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Art Theory: Idea workshop. Warning, not the truth here, just a venture. Examining what makes an image worthy of saving and what it does for us.

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  #1  
Old August 11th, 2012, 12:42 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default What level or kind of craft is necessary for a photograph to be Art"?

This is an interesting topic that came up here and merits its own thread.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Shanesy View Post
Ansel Adams said: "There can be craft without art, but there can be no art without craft." I've seen many prints of photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson and most of them are awful prints. Sublime compositions, poor to no craftsmanship. Since he didn't do his own printing and therefore never mastered his craft, to me he was not an artist. He was a master photographic illustrator.
Jim,

A "master photographic illustrator"? Perhaps that underestimates the creative art in designing a photograph in one's mind and then capturing that on film. One should get credit for that as art don't you think? "Photographic illustrator" would not quite cover that. The great photograph is there in the negative much more than David was in the uncut stone to be revealed as "David" by Michelangelo's craft of "simply removing the excess stone"! One can already enjoy an image, albeit in the inverse, just holding it up to a window. With a transparency destined for cibachrome, the picture is already there. Surely that is fully formed art at that point?



wikimedia commons: Michaelangelo's David

With the David being hidden in the uncut block of stone that arrived at Michelangelo's workshop, no other artist could have made that sculpture appear, as it was only a form in the mind of its one creator. The same with Bresson. so this does take most of the creative deed and accomplishment of photography to the very moment of tripping the shutter, for that is when of all the possible ideas for the composition, one is chosen and that is often the time of maximal creativity.

You seem even as much of a purist than Maris Rusis! He too demands we know how to print our own work. Maybe it's better to print with an inkjet at home than sending it away for a silver gelatin print at a lab. At least with the preparation of the negative for print with custom scanning and all the adjustments needed for making a print file, one has put the image through one's own craft to make the print.

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; August 12th, 2012 at 07:16 PM.
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  #2  
Old August 12th, 2012, 11:53 AM
Jim Shanesy Jim Shanesy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Perhaps that underestimates the creative art in designing a photograph in one's mind and then capturing that on film. One should get credit for that as art don't you think?
No, I don't. I agree with Adams: there can be no art without craft.

If Michaelangelo hadn't possessed what is arguably the greatest skill as a sculptor in the history of art, he might not have envisioned how to liberate David from the block of marble he had to work with. Could any less of a craftsman have pulled it off?

BTW, who is Maris Rusis?
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Old August 12th, 2012, 05:38 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Shanesy View Post
No, I don't. I agree with Adams: there can be no art without craft.
Jim,

Let's look at another set of efforts that might be performed in the months before a photography shoot.
  • Sketches
  • Choosing the lighting and reflectors
  • Collecting fabric of particular color, texture and social implication,
  • Getting objects that will contrast or be in harmony with the model being photographed
  • Finding a way to perch 12 feet above the composition and compose pictures
  • Arrange all the elements of the composition with the model poses

After one takes a picture, be it with a transparency film or with digital, the image is essentially made. While one can make changes, they might not be at all necessary before printing.

So is all that work, (before the shutter is ever released), not craft?

Asher


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Shanesy View Post
If Michaelangelo hadn't possessed what is arguably the greatest skill as a sculptor in the history of art, he might not have envisioned how to liberate David from the block of marble he had to work with. Could any less of a craftsman have pulled it off?
Great argument!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Shanesy View Post
Who is Maris Rusis?
Look here He's a fine classic photographer using film and doing all the processing himself.

Asher
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  #4  
Old August 12th, 2012, 08:44 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is online now
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The result of any photography is art.

Generating any art requires craft.

The result of all craft is art.

There is good, and mediocre, and bad art.

There is good, and mediocre, and bad craft.

Best regards,

Doug
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Old August 12th, 2012, 09:33 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Doug Kerr View Post
The result of any photography is art.
Doug,

That would seem to mean that there is nothing that distinguishes one sight the camera might have to another as far as being, at a minimum, in a category of things we appreciate as "Art". Surely, we have to bring in human factors of intent or experience folk have in reaction to the work such as emotive or cognitive responses?

Asher
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  #6  
Old August 12th, 2012, 10:32 PM
Maris Rusis Maris Rusis is offline
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I'm with Jim Shanesy and Ansel Adams. Truly, there is no art without craft.

Craft, as I see it, is a general term referring to the artist's control of the process of getting an idea out of their own mind and into the mind of their audience. Photographers do this by making pictures of such and such a form so as to influence the perceptions of a receptive viewer in the desired direction. If the influence goes to plan the art is successful. But craft takes many forms and sometimes it is not as it is first perceived.

Henri Cartier-Bresson is often credited with spectacularly prescient camera-work but that wasn't really his shtick. I believe he was an arch organiser of resources and a self publicist without limit, conscience, or shame. But it takes real obsession to relentlessly chase grotesque or sensational subject matter. It is no mean thing to expose a thousand negatives a day and have people rush you the contacts sheets on demand and then often throw them all away. Successfully badgering skilled darkroom workers to turn assorted negatives into elegant masperpieces requires the personal ferocity Cartier-Bresson was never afraid of exploiting. I see H.C-B as a psychopath with a camera but a genius all the same.

The legend of Michelangelo as a singular creative genius is fiction largely perpetrated by Giorgio Vasari, the ultimate art groupie. Michelangelo was the pinnacle of a busy arts industry and had plenty of willing assistants to rough-out the blocks of marble prior to his finishing touches. And he ended up famous, irascible, influential, and immensely rich. Again the craft here is an amalgam of genuine personal skill, self publicity, and the will to command artistic production.

As modern exemplars of "grand craft" I could nominate Robert Mapplethorpe, Annie Leibovitz, Jeff Koons, and Tracey Moffatt. If you hire the best sets, lights, models, designers, studio help, laboratory staff, promoters, and publicists you too can become a famous photographer and fine questions about who actually did what become irrelevant. Who gets the credit, that's what's relevant.

Ever the contrarian I decided to embrace a different form of craft when I committed to photography. My mantra is: Each of my photograph is made out of light-sensitive materials, one at a time, start to finish, and in full, by my own hand. Mantras have consequences and mine may well be anonymity. But it is worth it. I want the same sort of personal creative thrills that Jim Shanesy writes about, that Ansel Adams recounted in numerous articles, that moved Edward Weston to supreme achievement.

Working in solitude, doing everything, can be lonely but when things go well it is a very sweet place indeed.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 12:53 AM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Does it really matter? If someone photographs an apple for a supermarket display or a hang nail for a medical record or a wounded soldier for a newspaper or a child for its mother or a corpse for a pathologist or a fingerprint for the CIA or a flower or landscape or ......is any of this remotely related to what is is called in terms of its art or craft? Irrespective of whether the photographer enjoys the process, the mechanics, the print or the kudos, it's the image that is the end product and it is the content of that image that is what we should be referring to. Even if the content describes a concept or structure or place or person, it is the content that is the thing. Those who need to call it art or craft or a piece of paper surely are missing the point. These are all arbitrarily defined. The photograph is a physical entity, separate to the object photographed. It stands alone as something we look at, perceive and conceive. Whether we do it as art, craft or the wrappings from our fish and chips might influence what we perceive but it does not alter the photograph.

We can quote Adams or Arbus until the cows come home but each had their own perspective, neither of which altered the photograph one little bit. It only alters what we think about the photograph. Tomorrow we might think differently, who knows.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 06:15 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is online now
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Hi, Asher,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
That would seem to mean that there is nothing that distinguishes one sight the camera might have to another as far as being, at a minimum, in a category of things we appreciate as "Art".
Yes, I think there is no minimum threshold for what constitutes "art".

A problem with this discussion (every time we have it) is the matter of "and if we knew whether this print was 'art', what would we know?" Does it mean that we could enter it in a certain competition at the State Fair?

It is interesting to note that at one time the image master used to produce the pattern of traces on a printed circuit board was known as "the art master". These were (in general) made with no expectation of evoking any emotional response from a human observer.

Yet on the other hand, they were often very beautiful, in a graphic-ęsthetic way. But that's not why they got that name. It's because they were the work of an "artist".

Now we may see a twisted dead tree and have a serious ęsthetic response. Is that art? Maybe not. Is the Grand Canyon of the Colorado art? Maybe not. Is a plain flat rock we pick up at the roadside, because it is just the right size to complete a pattern on the edge of our barbecue pit, "art". Or did it become art when we set it on the barbecue pit?

So, is a marble statue of a rat art? What if it is a terrible statue? Is it then "not art", or just "terrible art"? What about the image of a baseball player on a cereal box? What if he frames the same image to hang on the wall? What about a layout of a tomato can for a can manufacturer? What if a guy named Warhol did it?

Is the very clever computer source language code that prevents a music notation program from sending out MIDI message sequences that could confuse the receiving instrument "art"? And what if it is bungled, and doesn't really accomplish that?

And finally, in my patents, there is usually a discussion of the "prior art" - what inventors that came before me had done to attack the same need. So if my invention will be, in six months, "prior art", is it now "current art"?

Now it is all well and good to dismiss these examples as other meanings of the word. But that may be the last recourse of a defeated arguer. It is as if I said, in a discussion of a contract controversy, "You incorrectly spoke of a limit on the number of batteries; in fact the specification puts a limit on the number of cells", and the other guy says, "Aw, Kerr, that is only semantics."

And that brings us full circle: what meaning of the word "art" do we wish to adopt when speaking of photography? And what will we have if and when we can do that?

Boy, those PC board art masters were sure pretty!

In any case, I have to get back to straightening out the bungled code in that notation program. Perhaps today I will even commit some art. I certainly hope so.

Best regards,

Doug
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Old August 13th, 2012, 06:54 AM
Sam Hames Sam Hames is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
I'm with Jim Shanesy and Ansel Adams. Truly, there is no art without craft.

Craft, as I see it, is a general term referring to the artist's control of the process of getting an idea out of their own mind and into the mind of their audience. Photographers do this by making pictures of such and such a form so as to influence the perceptions of a receptive viewer in the desired direction. If the influence goes to plan the art is successful. But craft takes many forms and sometimes it is not as it is first perceived.

...

I see H.C-B as a psychopath with a camera but a genius all the same.

...

Ever the contrarian I decided to embrace a different form of craft when I committed to photography. My mantra is: Each of my photograph is made out of light-sensitive materials, one at a time, start to finish, and in full, by my own hand. Mantras have consequences and mine may well be anonymity. But it is worth it. I want the same sort of personal creative thrills that Jim Shanesy writes about, that Ansel Adams recounted in numerous articles, that moved Edward Weston to supreme achievement.
...
I say this tongue in cheek - but if H.C-B is a psychopath with a camera would you be a masochist with a camera (and a darkroom)?

Seriously it's nice to hear your thoughts, really makes my own thoughts stand out in relief.

One persons craft is another persons distraction. An outsourced print from a digital file sounds about right where whatever it is I'm doing sits. Could I improve my craft? Possibly, at the expense of my art.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 09:56 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Kerr View Post
Hi, Asher,


Yes, I think there is no minimum threshold for what constitutes "art".
Doug,

We want to discuss the role of craft in the making of photographs we'd consider to rise above most other photographs and be treated as "art". Any photograph might evoke esthetic experience for some viewer and in that case it has value to that individual as personal art. Still, for art we discuss here, it must be able to enter the market of ideas and rise sufficiently to get valued enough that someone would want it. So there's indeed some threshold for art that works beyond one individual. This is what we will assume in this thread.

For the sake of discussion here, "Art" refers to the kind of physical forms we find in museums, concert halls and galleries, where society invests its resources to allow the public to enjoy the esthetic experiences evoked by the physicality of a created work exported, (and made material and transportable) by the efforts and will of a uniquely creative person.

For art in this discussion we are not concerned with "arts" as in "the art of medicine" or "the art of diplomacy", where arts refer to skills.

Art here only refers to objects or performance which evokes human emotions and reactions for it's esthetic value and not it's function as a tool. So a machine gun might be viewed as a tool and also it might be experienced as work of art if it was not at that moment an imminent danger to those in its range. Generally speaking, Duchamp's urinals notwithstanding, art objects need no function other than to be observed and experienced not for function per se but for the pattern, form, shape of some physical dimension. So a sine wave might be considered art if it was presented in such a way as to evoke responses that people valued and wanted to save. This would require no understanding of the mathematics of the form. Still, as time passes, a secondary overlay of enjoyment might also come from the cognitive processes in associating the wonderful mathematic behind it.

We can approach understanding such art as being defined by two parts of a continuum arc. In the first a person imagines some presentation of an object and hen exports that into a form that can be experienced and enjoyed for its esthetic value. When the delivered work has evoked the sentiments imagined, the art is born.

If it works for us too, we also experience reactions that make the art valuable enough to
  1. revisit it,
  2. tell others about it
  3. preserve it for posterity
  4. possess it
and that movement creates a value for the work in monetary terms unrelated to any other function the work might have. The most valued of these works are saved in museums, collected by enthusiasts who are willing to pay a price for owning such things.

Simply put, making art involves exporting creative forms of physicality that can be experienced by others for their ability to evoke emotions and even move people to think new ideas. I see no requirement for any craft in this, except to be sufficient to export ideas in physical form such that the object works its magic on people. If the experience is so valuable that people want to conserve the work for future generations, then likely it is art. Fashion can muddle this process, but in the end, the collected art does represent what moved people at that time in our history.

All comments in this thread should assume, just for the purpose of discussion here, that a photograph considered to be art only for it's ability to move us emotionally and even spark new ideas or ways at looking at ourselves and the world around us.

A picture might also be brilliantly crafted, (showing prowess in working with digital tools or with chemical solutions), but that, in itself, (while being admirable), does not qualify a picture to be seriously respected as "art". In the converse situation, the idea presented crudely with little skill, is less to be more valued above competing works which are made with amazing craftsmanship. However, each work would have to be judged on its own according to its uniqueness, character and ability to recruit a following.

Asher
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  #11  
Old August 13th, 2012, 10:25 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post

....Art here only refers to objects or performance which evokes human emotions and reactions for it's esthetic value and not it's function as a tool.

......
Asher
Are you serious? I have images of people dead in wars..guts spilled on the ground.

Most, maybe not all, have an emotional response to such sights.

Is that ' ART ' ? Dead sharks in sterile ( or unsterile ) solutions some consider as ' Art '.

I consider it repugnant. An emotional response, yes. So it must be ' ART ' by some definition.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 10:37 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fahim mohammed View Post
Are you serious? I have images of people dead in wars..guts spilled on the ground.

Most, maybe not all, have an emotional response to such sights.

Is that ' ART ' ? Dead sharks in sterile ( or unsterile ) solutions some consider as ' Art '.

I consider it repugnant. An emotional response, yes. So it must be ' ART ' by some definition.
Fahim,

So, my friend, you erupted instantly to my work! That's good.

Are war photographs art? Are pictures of beggars art?

That's up to you, isn't it? It might depend on the context and what you surround that picture with. Repugnance is a valid emotion. However you might not want to put it in a place for entertaining your family every day. Still, there's value in keeping the works as evidence so we do not repeat the same behaviors. Art does not have to be about beauty. However, if one would make a museum of disgusting matters, people wouldn't visit the place just to ruin their day. Folk need to be prepared by the museum curator so that such photographs could be used in educating us, but never not to celebrate human misery. So the context of presentation should be serious and must not degrade the folk depicted.

Asher
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  #13  
Old August 13th, 2012, 11:22 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Fahim,

So, my friend, you erupted instantly to my work! That's good.

Are war photographs art? Are pictures of beggars art?

That's up to you, isn't it? It might depend on the context and what you surround that picture with. Repugnance is a valid emotion. However you might not want to put it in a place for entertaining your family every day. Still, there's value in keeping the works as evidence so we do not repeat the same behaviors. Art does not have to be about beauty. However, if one would make a museum of disgusting matters, people wouldn't visit the place just to ruin their day. Folk need to be prepared by the museum curator so that such photographs could be used in educating us, but never not to celebrate human misery. So the context of presentation should be serious and must not degrade the folk depicted.

Asher
No Asher,not ' erupted ' but had to be respond to. And not to your work, but your definition.

In the quoted post above e.g " That's up to you, isn't it?" Now we are getting nearer to a definition.
Not me alone, but to millions others who also consider what I generally consider to be ' ART '.

Not some segments, driven by marketing muscle and financial power, that force on us that something
is ' ART ' and if the ' peasants ' cannot understand it to be such, it must be that their brains/minds are
still in the process of evolution. Or that nature and nurture passed them by.

I do not subscribe to photographing beggars or workers because they are unfortunate. But to bring a context to the whole issue in a certain society or certain period of time. Same with workers..Salgado's
work " Workers " is a case in point.

My definition of 'ART'. Something which appeals to me. For whatever reason. Not because someone else has called it " ART ". " David ", for example, appeals to me even though I do not approve of statutes or
such sculpted works, for its beautiful and masterful craftsmanship.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 11:41 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fahim mohammed View Post
No Asher,not ' erupted ' but had to be respond to. And not to your work, but your definition.

In the quoted post above e.g " That's up to you, isn't it?" Now we are getting nearer to a definition.
Not me alone, but to millions others who also consider what I generally consider to be ' ART '.

Not some segments, driven by marketing muscle and financial power, that force on us that something
is ' ART ' and if the ' peasants ' cannot understand it to be such, it must be that their brains/minds are
still in the process of evolution. Or that nature and nurture passed them by.

I do not subscribe to photographing beggars or workers because they are unfortunate. But to bring a context to the whole issue in a certain society or certain period of time. Same with workers..Salgado's
work " Workers " is a case in point.

My definition of 'ART'. Something which appeals to me. For whatever reason. Not because someone else has called it " ART ". " David ", for example, appeals to me even though I do not approve of statutes or
such sculpted works, for its beautiful and masterful craftsmanship.
I only require that the artist is moved as the birth of the art and then for it to spread, someone else to pick it up and be moved too.

But is craft in post processing a sheet of film or a digital file needed to make the ensuing photographs art? If you expend that effort and skill into the design of the image, before releasing the shutter and you make a transparency, is not that art? So strict ideas that photography to be art needs craft after the exposure is made, might be overstated.

Asher
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  #15  
Old August 13th, 2012, 12:23 PM
George Holroyd George Holroyd is offline
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It's art if I say it is, everything else is (pseudo-)intellectual masturbation.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 12:45 PM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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For me Art is what I say is ART. Yes.
Millions of others also consider the same works as ART. Irrespective of cultural differences.

The other works? I guess they are just works. For me specifically.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 01:52 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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I have some difficulties with the definition of Art as being presented.
Art is subject of trends and currents.
Art has a cultural dimension - although some aspects are commonly seen as Art, there are so many aspects that depend on cultural context. Some of it may be perceived as Art within a different cultural context, but not necessarily understood.
Art has market value and is a commercial good. The creation (and even production) of Art is necessary for the Artist to earn a living. The market value depends on the current trend(s), prices may rise or fall.

The definition of Art is undergoing changes and depends on cultural context and we are trying to find an universal definition of what is Art and what is not?
That is a heck of a project (Vaste projet!)!

Craftmanship is easier to grasp. A high level of craftmanship can be perceived as Art, but is it Art?
There are photographers who are very good in capturing moments, situations or in the studio, name the field, but not performing good in post-processing, handing out the pictures to specialists with instructions on post-processing. Are both Artists? Is it a collaborative work? Your definition!

For photography, I like this simple definition:
A good capture is the base for a good picture. You can enhance it with good post-processing and it can even stand bad post-processing up to some point without losing its impact.
A bad capture cannot be turned into a good one by post-processing.

Best regards,
Michael
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Old August 13th, 2012, 02:11 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Holroyd View Post
It's art if I say it is, everything else is (pseudo-)intellectual masturbation.
So, George,

If you don't like a price of work in a national gallery, its intellectual masturbation?
This might seem good, it has some thrust to it, I admit, but like the end of that act you refer to, your definition really gets the community no further in any position to tackles the role of craft in photographic art.

To deal with the notion that "HLB' work is not valid art", (because he had usually no hand in the printing and exhaled 1000 shots a day to the technicians), raises a point. Should craftsmanship be taken into account? Same with Annie Leibowitz who's retouch artist's like [url=http://www.silhouettestudio.com/]Alex Verhave[url] contribute mightily for the end result. From my point of you, one art is something that moves us and we value enough to safeguard it from loss. The lack of personal skills by the one with the ideas does not take away from that reality. We want to protest, we can say picture conceived by A. Leibowitz, artwork crafted by A. Verhave, for example. We do that in movies, declare a director and then list all the talent who crafted it together to realize that vision.

When I have a picture in my hand by Maris Rusis, I not only enjoy looking at it and showing it to anyone that visits, but in addition feel proud to have a work that was conceived and executed by one mind and set of skilled hands. It has a special value to me knowing how much of Maris' being went into the picture to make it exactly what he wished. A similar image from an art printing house would not mean the same to me and likely as not would be distinguishable side by side.

Asher
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  #19  
Old August 13th, 2012, 02:42 PM
Mark Hampton Mark Hampton is offline
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What level or kind of craft is necessary for a photograph to be Art?

context is enough.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 02:48 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default The Role of context in Defining a Photograph as ART!

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Originally Posted by Mark Hampton View Post
What level or kind of craft is necessary for a photograph to be Art?

context is enough.

Mark,

Can you explain that?

Are you, perhaps, saying that finding the picture on a wall in your home or some gallery would provide sufficient context for the work to be deemed art. So no particular level of craft would be needed. I have no fundamental objection to that. Simply being there on the wall, displayed for all to see, would be obvious evidence that someone found this to be worthy of displaying. Of course, they could be the only person on the planet that felt that way and then the picture would have no commercial value. Or do you mean something else?

Yes it would be art. But to be art "worthy of collection" is technique and craftsmanship really important? Are the curators then all wrong in what the acquire for us to like?

Asher
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  #21  
Old August 13th, 2012, 03:11 PM
Mark Hampton Mark Hampton is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Mark,

Can you explain that?

Are you, perhaps, saying that finding the picture on a wall in your home or some gallery would provide sufficient context for the work to be deemed art. So no particular level of craft would be needed. I have no fundamental objection to that. Simply being there on the wall, displayed for all to see, would be obvious evidence that someone found this to be worthy of displaying. Of course, they could be the only person on the planet that felt that way and then the picture would have no commercial value. Or do you mean something else?

Yes it would be art. But to be art worthy of collection is technique and craftsmanship really important? Are the curators then all wrong in what the acquire for us to like?

Asher
asher - it doesn't have to be on a wall - it has to be read - thats it.

that is the context of art - it is in someones head. the reader really does make the work anew.

that is the power of context and derivatives - for me.

cheers
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  #22  
Old August 13th, 2012, 03:39 PM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Originally Posted by Mark Hampton View Post
asher - it doesn't have to be on a wall - it has to be read - thats it.

that is the context of art - it is in someones head. the reader really does make the work anew.

that is the power of context and derivatives - for me.
I agree with Mark. Visual Art (as is beauty) is in the eye of the beholder. It just needs to be seen, and the venue can add or subtract from the experience.

Cheers,
Bart
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  #23  
Old August 13th, 2012, 04:00 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
I agree with Mark. Visual Art (as is beauty) is in the eye of the beholder. It just needs to be seen, and the venue can add or subtract from the experience.

Cheers,
Bart
Bart,

So craft by the artist him/herself has no bearing then? As long as the person experiencing the art likes it, it's art! I agree! This simple approach to discovering what art might be in our culture, does not set a high standard. Standards are set by the healthy competition for our attention. In this rather dishonest soup of ideas and fashion, marketers and respected curators can turn up the heat to make a picture valuable by simply declaring it to be so. Then it will be subject to argument and the test of time.

So what about the craft of real photographers working with their pictures with great thought and skill to produce a superb picture on their own? Well, we'll always treasure such work. These are special as work of individuals. There's a sense of some purity in their work ........................ for the rest of us, there's Mastercard and an inkjet or else a commercial lab that will print for us that we'll never give credit to!

Asher
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  #24  
Old August 13th, 2012, 05:16 PM
George Holroyd George Holroyd is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
So, George,

If you don't like a price of work in a national gallery, its intellectual masturbation?
This might seem good, it has some thrust to it, I admit, but like the end of that act you refer to, your definition really gets the community no further in any position to tackles the role of craft in photographic art.

To deal with the notion that "HLB' work is not valid art", (because he had usually no hand in the printing and exhaled 1000 shots a day to the technicians), raises a point. Should craftsmanship be taken into account? Same with Annie Leibowitz who's retouch artist's like [url=http://www.silhouettestudio.com/]Alex Verhave[url] contribute mightily for the end result. From my point of you, one art is something that moves us and we value enough to safeguard it from loss. The lack of personal skills by the one with the ideas does not take away from that reality. We want to protest, we can say picture conceived by A. Leibowitz, artwork crafted by A. Verhave, for example. We do that in movies, declare a director and then list all the talent who crafted it together to realize that vision.

When I have a picture in my hand by Maris Rusis, I not only enjoy looking at it and showing it to anyone that visits, but in addition feel proud to have a work that was conceived and executed by one mind and set of skilled hands. It has a special value to me knowing how much of Maris' being went into the picture to make it exactly what he wished. A similar image from an art printing house would not mean the same to me and likely as not would be distinguishable side by side.

Asher
No, twisting yourselves in circles to try and define what makes something art is masturbation. Don't get me wrong, it's mildly entertaining, but you will get no further toward arriving at a definition than anyone before you.
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  #25  
Old August 13th, 2012, 05:37 PM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Bart,

So craft by the artist him/herself has no bearing then?
When it helps to get the message/intent across, craft helps.

Cheers,
Bart
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  #26  
Old August 13th, 2012, 05:45 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by George Holroyd View Post
No, twisting yourselves in circles to try and define what makes something art is masturbation. Don't get me wrong, it's mildly entertaining, but you will get no further toward arriving at a definition than anyone before you.
George,

Not quite true. What I do is provide a platform for new work. Get one idea clarified properly and then one can go on to the next. There's no mystery today for me as to what art is. I'm just entertaining other views and trying to find out whether there are flaws in my own philosophy and so far, there are no new ones this year, beyond the concept that some art is made merely to provide a playground for the visitors own musing.

I'm extremely practical in my posing of questions. It's done to help us all fill in gaps or answer inconsistencies. I, for one, am helped considerably when guys like Doug, Sam, Michael, Jim, Tom, Maris, Mark or Bart add their own opinions. This is not trivial to me or just some thinking exercise. I use the feedback. My own ideas then guide my photography, painting and sculpture. So it's all worthwhile for me. I hope you might also find some of it of practical use too. If one is going to spend considerable resources making photographic art, it's could be of value to know how it might work on other people.

I simply benefit by having a notion of what I want my art to do for myself and then for others.

Asher
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  #27  
Old August 14th, 2012, 12:10 AM
Mark Hampton Mark Hampton is offline
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
When it helps to get the message/intent across, craft helps.

Cheers,
Bart
this is the point for me i guess as well - the craft can form part of the reading and inform the understanding that the reader takes from a work.

it is neither good / bad or even needed -it is just a layer that can be considered when looking at work.

when i look at robert franks work i view it in a context that doesn't included a craft base - although in his earlier work it could be argued that his work has less tolerance for error that his LF work undertaken later.

i dont care if he prints what he has made - it is more than enough that it exists in one form or another.

on wanking - it is a part of a healthy life - those that dont indulge are often grim faced and evil.

none wankers G W Bush - Tony Blair - David Cameron - Putan - Stalin - all KKK Members

cheers
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  #28  
Old August 14th, 2012, 10:32 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
Does it really matter? If someone photographs an apple for a supermarket display or a hang nail for a medical record or a wounded soldier for a newspaper or a child for its mother or a corpse for a pathologist or a fingerprint for the CIA or a flower or landscape or ......is any of this remotely related to what is is called in terms of its art or craft? Irrespective of whether the photographer enjoys the process, the mechanics, the print or the kudos, it's the image that is the end product and it is the content of that image that is what we should be referring to. Even if the content describes a concept or structure or place or person, it is the content that is the thing. Those who need to call it art or craft or a piece of paper surely are missing the point. These are all arbitrarily defined. The photograph is a physical entity, separate to the object photographed. It stands alone as something we look at, perceive and conceive. Whether we do it as art, craft or the wrappings from our fish and chips might influence what we perceive but it does not alter the photograph.

We can quote Adams or Arbus until the cows come home but each had their own perspective, neither of which altered the photograph one little bit. It only alters what we think about the photograph. Tomorrow we might think differently, who knows.
Tom,

I like your approach. A photograph is just that. However we can still be in awe of great skill. But in the end it's just a photograph. From that point, does it move us? Do we think it's worth conserving?

Let me also add the obvious but overlooked fact: that appreciation of ART is culturally dependent. That's even more important in photography where icons like A. Adams have become the equivalent of Moses and Joshua of the bible or Lenin for communism.

Asher
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  #29  
Old August 14th, 2012, 10:48 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Let me extend the idea of cultural dependance. We might be expect universal reactions to scenes such as a beautiful field, children in school, a mother and child and the like. Those are common to all societies, but many Muslim artists, don't make human forms. So this must influence how photographs from Western societies are viewed and read in vast part of the world with Muslim belief.

The styles seen in European/Western museums and art collections are not even stable! They are constantly buffeted and swayed by changing and evolving fashions and movements of art appreciation and development. Existing art inspires new work and new artists rebel against the norms of those that came before as well as feeding off their ideas, even in a contrary way. Understanding this can make even an art student get a migraine headache! So it's good to return, every so often to a simple overall human perspective. Art must move us and the best we want to save for future generations. This must apply to our photography we want to be considered as ART to be valued, used and even bought by others.

Recognizing these cultural and epoch difference in appreciation, our base definitions for ART as phenomena in human societies must be culturally and epoch-neutral. If the artist is satisfied that the work expresses his/her intent, then the work is art. If others in that society get the experience they hope for, it works as Art. That's the simple arc of intent and appreciation from the mind of the artist to the mind of those who experience the work later on. All the rest is detail, thrill at something new, nostalgia, pride, style, fashion, exclusivity, delusion and conceit

Asher
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  #30  
Old August 14th, 2012, 11:02 AM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Let me also add the obvious but overlooked fact: that appreciation of ART is culturally dependent. That's even more important in photography where icons like A. Adams have become the equivalent of Moses and Joshua of the bible or Lenin for communism.
Asher,

no need to add the cultural dependency to the discussion, it was already mentioned here.

Adams has a high status in the history of photography, he was very good in landscape and portrait, still, I do not see the same eye as Doisneau for street scenes...

Best regards,
Michael
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