Photography As Art Forum

This forum is for artists who use a camera to express themselves. If your primary concern is meaning and symbolism in photography, then you've come to the right place. Please respect other community members and their opinions when discussing the meaning of "art" or meaning in images. If you'd like to discuss one of your photos, please upload it to the photo gallery, and include a link to that gallery page in your post. Moderators: Irakly Shanidze, Megan, Asylum Steve
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  1. #26
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    An old argument. The point, for historical accuracy, where photography became an art form (in my opinion) was when a French photographer inadverdantly exposed a negative accidentaly and finished developing it anyway. He was reviled and attacked as being Satanic. He was the first person in the history of human artstic expression to deliver a black sun. It was a turning point, to say the least. Death had arrived and demanded an audience. There was outrage, it was blasphemy...the Frenchman did escape with his life, but his career was sacrificed. He made a mistake, embraced it, refused to apoligize, and paid for it with his reputation. Science and art are closely related in this regard.

  2. #27
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    Very interesting thread,
    Being a tattoo artist myself, i understand the many terms of art, the word art is to descibe a picture, or any tangible item that has had some form of change to represent a different view.
    Now there is what we call high class art, as mentioned from the old master's, there are only a handfull of people in the world today who can be respectully called master's ie painting with water colour's and oil's.

    High class art also show's in metal and wood objects created to a degree where it is art, ie the term "thats art".

    Why do so many use the phrase "the art of photography is ect ect ect" because there is an art to photography especially when a certain look and light use is required for an overhaul result, its an art in getting that picture right.

    When i do a tattoo for someone and customise it and make it a one off, its art, and what i do in general as a tatttoo (artist) is art, when a photographer is going to take a shot of a certain person or building he must compose the shot and have settings right for that shot and the light, the art is in getting this right, thus he produces an excellent shot through his knowledge and artfullness, if there was no art in photography nobody would be struggling with it and asking all the questions they do.

    To create something pretty, ugly, disturbing, that sends a message using anything available is art in its own right.
    And knowing photography and how to use settings and achieve what your after must be an art.

    Even actors can be viewed as an artist, the art of acting.

    Art is another word also for skill.

    happy photo shooting
    Blu

  3. #28
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lava Lamp
    Art is a presentation that evokes an emotional response.

    I guess this comment is art, as it evokes an emotional response from me.

    A photo of feces would evoke an emotional response from me, but I wouldn't call the image "art". Likewise a photo of a crucifix in a glass of urine, a photo of a man with a bullwhip in his ?!##?. A child throwing a fit at the grocery store would be "art" by your definition. Watching a replay of the planes flying into the World Trade Centers is somehow "art". An actress making an a$$ of themselves at the Grammys is "art". Your definition is much too broad for me. But, to each his own.

  4. #29
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    Quote Originally Posted by apolog
    But, to each his own.
    That is also a critical piece of the art equation.

    Mapplethorpe's self-portrait with the whip in his butt is an interesting one. If it was the only photo he'd ever taken it wouldn't be art. If the quality was terrible, it wouldn't be art. But his technical ability combined with the shocking nature of the content makes that photo art. At least I think it does. People don't notice the content at first. The tonal quality, lighting, and composition are so good they draw you in. And then you notice the content. Mapplethorpe's ability to play that trick on the viewer is powerful. And it pulls in people from different cultures and then challenges their view of the world.

    Mapplethorpe also made a lot of other beautiful, rich, black-and-white images that most anyone would appreciate. That alone gives him license to make some challenging work, too. And this demonstrates how important context is for art. Sometimes, an image on its own can't have the same kind of meaning that an image does within a cultural context, a larger body of work, or even a historical context.
    Photo-John


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  5. #30
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    Photography as a word, sould be spelled corectly, Photography as a practice, is wide open to interpretation.
    To reply to Peter AUS, Fist of all, the"old Masters" did have other means and technique avalable, but using them could cost them their lives or their freedom, One was not aloud to push the Statis Quo and live, there were, in effect, rules. For example, you do not like the white on white work you refered to, it does not fit into your idea of art, it does not conform to your rules..
    Scondly,Today we still have "Masters", (some of them are old some not), AND photography, People today are now free to use many more techniques and mediums but some still choose to paint in the syle of the "Old Masters", we have not Lost that quality or level of work by any means. Some choose to work with new ideas and or techniques, they are no less artists than the "Masters". Some of the "Masters" of today do work you do not like or apreaciate but that does not keep them from being Masters. I, for example have many ill views and opinions on some art in general, but I will not share them with you because that is MY problem, NOT the Artist's.
    In my opinion, it is far less important why you don't like something, than why you do. If one does not like something, MOVE ALONG, we don't need to hear about your displeasure, that helps no one. But if you like something, hang out, soak it up, share the joy, it may not be well received, but it hurts no one. The positive thaught can heal. I've got to remember that myself.
    As for the Critique forum, I would like to see more "I feel" or "maybe you could try", than "you should"or "its too", what is "should" anyways, just another limited point of view to keep people in "line". Photography is a wonderful medium full of expresion and potetial, lets not limit ourselves to the "perfect picture". Life does not unfold perfectly, why should our creativity. Free your mind and great photos will follow.

  6. #31
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    I take a hard line on photography ... Photography isn't Art.

    Photography is one of the techniques of Art and that is all it is.

    A photograph can be a work of Art. A photographer can be an artist. What more needs to be said? ... tips from an old hand?

    If a photographer's work fits into a missing piece in the jig-saw called World Art or the History of Art ... good luck to them, they will be immortalized. Obviously they have worked hard at perfecting their craft.

    If we look back at the history of photographic Art, those who have pushed photography to new boundaries and changed the techniques of photography, are now immortal. In the early days of the craft, changes happened repeatedly. When we view the work of those artists now, their work can seem naive and banal. It almost seems silly by today's standards. I think (particulary) of Laszlo Maholy-Nagy. There is not one of us here who has not benefited from his explorations ... and there is not one of us here who is not more sophisticated than him as a current day photographer. Ansel Adams' techniques can be duplicated by anyone with a sound knowledge of sensitometry and densitometry.

    Knowing what we know of photography and the techniques of photography, for us to move the mediun forward, so that other might look back on us as artists by today's standards, is a huge ask.

    Are you an Artist? ... the Art lies is in your heart and it benefits from your hard work, your understanding of the medium and continual exploration.

    As a photographic artist collected by my Nation's Gallery ... apart from the decades of sustained hard work that I know I've done, and the tens of thousands of photographs that I've stressed over, and the boxes of rubbish that I've accumulated ... the only skill that I have is luck. I'm lucky, there is luck in big numbers, I shoot heaps, that is my bit of the jig-saw called art. Work hard and you'll improve your luck. Somewhere down the track, someone else rather than me, can work out what work of mine is considered Art.

    It helps greatly to know the (complete) history of art, not just the history of photographic art. Once you know what is missing from World Art ... fill that gap. All too easy then.

    A photograph as art isn't a well crafted amazing photo ... a photograph as art is an artifact that no one else has produced. I take plenty of adequate images, but they are not art. My thoughts on the artifact, makes my photographs art.

    If you are a young photographic artist, ask to open an archival box in the Library of your Nation or State's Gallery ... get in early, talk to the Head Librarian. Don't tell the Gallery that you are a student, tell the Librarian that you are a practicing artist and you would like to start a library collection. If you are a student, just an under grad, you will not be granted 'Reader' status in many places. Practicing artists are granted 'Reader' status. I've been around the traps a bit. It might be decades before you fill the box.

    Put what ever you want in the archival box, but it isn't about putting pretty pictures in the box ... it is about putting your thoughts in and your concerns as an artist and then put in the odd photograph. Every now and again a curator will look in the box to see how you are going, when you submit work or an exhibition catalogue or a review. They will see who you are influencing (most important) and they'll look at what writings and documents you have added.

    Then your photography becomes art.

    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 05-31-2008 at 04:43 PM.

  7. #32
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    Art is a snapshot sold for a lot of money

    Or, art is a presentation that evokes an inner self awareness in the viewer (mirrors don't count), which is why some consider an Elvis on Velvet to be art, some don't, and some consider Maplethorpe's work to be art, and some don't, and honestly, while some of Ansel Adams' photos are stunning and take my breath away, at the hundredth anniversary of his birth exhibit, I saw a few that looked like little more than snapshots.

  8. #33
    Senior Member retroactiv's Avatar
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    I was told in an art appreciation class in college art is anything you get paid for. A couple of weeks later the prof asked what art we have made, I said TV news... He told me it wasn't art. So I came up with my own definition right then and there,

    ART IS WHAT YOU THINK ART IS, not what someone tells you it is.
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  9. #34
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    Wow! I am seeing some really cool responses here!

    I can only say that, for me, art needs to invoke thought, and needs to have a skillful and personal execution. I don't much care for anything shot in a studio, and I like it when people experiment. For me, I want art to strive to be the deepest expression of not just any individual, but of the entire cosmos coming together for that one shot. This is, of course, art only as it applies practically to photography. The word "art" on its own is way too big for me to attempt to describe.

    Ultimately though, you've just opened pandoras box, asking 'what is art'. It has no answer. Every time you apply a practical definition it is, in some sense, self contradictory. So we can recognize all answers as not truthful, only practical.

  10. #35
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    Art is crap that rich people buy.

    :lol:
    my two cents

  11. #36
    Co-Moderator, Photography as Art forum megan's Avatar
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    Nice. Well thought out response.
    Megan


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  12. #37
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    possibly an impossible ? to answer however let me relate a short story i found very telling about thinking "photographically". Ansel Adams at the end of his career wanted to pass on some of the knowledge he had gathered throughout his life, and so he decided he would teach serious photo students in learning seminars. and while out on a nature photo shoot he was asked to explain what he was looking for when he was ready to take a picture. he answered his students that he pre-visualized what he was looking at. I, of course, don't exactly know what he meant, but my thought about that statement is that he could't describe what he was seeing.......maybe he was just 'FEELING'. photographers are taught to see, not to feel,but in truth : we don't see with our eyes, we see with our body,i.e.,our feelings......JC

  13. #38
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    "Art is crap that rich people buy."

    Not necessarily Mate. I once wrote to Ansel Adams.

    "Dear Mr Adams, I'm a student of Photography at the Canberra Institute of Technology.

    I find inspiration in your landscapes and in class we are studying the Zone System. I have all of your books incliding "Yosemite, Vision of Light". I enjoy your works greatly.

    I enjoy your images, here are two of my images for you, I would like you to see what I have done and been influenced by .'

    Mr Adams thanked me, and I still have the letter ... and he sent me 4 prints to enjoy,

    When the prints arrived, Australian Customs seized the prints and required duty on them, to the value of about 2 months salary .. .I payed the duty .... but didn't eat for a month or two.

    Don't cast all consumers of art in the same vein ... and don't under value good luck.

    Warren.

  14. #39
    Co-Moderator, Photography as Art forum megan's Avatar
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    Wow. Fantastic story, that he was so giving.
    Megan


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  15. #40
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Wassa
    .... In the early days of the craft, changes happened repeatedly. When we view the work of those artists now, their work can seem naive and banal. It almost seems silly by today's standards. I think (particulary) of Laszlo Maholy-Nagy. There is not one of us here who has not benefited from his explorations ...
    And why do you suppose that is, and is it really true? I don't see it that way. I believe it has more to do with pop culture and current expectations more than anything to do with the art itself.

    Drawing an analogy from movies, I personally like old movies. To me, they're more like a book where a strong story line needs to be built to make the movie work. Many don't like the old movies though. They expect color, they expect clothes, hair, lingo, historical references, to represent all that's in style, popular, or current today. Then add that they don't like that the acting styles and sets in many of the old movies are more like stage presentations. You can take a remake of on old movie that's nearly identical to the original and most people will choose the new one as being better.

    This is also true for even older color movies. The culture and current events are out of place today, as you would expect, and that turns viewers off. Again, people will choose the remakes as being better.

  16. #41
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blu
    Very interesting thread,
    Being a tattoo artist myself, i understand the many terms of art, the word art is to descibe a picture, or any tangible item that has had some form of change to represent a different view.
    Now there is what we call high class art, as mentioned from the old master's, there are only a handfull of people in the world today who can be respectully called master's ie painting with water colour's and oil's.

    High class art also show's in metal and wood objects created to a degree where it is art, ie the term "thats art".

    Why do so many use the phrase "the art of photography is ect ect ect" because there is an art to photography especially when a certain look and light use is required for an overhaul result, its an art in getting that picture right.

    When i do a tattoo for someone and customise it and make it a one off, its art, and what i do in general as a tatttoo (artist) is art, when a photographer is going to take a shot of a certain person or building he must compose the shot and have settings right for that shot and the light, the art is in getting this right, thus he produces an excellent shot through his knowledge and artfullness, if there was no art in photography nobody would be struggling with it and asking all the questions they do.

    To create something pretty, ugly, disturbing, that sends a message using anything available is art in its own right.
    And knowing photography and how to use settings and achieve what your after must be an art.

    Even actors can be viewed as an artist, the art of acting.

    Art is another word also for skill.

    happy photo shooting
    Blu
    So far you seem to be on center.

  17. #42
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?


  18. #43
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    art is simple.. you dont have to make to make it so complicated.. in my opinion there is nothing to argue.. its just about expressing oneself to anyone through the pictures that we take.. it is very subjective.. what photography means depends on a persons' view , needs and how it affects im.. how it inspired me and why it became an important part of his life.. the role that photography played in his life..

  19. #44
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I saw a slide show of several different people's photographs. The first person showed his photos, and I thought they were mostly "documenting" where he was. He thought they were art. But when I looked at them, I was looking at what he was seeing, rather than what he was presenting.

    So if he shows me a photograph of a city street, and I think, "oh, this is what I would see if I were on that city street next to him that day", then I don't tend to think it's art. But what are his intentions? He converted the picture to black & white. I still didn't think it was art.

    I think it would become art if his picture portrayed his unique viewpoint of that city street that day. If by looking at the photo, I saw more than what was on the street, I also saw what was in his mind as he looked at the street. And what's more, I think it would need to be something different than what would naturally be in my own mind if I were standing next to him looking at that same street that day.

    I think that's a terribly difficult skill to develop.
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  20. #45
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    It just occurred to me that art is a new and different perspective on something. It can be intentional or unintentional. Art has greater meaning the more symbolic that perspective is for an individual.

    It is tough to present a new perspective in a medium that is designed for capturing reality. It takes a lot of creative thought.
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  21. #46
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    Quote Originally Posted by opus
    I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I saw a slide show of several different people's photographs. The first person showed his photos, and I thought they were mostly "documenting" where he was. He thought they were art. But when I looked at them, I was looking at what he was seeing, rather than what he was presenting.

    So if he shows me a photograph of a city street, and I think, "oh, this is what I would see if I were on that city street next to him that day", then I don't tend to think it's art. But what are his intentions? He converted the picture to black & white. I still didn't think it was art.

    I think it would become art if his picture portrayed his unique viewpoint of that city street that day. If by looking at the photo, I saw more than what was on the street, I also saw what was in his mind as he looked at the street. And what's more, I think it would need to be something different than what would naturally be in my own mind if I were standing next to him looking at that same street that day.

    I think that's a terribly difficult skill to develop.
    Just wanted to say, I think you describe the difference between what is 'art' and 'photo documenting' quite well. This is the second post I've read by you (in the couple days since I found this site) which has really made me *think* about trying to see and capture my views in different, more pertinent ways...not to just capture the scene or whatever, but to try to capture it in a unique way that is my own view: not what the guy standing next to me would have been looking at.

    Thanks again

  22. #47
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    I took a Philosophy of Art class in college and this thread reminds me of some of the discussions (arguments). But one of their questions was, is photography art? The instructor and some philosophers he quoted kicked that question around for a short period of time and I think they concluded Yes, even though they were bothered that a photographer could trip and drop his camera and snap a Pulitzer prize shot as he's falling, by mistake. Not too many other branches of art can do that, but I guess we have our own limitations ...........

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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    Hmmm far more learned people than I have spoken in the posts above, my ten Euros worth is that making any art should be fun and the more it is enjoyed the further it will lean towards art.

    I quote Francis Bacon who said he hated painting, (look at his studio reconstruction details) and who had to admit with droll smile whilst spouting in his favourite Soho pub that the screaming popes were fun.

    J D
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  24. #49
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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    learn something new everyday.

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    Re: So, what is Art anyway? What's the place of Photography there?

    What is art? IMHO: We were all born to create, to transform mental energy (inspiration) into concrete reality through choice making and action. This holds true for every element of our lives -- the choices we make create the reality of our lives. Creation is an act; art is the result, whether it is bad art or good art. Art is like cooking -- anyone can do it, but some do it well, and some do it exceptionally well. Usually because they have studied and practiced for years. Or on rare occasions because they have a natural talent and they practiced for years.

    What is the place of Photography in art? I think maybe, historically, photography has been viewed as not art because generally it doesn't begin as mental energy, as purely internal inspiration that gets externalized and real-ized through planning and action. Rather, it usually begins externally, by seeing something in the environment that the photographer wants to record for one reason or another (documentary photography). But when a photographer manipulates the environment and/or the subject to externalize an inspiration, the photography becomes a work of art, whether it is technically good or not.
    Graphic arts are made up of three elements -- line, form and composition. When any sort of photography produces a pleasing combination of line, form and composition, it can be considered art. Like all accepted forms of art, there will be those who like it and those who don't. But really, who cares? I, for one, do not take pictures to please the art critics, I take them to please me!

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