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01/12/2008 10:59:55 PM · #26
This is a great topic! I've actually been struggling with this one for awhile now - the difference between photography as art and photography as business. I don't think I understand why the 'art' stuff is exempt from guidelines regarding composition and what I consider 'technical competency' (focus, exposure, etc). I was looking at a couple winning photographs at a few magazines I look at and they looked like little more than snapshots to me. Yet I've been at exhibits where the photographs were both powerful emotionally and beautifully executed.

I suspect that whether or not one is an 'artist' has more to do with marketing than anything else, really.

All that to say that I just don't get it and I'd really like to. I was rejected recently from the photography school at the U and I can't decide if it's because I'm not competent enough technically or if it's because I don't present as 'artistic' enough.
01/12/2008 11:04:06 PM · #27
Originally posted by EducatedSavage:

I was rejected recently from the photography school at the U and I can't decide if it's because I'm not competent enough technically or if it's because I don't present as 'artistic' enough.

I'm guessing that, unbeknownst to you, you cut the Dean off in traffic. I could be wrong, but I just thought I'd throw you a less self-esteem damaging theory. :)
01/12/2008 11:09:08 PM · #28
Art, you're not mad that he is saying your photography is a joke?
01/12/2008 11:09:18 PM · #29
Originally posted by EducatedSavage:

This is a great topic! I've actually been struggling with this one for awhile now - the difference between photography as art and photography as business. I don't think I understand why the 'art' stuff is exempt from guidelines regarding composition and what I consider 'technical competency' (focus, exposure, etc). I was looking at a couple winning photographs at a few magazines I look at and they looked like little more than snapshots to me. Yet I've been at exhibits where the photographs were both powerful emotionally and beautifully executed.

I suspect that whether or not one is an 'artist' has more to do with marketing than anything else, really.

All that to say that I just don't get it and I'd really like to. I was rejected recently from the photography school at the U and I can't decide if it's because I'm not competent enough technically or if it's because I don't present as 'artistic' enough.


I know someone who got in, and graduated from an srts university, and I'm not really impressed still.

I was also snubbed at a local photography competition by professors from one of the local colleges, so I'm not really impressed with them either ;)

My guess would be that the have too many people applying, and you just happened to get the short straw... not that that really helps I guess.
01/12/2008 11:20:40 PM · #30
Originally posted by Art Roflmao:

I'm guessing that, unbeknownst to you, you cut the Dean off in traffic. I could be wrong, but I just thought I'd throw you a less self-esteem damaging theory. :)


Haha! Thanks, Art! I'll have you know I'm an incredibly polite driver. :D And I never cut people off - I just swerve at them until they let me over....

But still, the difference between 'technically competent', 'commercial', 'fine art' and 'artistic' seem to be pretty blurry all around. Being on the outside looking in, it seems not to make any sense at all!
01/13/2008 01:37:35 AM · #31
All art is the same way like that.

In a Baltimore art museum, I saw a piece called "Light Yellow Chromium Plank." It was just a yellow metal plank leaning against a wall.

As far as photography goes I think there's a distinction between "art" and "fine art." Look in Black and White magazine to see some truly good photographs.
01/13/2008 06:18:26 AM · #32
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

most of the time (especially in digital) it boils down to a lazy or bad photographer.


*flinches* The amount of time I spend on my B&W conversions...

Ultimately I suppose I have a live and let live attitude towards art in general, be it photography or music or whatever. Mozart's operas send me into raptures but I can walk past some of the art world's greatest masterpieces without thinking anything more than 'ooh, that's quite nice'. There are always going to be different attitudes to art, and that's one of the most fascinating things about it.

I feel that DPC has really opened my eyes and sent my photography in an exciting direction. My opinion on the whole thing? Most great photography is well-executed, but little well-executed photography is great. God, that's almost philosophical. ;)

Message edited by author 2008-01-13 06:42:49.
01/13/2008 08:15:30 AM · #33
Originally posted by dsray:

It sounds to me as though your definition of photography needs to be widened. DPC is a great sameness generator; if you stick around long enough, everyone will produce the same photographs. All the great ones can be identified by their individuality, not conformity.


I think this is true if you stick around anywhere for too long!
R
01/13/2008 09:06:44 AM · #34
Originally posted by posthumous:

Thank you for introducing me to Frank Madler! I just Googled him and found some great pictures.

Art giggles at the people who giggle at Art.


Frank Madler

:)

01/13/2008 03:17:04 PM · #35
Originally posted by EducatedSavage:

But still, the difference between 'technically competent', 'commercial', 'fine art' and 'artistic' seem to be pretty blurry all around. Being on the outside looking in, it seems not to make any sense at all!

I'm with you on that, but I gave up trying to figure it out. Did you ever see the episode of Seinfeld where a rich, older couple were debating the merits of the "Kramer" portrait? They ended up paying $5k for it. That's a case of art imitating life imitating art. ...I think. :)

Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

Art, you're not mad that he is saying your photography is a joke?

I'd be mad if people didn't think my photography was a joke!
01/13/2008 03:47:21 PM · #36
This is one of the reasons I don't cast that many votes here on DPC. I don't feel that I am qualified enough to vote on many of the topics. Judging art is so much more then I like it or I don't. People spend years learning about different types of art and all the history that goes into it. It's not bad because "you" don't understand it. I've seen 'art" shots here on DPC that I feel should have won but ended up in 90th position. Just my opinion.
01/13/2008 04:17:01 PM · #37
Originally posted by figaro:

Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

most of the time (especially in digital) it boils down to a lazy or bad photographer.


*flinches* The amount of time I spend on my B&W conversions...



Hey, if you're not hitting the desat button, I'm happy :-D
01/14/2008 12:02:03 PM · #38
My (uninformed, uninspired, and untalented) two cents -

Photography, by itself, is not an art, it's a craft. Proper exposure, lighting, even composition have a technical grounding that can be taught, learned, and imitated with relative ease. Now that cameras are so sophisticated much of the technical craft of photography can be imitated by persons who have very little knowledge of the technical aspects (and this was true even before digital, although even more so now).

What elevates photography to art is not perfect technicals, post-processing techniques (also primarily a craft), or equipment choice (here I'm thinking of much of the "lomographic" stuff), but rather the translation of an artistic intent to an artistically interpretable image - you must not only intend to create art, but succeed in convincing others (your audience) that you have created art. When we talk about photographers having a "good eye," this is, I believe, what we are getting at. These people, through the final image, help us see the world in different ways.

Perhaps you can luck into "art" every now and then even if you don't have a good grasp of the technicals - give someone with a naturally artistic eye a point and shoot and then just sit back and enjoy (or brood in jealousy, like me ;). But the people who consistently produce photographic art almost always have a strong grasp of the technical, craft side of the medium. They know how to make the camera produce what they "see" with their artistic eye. Just like any other craftsman - the one who knows how to do everything perfect, but then makes the intentional "mistake" creates art.

For what it's worth, I like to think of myself as still in the journeyman stage of the craft. I'm learning the technicals, I know enough to imitate some of those that I admire, and am striving to improve my base of technical skill. I like to take pictures. I don't consider myself an artist.

All that said - the "fine art" world is often it's own self-parody. A marvelous afternoon of entertainment is to go to the local modern art museum and read the descriptions of the works written, more often than not, by the curators and MFA grads that run the place, and done with little, if any, input from the artists themselves. I have a couple artist friends who have had work placed and can tell you that they often find the descriptions of their work just as amusing and baffling as us "regular joes."
01/14/2008 12:31:52 PM · #39
Getting back to the original artist mentioned in this thread 'Frank Madler' - even accepting different tastes in art/style/taste etc - I stand in awe of anyone that can put this shot up for sale Frank Madler and am even more in awe of anyone that can get paid for it :- )

01/14/2008 12:43:00 PM · #40
Most people on this thread are talking about examples of bad art and using that to put down all art. It's called the "straw man" technique.

I think most of you have got it backwards. It's the commercial aesthetic of DPC that is based on a bunch of arbitrary, elitist standards that exist for their own sake. Art attempts to remove arbitrary standards and to reach someone directly.

The problem is that standards get ingrained. It can even be argued that standards are necessary for communication. Therefore, Art is in a tricky situation. It might even be said that appreciation of Art consists of appreciating how hard the artist tried to do the impossible, or how close s/he came, or enjoying how s/he was able to convince you that s/he succeeded.
01/14/2008 12:56:26 PM · #41
Originally posted by Jedusi:

Getting back to the original artist mentioned in this thread 'Frank Madler' - even accepting different tastes in art/style/taste etc - I stand in awe of anyone that can put this shot up for sale Frank Madler and am even more in awe of anyone that can get paid for it :- )


I actually find there is a lot to enjoy in that one simple photo.
01/14/2008 12:59:10 PM · #42
Originally posted by shutterpuppy:

My (uninformed, uninspired, and untalented) two cents -

Photography, by itself, is not an art, it's a craft. Proper exposure, lighting, even composition have a technical grounding that can be taught, learned, and imitated with relative ease. Now that cameras are so sophisticated much of the technical craft of photography can be imitated by persons who have very little knowledge of the technical aspects (and this was true even before digital, although even more so now).

What elevates photography to art is not perfect technicals, post-processing techniques (also primarily a craft), or equipment choice (here I'm thinking of much of the "lomographic" stuff), but rather the translation of an artistic intent to an artistically interpretable image - you must not only intend to create art, but succeed in convincing others (your audience) that you have created art. When we talk about photographers having a "good eye," this is, I believe, what we are getting at. These people, through the final image, help us see the world in different ways.

Perhaps you can luck into "art" every now and then even if you don't have a good grasp of the technicals - give someone with a naturally artistic eye a point and shoot and then just sit back and enjoy (or brood in jealousy, like me ;). But the people who consistently produce photographic art almost always have a strong grasp of the technical, craft side of the medium. They know how to make the camera produce what they "see" with their artistic eye. Just like any other craftsman - the one who knows how to do everything perfect, but then makes the intentional "mistake" creates art.

For what it's worth, I like to think of myself as still in the journeyman stage of the craft. I'm learning the technicals, I know enough to imitate some of those that I admire, and am striving to improve my base of technical skill. I like to take pictures. I don't consider myself an artist.

All that said - the "fine art" world is often it's own self-parody. A marvelous afternoon of entertainment is to go to the local modern art museum and read the descriptions of the works written, more often than not, by the curators and MFA grads that run the place, and done with little, if any, input from the artists themselves. I have a couple artist friends who have had work placed and can tell you that they often find the descriptions of their work just as amusing and baffling as us "regular joes."


Intent, in the context, would imply the presence of a rather large ego authoring the work, consistent with a baroque understanding of art cultivating nature and the artist as demigod, master and sage. Primitive, classical and contemporary epochs view all and everything as subject and object of nature, a more humble attitude, respectful from an inclusive stance cognizant of the source and place of all things in a world leaving less and less room for pomp and personal ambitions.

An artist's intent, here, should be of little consequence other than getting in the way of muses, of inspiration and the making of art. Such design, it appears, is open to human participation only when the conditions for it, whatever they may be, have been met.

Message edited by author 2008-01-14 13:01:17.
01/14/2008 01:16:49 PM · #43
Originally posted by zeuszen:

Intent, in the context, would imply the presence of a rather large ego authoring the work, consistent with a baroque understanding of art cultivating nature and the artist as demigod, master and sage. Primitive, classical and contemporary epochs view all and everything as subject and object of nature, a more humble attitude, respectful from an inclusive stance cognizant of the source and place of all things in a world leaving less and less room for pomp and personal ambitions.

An artist's intent, here, should be of little consequence other than getting in the way of muses, of inspiration and the making of art. Such design, it appears, is open to human participation only when the conditions for it, whatever they may be, have been met.


Pretentious bollocks! ;)

Seriously though, can you say this in English for us riff raff? If I understood what you were saying, I might even agree.

Without intent - if only just the intent to create "something" - how can there be any art? Nature is not art, no matter how pretty, horrid, or spectacular.
01/14/2008 01:35:57 PM · #44
I guess my biggest issue comes from my previous art classes, which always focused primarily on classic paintings, though there were some more modern works included as well. There was a lot of emphasis there on colors and color harmony, composition, leading the eye of the viewer and all sorts of other things as well.

What I've seen in my experience of some 'art' photography is that none of these things apply and neither do the 'technical' aspects or 'craft' side as one put earlier.

While I rather like the Frank Madler picture linked above, I've seen many exhibits that seemed full of family snapshots and it wasn't until I read the very long story in very small print on the wall that I was able to understand what I was supposed to see. And this may only be an issue for me because I've always been taught that you shouldn't have to explain an image.

Blech. This is one of those issues I've dealt with, personally, for a long time... for the meantime, I've decided that I just don't get 'art' nor do I get 'artists.'
01/14/2008 01:44:25 PM · #45
Originally posted by EducatedSavage:

And this may only be an issue for me because I've always been taught that you shouldn't have to explain an image.


This seems to be a pretty common assumption - but it is just that - an assumption or starting point. It could be totally invalid. It is just one way to consider looking at art, or images - that they are only good if you can understand it just by looking at it. But there is so much implied meaning, cultural understanding or assumed symbolism that unless you are culturally very similar to the artist, then you'll miss a lot without explanation. The test of this I suppose would be if you thought the images were better or worse after reading the text on the wall, or understanding the context. Does the art as a whole comprise the image and description, or just the image ?

Religious art would be a good place to start for examples. Thousands upon thousands of works of art depicting scenes from the bible. They make more sense within that larger context.

Message edited by author 2008-01-14 14:12:35.
01/14/2008 02:18:34 PM · #46
Art is subjective (Let's start with that).

In MY opinion, you can't break the rules until you've learned them.

I can't appreciate a peice of art until I know what the inspiration was, and who the artist is. Art NEEDS context.

I'll never forget the day that my friend's father (A working musician) came into the room while my friend was listening to music. The father remarked 'What is this trash you're listening to? The music nowadays is all noise.. This guy can't play to save his life'. The artist? Jimi Hendrix.

In my opinion, that is why a lot of the photographs that score the highest in the DPC are similar.. By judging anonymously and without context, all we have left is to judge mostly on technical merits. And this isn't a bad thing; I am here to learn the technical aspects of photography.. The art is for my wall.

A blurry picture of a boat would NEVER ribbon here (Well, maybe a brown one), but how about a blurry picture of a boat that was taken by ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Judi or ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/17203.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/17203.gif', '/') + 1) . ' scalvert?
01/14/2008 02:28:51 PM · #47
I think the question you need to ask yourself is what kind of photography are you trying to do. Great photography or art? While the two can mix they are still different.

I have seen some really great photo art over the years that wouldn't win anything in a photography contest. At the same time I have seen great photography that wouldn't win in an art contest. I don't think it's easy to get a 10 score when you're trying to do both at the same time.

I agree with an earlier post. Much of what we see here is very commercial. It would seem after looking around for a while that the photos that could be classified as art seem to score lower here.

I've looked at a lot of photographer profiles and have seen some very talented photographers. Their portfolios are amazing. The only thing missing is a ribbon. I've had to take a step back from time to time to wonder why that is. I guess we all know what we like. We vote based on what "We" see and like. Sometimes what "We" see isn't what others see. Since this is a photography site, I would tend to think that the overall opinions are based on photography and not art.
01/14/2008 02:30:59 PM · #48
art is in the eye of the beholder. if it speaks to me i'd buy it.

i'd buy
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30000-34999/33535/120/583441.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30000-34999/33535/120/583441.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' and many others in my favs.

Message edited by author 2008-01-14 14:38:04.
01/14/2008 03:02:51 PM · #49
Originally posted by goodman:

art is in the eye of the beholder. if it speaks to me i'd buy it.
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30000-34999/33535/120/583441.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30000-34999/33535/120/583441.jpg', '/') + 1) . '


...b-b-but the horizons not straight...y-y-you can't even see her face and h-her skirt is blown out. Grain!!! A little dark and NOT sharp at all.

What a fiasco. I wish I could say it was mine.

The OP had me miffed. I'm glad to read some great responses.

I haven't seen the collection's in question, so it's difficult to judge the OPers response but the thread title speaks volumes.

Les-I'm gonna let you pick all my faves from now on.

Message edited by author 2008-01-14 16:03:34.
01/14/2008 03:03:16 PM · #50
Originally posted by shutterpuppy:

Originally posted by zeuszen:

Intent, in the context, would imply the presence of a rather large ego authoring the work, consistent with a baroque understanding of art cultivating nature and the artist as demigod, master and sage. Primitive, classical and contemporary epochs view all and everything as subject and object of nature, a more humble attitude, respectful from an inclusive stance cognizant of the source and place of all things in a world leaving less and less room for pomp and personal ambitions.

An artist's intent, here, should be of little consequence other than getting in the way of muses, of inspiration and the making of art. Such design, it appears, is open to human participation only when the conditions for it, whatever they may be, have been met.


... can you say this in English for us riff raff? If I understood what you were saying, I might even agree.

Without intent - if only just the intent to create "something" - how can there be any art? Nature is not art, no matter how pretty, horrid, or spectacular.


Nature is not art. Intent has something to do with someone's personal desire rather than with a purpose he may have stumbled upon (which would relate to something outside and beyond his own ego).

Nature is to what an artist owes his meagre existence. When he recognizes this, his work, too, will come from nature. He will no longer be able to claim it solely as his own, although he can do so in a small way, since he himself is also an object of nature. His work will come from and with reverence, as an acknowledgement of its presence and role in the creative process. His artistic engagement is participatory, not aloof and manipulative. His social function is akin to that of a hypersensitive "sensor" or antenna.

The baroque stance, in comparison, is an arrogance. It views nature as a wilderness, man civilizes. The artist thus cultivates the field intent on planting his own image in lieu of the native trees. His social function becomes akin to that of a demigod and oracle.

((Any fundamental change in stance, of course, changes content. The aristocratic stance tends to produce predictable subjects. Form and content are distinct entities with the latter being poured into the former.
The democratic stance (or whatever you want to call it) erases this distinction: form is content. And content simply evolves.))

Message edited by author 2008-01-14 16:52:42.
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