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  #31  
Old July 19th, 2009, 12:01 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rene F Granaada View Post
Most of Maris' criteria are not too strict, however the last part of his defenition "a specific medium on a specific substrate eg gelatin-silver photograph on fibre/baryta base" can in my view be a basis for discussion. Can an inkjet print, however sophisticated, qualify? With proper framing I think it can. Would a print like that need to be restored in let's say 200 years? Who knows, quite a few classic paintings of great masters have qualified for restoration, which work was subsequently caried out by professionals. Maybe we will see specialists in the future that are masters in restoration not of gelatin-silver photographs but of digital prints as produced today on professional photo printers.
Hi René,

Great to hear from you. I empathize with the value in respecting technically outstanding processes, including perfect gelatin based prints. I'd have trouble, however, in agreeing to a specification of 200 years durability for "Fine Art" designation, LOL! Fine art simply has to rise above other work in esthetics and community value so that it's collected. One could say, I only want to collect work that will last 200 years and that's "fine".

Part of the longevity issue, in my opinion, relates to my own suspicion that art, (together with its other purposes), has something to do with immortality. The Pharaoh's tried that and once their caves were opened, all the painting started to fall apart!

Asher
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  #32  
Old July 21st, 2009, 01:20 AM
Maris Rusis Maris Rusis is offline
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I think a photograph becomes fine art in time.

In the beginning it starts off as either being technically well done or badly done. That quality can be seen by just looking. The "art" part needs aesthetic expression as a motive for making of the photograph. And that aesthetic expression has to be successfully executed. Many photographers are not good judges of their own work. Some are sincere, some are earnest, some are mistaken, and a fair measure of wishful thinking attends the activities of many artists, not just photographers. There are as well outright poseurs, some famous, who are credited as a successful artist but better deserve the sobriquet of successful impostor.

So, what is the sieve separating good from bad? I think it is the winnowing effect of history. Fine art photographs accumulate and retain a concensus of repeated, favourable, learned opinion over time. Lesser works do not. And fads, crazes, and beat-ups, get shaken out too.

Necessarily photographs need to be of stable appearance over time to give history room to work in their favour. An "archival" quality also affirms the photographer's confidence in their own work. The use of valuable materials, finely wrought, conscientiously processed, and elegantly presented announces at least a presumption of excellence.

Informal viewing accepts pictures as just pictures and the niceties of "what medium" on "what substrate" belong to art scholars and collectors intending to spend their own hard-earned cash. Photographs are a peculiar sub-set of all pictures and have one decisive quality that separates them from everything else. A photograph is a surface bearing picture forming marks as a consequence of being penetrated by light. Everything made by Louis Daguerre, Ansel Adams, and Diane Arbus, (and millions of their contemporaries) has this extraordinary quality but most pictures do not.

Ordinary folks will point to a picture in, say, National Geographic magazine, and say "photograph" but maybe they should say "four colour web offset print". If they knew or cared they might. Others may encounter an ink-jet print and say "photograph" but I assure you no light is needed to make ink-jets. My ink-jet printer works just fine in the absolute blackness of my darkroom.

And it is a pervasive error in modern critical thought to suppose a photograph is any picture that includes "light hitting a sensor" or a "sensor capturing an image" somewhere in its chain of manufacture. All pictures, whatever the medium, paintings and drawings included, have the sensor/image interaction deep in their engine room.
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  #33  
Old July 21st, 2009, 01:30 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
......Informal viewing accepts pictures as just pictures and the niceties of "what medium" on "what substrate" belong to art scholars and collectors intending to spend their own hard-earned cash. Photographs are a peculiar sub-set of all pictures and have one decisive quality that separates them from everything else. A photograph is a surface bearing picture forming marks as a consequence of being penetrated by light. Everything made by Louis Daguerre, Ansel Adams, and Diane Arbus, (and millions of their contemporaries) has this extraordinary quality but most pictures do not.
Interesting line of thought and I can agree with you in the spirit of what you've stated Maris but I think that when one is so much into defining things, exceptions and more exceptions start to surface. For example, according to your definition above, my CRT monitor's front surface is a photograph or the text documents coming out of my laserjet printer (which forms an image by using laser light projected on the drum). So while I enjoy playing around with such ideas, I very much think that an inkjet print of a photograph is still a photograph and not just a collection of tiny ink dots on paper.

Cheers,
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  #34  
Old July 21st, 2009, 02:36 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Maris,

Your writing on what makes a print a photograph is a valuable challenge and addresses our need to question how we promote prints made without use of a light sensitive substrate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
I think a photograph becomes fine art in time.
This, Maris is consistent with my ideas and your now justify durability to survive the critical process of selection as history unfolds its view.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
A photograph is a surface bearing picture forming marks as a consequence of being penetrated by light. Everything made by Louis Daguerre, Ansel Adams, and Diane Arbus, (and millions of their contemporaries) has this extraordinary quality but most pictures do not.
Given the wide variety of substrates, photosensitive chemicals, fixation and presentation, photographs made without silicon chips, vary amongst themselves so much. Such extreme variation is not seen between a glossy color photograph produced in the wet darkroom on an Epson pigment print on fine glossy paper. The eye, at normal viewing distances cannot distinguish the difference in many cases. So the evidence of penetration is hardly discernible in the process of enjoying the picture, however the glossy fine gallery image is made. A photography curator, of course might recognize the tell-tale richness in saturation of green, for example and say this is an Epson print, but that hardly segregates the simple print from a from a purist's "fine art" photograph. To me what's important is honesty. A Cynaotype should be labeled as such but not something off an HP printer toned to look like the Cyanotype crafted print. I really don't know how people come to use with "Chromogenic Print" out of context. It should apply just to papers which had in it 3 layers of chemicals for the colors. However, it's also used for inkjet prints since it uses colored dyes or pigments. So there does seem to be some obfuscation, where gallery artists and their promoters try to make it appear that the picture is made other than by a computer device and without "writing with light" to make the print. Prints that are stamped out, each uniform, are something hard to reconcile with an artists pulsating imagination and last minute changes. I myself value a work more if it had the artist's fingerprints on it and each print was not in fact identical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
And it is a pervasive error in modern critical thought to suppose a photograph is any picture that includes "light hitting a sensor" or a "sensor capturing an image" somewhere in its chain of manufacture. All pictures, whatever the medium, paintings and drawings included, have the sensor/image interaction deep in their engine room.
As long as the image is stored as a result of a photon interaction with a specific chemical and throwing off an electron who's numbers cause an accumulation of density proportional to the flux of light, to me the latent image so recorded is a latent photograph.

In fact, if we wished, we could coat the sensor with silver gelatin after the fact and devise a system to have the electrons released forward rather then taken away by the AD convertors at the rear of the photocells. We just happen not to do it that way.

Still we can reassemble all those photon intensities and send the light back with a laser beam to film or paper and process the old-fashioned way by hand or in a machine. In each of these cases, I believe, a genuine photograph is made. It can be labelled "Silver Gelatin Print", for that's what it is!

Where the photographer uses a digital camera and crafts the potential print on the computer screen with classic sensitivity and craft, then when outstanding and individually made, even as an Epson print, these should be recognized as genuine photography and even fine art, but labeled as "8 pigment print on Baryta", something honest and not "Chromogenic Print" or some other disguise.

Asher
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  #35  
Old July 24th, 2009, 01:43 AM
Maris Rusis Maris Rusis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cem_Usakligil View Post
Interesting line of thought and I can agree with you in the spirit of what you've stated Maris but I think that when one is so much into defining things, exceptions and more exceptions start to surface. For example, according to your definition above, my CRT monitor's front surface is a photograph or the text documents coming out of my laserjet printer (which forms an image by using laser light projected on the drum). So while I enjoy playing around with such ideas, I very much think that an inkjet print of a photograph is still a photograph and not just a collection of tiny ink dots on paper.

Cheers,
Exceptions and more exceptions are a challenge that can be met only by a robust intellectual framework. And I think there has to be an acceptance that the world of photography is a lot smaller than the total world of all pictures made by any means whatsoever.

The concept that a photograph is a surface bearing marks because it was penetrated by light instantly excludes a CRT image consisting of phosphors glowing because they are struck by electrons. Electrons are not light. Unless the CRT screen is struck very hard by electrons, a phenomenon called "burn in", no marks eventuate either.

The documents that come out of a laserjet printer are prints (not photographs) that bear toner marks because toner was transferred electrostatically (and fused thermally), no light involved, from a selenium drum. The toner image on the charged selenium drum before transfer is a rarely seen but true photograph because the drum was struck by light, laser light that is, and it carries marks made of toner. This mysterious photograph that exists for a few moments in a laserjet printer can be seen if the printer is switched off at the right instant and then disassembled. I have done this and can confirm the photograph really is there. I can also confirm that laserjet toner is a powerful mark making medium. Toner spills are very very messy.

As for inkjet prints, a friend of mine pointed out if photography is "writing with light" and inkjet is "writing with ink" then what on earth is "writing with light with ink"? No more than an amphigory I should think.
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  #36  
Old July 24th, 2009, 02:27 AM
Maris Rusis Maris Rusis is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Still we can reassemble all those photon intensities and send the light back with a laser beam to film or paper and process the old-fashioned way by hand or in a machine. In each of these cases, I believe, a genuine photograph is made. It can be labelled "Silver Gelatin Print", for that's what it is!
Asher
Asher, you are completely correct that machines that write with laser beams onto light sensitive surfaces generate photographs. A colleague of mine uses a film writer to generate separation negatives for his large scale dye-transfer prints. He tells me that those negatives are photographs as are the imbibition matrices that he exposes in contact with them. But he is adamant that the dye-transfer prints that roll off the matrices are not photographs. They are prints; admittedly very premium ones. Dye-transfers can be made in the dark.

The designation "Silver Gelatin Print" is very common but it is flawed. Technically, aesthetically, and emotionally the thing is a "Silver Gelatin Photograph". It is no compliment to a photograph to be called a print.

This thread has moved a long way from where it started so I may as well offer a forceful conjecture. All pictures, from the Leonardo's "Mona Lisa" to Ed Weston's "Pepper#30", count as their very first step the event of light hitting a sensor. The sensor may be the retina of Leonardo's eye or a piece of 8x10 film or, in modern times, a CMOS device. But a sensor is a sensor.

One exception aside, the sensor is always a transducer. It has an input and an output. The input is light, photons if you like, and the output is a stream of pulsed electrical signals. In the case of Leonardo's eye the output is frequency modulated millivolts and the CMOS device delivers digitally coded millivolts. Output is output.

The big exception is photography. It is the only case where the sensor is not a transducer. There is input, light of course, but there is no output. The sensor itself is changed and remains as the picture. No other picture making process works like this. No exceptions.
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  #37  
Old July 24th, 2009, 03:08 AM
charlotte thompson charlotte thompson is offline
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There's no definition for essence but ink will help you understand-



Charlotte
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  #38  
Old August 30th, 2015, 08:15 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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I would like to bring back this fascinating discussion for your consideration!

Asher
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  #39  
Old August 30th, 2015, 09:29 PM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Really?
All the discussion in the world will make no difference to the bank of knowledge that can be sprouted to justify an opinion on the matter.
Call me when God has written it in stone. Then, and only then will I take note.
The same goes for any discussion on the value of the dollar, the psychology of women, childbirth and the value of goldfish as pets, any of which makes no difference to what we do.

Cheers
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  #40  
Old August 30th, 2015, 09:39 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Tom,

Your dissent is truly noted!

Asher
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  #41  
Old August 31st, 2015, 10:04 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Asher,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
I would like to bring back this fascinating discussion for your consideration!
Thanks for the invitation, but my ten-foot pole has been put away for the summer.

I scanned the thread to see if I could discern just what was the scope of "this fascinating discussion", as we cannot assume it to be confined to the subject posed by the originator.

I see that the palaver weaves through that age-old burning question of mankind. "what is fine art?". You may recall that I once said that the only clear meaning of the term is that it often appeared as the sign on a university building. But is is often fascinating to probe just what sort of activities are housed in such a building.

I have a curious case of that to report. In Alamogordo, New Mexico, our community college is actually a satellite of New Mexico State University. Its modest campus includes what is designated on campus maps as the Fine Arts Building, more completely known as the Rohovec Fine Arts Center. This building comprises solely a rather nice 400-seat theater. Period.

Indeed art is performed there. And it is often quite fine. And many of the performers are quite fine.

By the way, the Theater Department is part of the Professional Occupations, Technologies, and Fine Arts Division, whose headquarters is in what is now called the Pro-Tech Building (formerly, "Technical Education"). And one of its buildings is the Campbell Art Center - painting, photography, and such.

That's all really fine.

Best regards,

Doug
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  #42  
Old August 31st, 2015, 01:07 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Thanks, Doug!

As usual you tell the truth about "Fine Arts" as a catch-all for some College department-naming practice in the USA, so we need to refocus!

So, we won't meander any further through contentious definitions of "Art", Fine Art", "Photograph" or contemplate some folks since of futility of even considering these matters. So this thread has run its course! Instead we will set up parameters to constrain discussion to a useful purpose for those of us who would like to sell our work for considerably more than material costs.

To this end, a new, clearly focused and delimited thread can be found here for those who might be very interested in getting their best work to an Art Gallery.

Asher
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