Canikon drones, right?

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                • #53
                  Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

                  Originally posted by Hiding_Pup View Post
                  I agree too - but I don't think anyone here is pushing a choice between fine art or subject-driven record photography, Zuiko. There is, surely, room enough in the world for both. The latter makes travel books more interesting, provides material for guinea pig calendars, postcards, tourism brochures, advertisements, food packaging - and that's the list I get just by looking around the room I'm currently sitting in. It also makes family photo albums and snapshots of friends, which are invaluable and often irreplaceable (not that photos of family can't be art too - Sally Mann is a perfect case in point).

                  So surely there's enough room in the world for both fine art photographs and photographs by skilled photographers, and even photographs by not-so-skilled photographers: the real question is whether there's enough room in forums like this one for a little fine art too, a little sustained vision that goes beyond the subjects photographed, into the hearts and minds of the photographers themselves, delves back into the humanity's past and looks forward, through a glass darkly, into the future.

                  It's an ambitious undertaking to be sure but, on the other hand, we've got some of the best photographic equipment that's ever been created. Besides, it's hardly like we're Canikon drones, right?

                  Ah, I didn't mean to imply there is any conflict between fine art and subject-driven photography, I was merely commenting on the examples that Rob brought to attention that I do not believe could be classified as fine art, for the same reasons as my snowdrop picture earlier in the thread. Sure, I had to make a conscious decision as to how I was going to photograph that snowdrop, but the image is still very much subject driven.

                  In fact, I don't believe I've ever taken a photograph that could be classed as art, fine or otherwise. Except, perhaps, this one?


                  Why do I think this may be different?

                  Well, for some time I'd visualised an image that suggested wind-blown leaves swirling around a tree by photographing leaves floating on moving water, past the reflection of a tree, using a slow shutter speed to create blurring of the moving elements. The picture would then be inverted. I tried a number of times on film, without much success due to the unpredictability of the results. Digital gave me the freedom of instant review so that I could ensure I'd got the effect I desired and when I chanced upon this pond I new immediately that it was perfect for the image I wanted to create. In this sense the subject is very much of secondary importance, acting mainly as a vehicle for my vision and as such I believe this image may be considered as art, be it good or bad.

                  Fine Art? Well, that's another matter and in essence what this thread is all about helping us to discover.

                  Of course, you may choose to disagree and pick my reasoning to pieces, but that's what healthy discussion on this forum is all about!

                  Zuiko
                  Last edited by Zuiko; 21st February 2008, 03:19 AM. Reason: spelling
                  John

                  "A hundredth of a second here, a hundredth of a second there � even if you put them end to end, they still only add up to one, two, perhaps three seconds, snatched from eternity." ~ Robert Doisneau

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                  • #54
                    Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

                    Yes, this one's very different. I absolutely love it: it's striking, and original, and daringly uncompromising. Is there a bigger version you can share? I'd love to see it bigger.

                    I was reading an interview with David Bailey earlier this evening. It seemed pertinent to this discussion, particularly as the interview was conducted during the E-3 launch in London which some people here went to. "I don't care how you make an image, it's whether you're any good or not. Whether you're an artist or not. Most photographers just take pictures," he says, "most artists are just illustrators. But it's about finding that thing that you can't explain. I've never been that impressed with technique because if you can do it, someone else can do it. But you can't copy, say, Cartier Bresson - he's witch doctor. Miserable old bugger but he was a ******* genius..."

                    With this in mind, I'd definitely put 'Movement' in the witchcraft-art category.

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                    • #55
                      Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

                      Originally posted by Hiding_Pup View Post
                      Yes, this one's very different. I absolutely love it: it's striking, and original, and daringly uncompromising. Is there a bigger version you can share? I'd love to see it bigger.

                      I was reading an interview with David Bailey earlier this evening. It seemed pertinent to this discussion, particularly as the interview was conducted during the E-3 launch in London which some people here went to. "I don't care how you make an image, it's whether you're any good or not. Whether you're an artist or not. Most photographers just take pictures," he says, "most artists are just illustrators. But it's about finding that thing that you can't explain. I've never been that impressed with technique because if you can do it, someone else can do it. But you can't copy, say, Cartier Bresson - he's witch doctor. Miserable old bugger but he was a ******* genius..."

                      With this in mind, I'd definitely put 'Movement' in the witchcraft-art category.

                      Wow, that's praise indeed - I wasn't quite expecting that! Thank you.

                      Here's a bigger version (hopefully)

                      John

                      "A hundredth of a second here, a hundredth of a second there � even if you put them end to end, they still only add up to one, two, perhaps three seconds, snatched from eternity." ~ Robert Doisneau

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

                        I agree here - super super photograph - a class above the norm

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                        • #57
                          Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

                          A night's sleep and it's still insanely good. You sure this is the only picture you have in this league, Zuiko?

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                          • #58
                            Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

                            Yes, I agree too - excellent. I like it. I think you've ticked nearly all the boxes.

                            What about presentation and audience? Do you think you could sell it?

                            There might be an oportunity here for us to try a practical experiment - produce what we think is a fine art photograph and try and pass it off as such. That is get someone to buy it as a piece of fine art.

                            Any takers?

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                            • #59
                              Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

                              Originally posted by Xpres View Post
                              Yes, I agree too - excellent. I like it. I think you've ticked nearly all the boxes.

                              What about presentation and audience? Do you think you could sell it?

                              There might be an oportunity here for us to try a practical experiment - produce what we think is a fine art photograph and try and pass it off as such. That is get someone to buy it as a piece of fine art.

                              Any takers?
                              A nice idea but the problem is would the person who bought it know what fine art photography is. You could just as easily take a subject driven photograph call it fine art photography and sell it as such. It's like the Dungeness Gallery photos, they are being sold as fine art photographs but from the posts most of us, myself included, don't think they are.

                              As for my photography it tends to be subject driven, mainly mountain landscapes, and while I think I have some nice images I wouldn't call them art let alone fine art. I hasten to add that doesn't mean that they don't have value but that value is derived from the composition of a naturally beautiful scene and not from any artistic message. I do make images which I call art, not too pretentiously I hope, but they involve little or no photography. They can be found at www.iancotterill.com

                              Ian C.

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                              • #60
                                Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

                                My personal view on this would be that a 'fine art photograph' would have been taken by a techniquely sound photographer who has chosen to ingore the rule book that they have studied, just as in the rest of the fine art world.
                                E500 - E600 - E620 - HLD5 x2 - 17.5-45mm - 14-42mm - 14-45mm - Sigma 30mm f1.4 - 25mm f2.8 - 40-150mmMI (3.5) - Sirius 60-300mm f4-5.6 - Chinon 55mm f1.4 - Chinon 200mm f3.5 - FL50 - FL36 - Raynox DCR2020PRO

                                http://www.flickr.com/photos/photonutter/

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