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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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  #31  
Old 19th February 2008
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Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

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Originally Posted by Hiding_Pup View Post
Photographing flowers well is a tricky business (one of the reasons I gave up on them ages ago - all mine look like rejects from a Sutton Seeds catalogue)
Seems a very strange reason not to at least attempt your own take on flowers. Not least because any given artist has only presented their own interpretation, limited by the constraints of that one persons visions. I doubt if any one artist could express everything about a subject, even given an infinite life term.

Or is 'fine' art merely the process of finding a niche that no one else occupies, akin to business seeking a 'unique selling point' to ensure it's 'market placement'?

Should I consider demographics, perhaps engage a 'focus group'?

Am I to calculate a return on investment for pleasure?



(Autumn Follies)



(Left me now)

Yours

Calculating my percentages

Nick
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  #32  
Old 19th February 2008
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Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

And I should have added, that you seem to assume that a photograph that has as its object flowers, is in fact about flowers. Whereas the flower could just be a shape, a texture, a colour, a metaphor for what the artist was feeling and seeking to express. Even if only to an audience of one.

After all this is writing, is it truly about communication?

Nick
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  #33  
Old 19th February 2008
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Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

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Originally Posted by Nick Temple-Fry View Post
And I should have added, that you seem to assume that a photograph that has as its object flowers, is in fact about flowers. Whereas the flower could just be a shape, a texture, a colour, a metaphor for what the artist was feeling and seeking to express. Even if only to an audience of one.
After all this is writing, is it truly about communication?

Nick
Talking to an 'empty room' seems a little pointless. Even the creator can not stay in the room alone for ever. Any art which exists in this context has only ephemeral meaning to one person. What is the value of a thought not shared with anyone? What is the value of unilateral dialogue?

Apparently, sounds do not exist without ears to turn the soundwaves into a sound. Wouldn't the same apply to art. Does it not exist untill eyes turn the light rays into a picture or words into meaning? Therefore, wouldn't art (fine or otherwise) in an 'empty room' , once abandoned by the creator, contain unprocessed light rays of no meaning?
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  #34  
Old 19th February 2008
Hiding_Pup
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Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

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Originally Posted by Nick Temple-Fry View Post
And I should have added, that you seem to assume that a photograph that has as its object flowers, is in fact about flowers.
Nick
No, I don't think this at all - the work of Cunningham and O'Keefe, for example, seem to me more about form (fragility and strength) and female sexuality than they do about flowers. I don't do flower pictures myself because I have nothing that I want to explore that would involve flowers. You're rather good at them though and, if you get the chance, I urge you to go and see Sarah Jones's exhibition at the National Media Museum in Bradford:

http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.u...on/sarahJones/

To some extent, I do think that being a fine art photographer is about finding one's niche, but not in the market-driven way that you suggest. To me, it's about creating a style of photography which is so uniquely yours that it can be spotted a mile off. It's unlikely that that vision, once found, will lend itself to every subject, though it may lend itself to many. Someone who shows a genius for street photography, for instance, is unlikely to be particularly good at studio-based still life arrangements too, in the same way that a virtuoso violinist may conceivably have nothing to do with the piano.

The curse of the enthusiast, I reckon, is that we want to take every picture, do everything. It's for this reason that manufacturers in the past peddled the twin zoom combo (28-70mm; 70-210mmm) as the answer to all our prayers. Nowadays, the range is even greater (18-55mm, 55-300mm - and that's with a crop factor!). More experienced photographers, however, tend to know which focal lengths they like and look for pictures they can take with those focal lengths: they know whether they're wide-angle users at heart of telephoto people instead. Some go even further: the portrait photographer, Jane Bown, for instance, had preferred shutter speed and aperture settings and would move her subject into light which suited those (and put them at a distance that suited her 50mm or 85mm). Similarly, more experienced photographers tend to concentrate their efforts on fewer subjects.

So, is it all about communication? If finding a unique and authentic artistic voice is the goal of the true artist, then, yes, I suppose it is. That said, I don't think there's any such thing as a fine artist savante - someone who can instinctively discover their artistic voice without knowledge of art that has come before. So for me, fine art is art which simultaneously demonstrates an awareness of the traditions in which it seeks to participate in and which articulates the unique and personal vision of the artist. Great art is art which does both in bucketloads. In addition, great art is open to layers of interpretation - but cannot be wholly defined by those interpretations.
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  #35  
Old 19th February 2008
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Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

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Xpres, I hope you don't mind me using your images as examples, but are you able to share your thoughts on this with us? Had you considered your work in this context?
Ok - now I'm on the spot. Funnily enough I have a degree in art photography, not that this equips one with the technical ability to produce good photography - far from it. But I suppose it does make you look at the world in a certain way when making an image, perhaps weighed down with all the baggage from your studies and experience. Which can be said of anyone but the influences are different. However, I'm a stay at home Dad for the moment so all of these were produced purely for pleasure and mostly as family snaps, so no they weren't considered in a fine art context.

But to ramble a little on the fine art thing -

When dealing with photography I think it's more of a marketing tactic from galleries and media who have a financial interest in the business of Art. The 'tag' creates an elitist illusion around the genre which is self perpetuating once you've reached a kind of critical mass. In packaging their product this way the galleries and agents are trying to piggyback on the qualities associated with the traditional 'fine arts' and carve a niche for themselves. Perhaps they're already there but I still can't help seeing photography in terms of the professional and the artisan - both of which the amateur can aspire to if not content with his status - as it is perhaps purer than both.
The dabate seems well into the 'what is art' argument which has become something of a data sponge (and a waste of paper too probably). For me there is photography and there is art and art is all encompassing. Anything can be art but not everything is photography.
I try to make images that communicate, that have a narrative, which is what I like about photography. I also have the luxury of being an amateur (sadly soon to end) and able to do as I please. Style seems to be a by product of doing something over and over and absorbing all the images around you - over and over. We get set in our ways and gravitate towards a way of working, whether intentional or not, which others can identify in most of what we produce. That's maybe the marketable aspect which interests the galleries as they can see a hook to hang their packaging on.
I've just started to try a little wildlife photography which I find hard going, technically anyway, but will the results still have the same look as my other stuff?

End of ramble.....

As an example of a photographer who is big the the galleries and auction houses why not ponder the work of Jacques Henri Lartigue. I don't think his intention was to produce 'fine art'.... was it?

Oh.. I have a flower.....

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  #36  
Old 19th February 2008
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Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

For me, fine art is progressive: it pushes at the boundaries of art, into the unknown. Lartigue, for all his faults, was a radical and an iconclast. Permanently fixated on movement and uncovering the world of movement; committed to what might these days be called the 'snapshot aesthetic' and using it to capture a society travelling at breakneck speed, Lartigue certainly opened up new frontiers for photographic practice (and artistic practice by extension). That puts him in my great artist category, regardless of what his intentions were (as a professional painter and photographer).

I'm sure gallery owners, curators, collectors are out to make a buck, but I think most of them would be miserable at their jobs if they didn't actually like art. The best collectors do think shrewdly about investment potential but I also think they go on instinct much of the time too and buy only when art work leaps out at them. So two things going on in that respect.
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  #37  
Old 19th February 2008
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Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

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Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
The amateur, however, enjoys the luxury of being able to explore his own creative boundaries without the tainted influence of money, driven only by a passion for his subject and rejoycing in the artistic possibilities of his chosen medium. Here lays a contradiction; we can all indulge in our hobby with a purity of motive that befits fine art, even if we lack the ability to actually achieve results that class as fine art. Failing to achieve perfection doesn't dilute the worthiness of our efforts; the pursuit of perfection for no other reason than a love of what we are doing is reward in itself.

Zuiko
And I think this also applies equally well to artists .

I think the fact that most famous artists were starving amatures and were not recognized until there demise speaks volumes about the pretentiousness ( I know art brigade) and the profit motived circle of "art lovers" that is still alive today.

I remember a article sticking in my mind from a book by a friend of Picasso who said he was at a art auction with Picasso when one of his works came up and was sold for a great amount of money and Picasso said to his friend thats a fake! But said his friend I was there when you painted it, yes said Picasso that how I know its a fake. That to me speaks volumes about how art is so indefinable and it is the pretentiousness of others that deem to know what art is or is not that has the most sway.

I always remember three pieces of wisdom that was imparted to me when starting photography many years ago...

1- If it pleases you then you have succeeded.

2- If others like it that is a bonus.

3- If a judge or critic likes it then thats a bloody miracle.

Flowers..fine art or just snaps..I have no idea and I took them..but they do please me



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  #38  
Old 19th February 2008
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Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

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Originally Posted by Hiding_Pup View Post
No (and, yes, I may have been a tiny bit reticent about commenting), I didn't think your snowdrop was fine art either, despite being a very good snowdrop picture as snowdrop pictures go. Photographing flowers well is a tricky business (one of the reasons I gave up on them ages ago - all mine look like rejects from a Sutton Seeds catalogue) but getting something even approaching the intensity of vision found, for example, in photographs by Imogen Cunningham or paintings by Georgia O'Keefe takes dedication and a rare talent indeed. If you're not familiar with them already, take a look and tell me what you think, particularly in relation to your own work:

http://www.okeeffemuseum.org/indexflash.php
http://www.imogencunningham.com/

Thanks for the links, I've had a very cursory look and will have to revisit when I have more time. But an initial impression - I may be wrong, but I'm starting to form the realisation that the difference between fine art and a photograph that, despite being excellent, doesn't qualify as fine art is as follows:-

In fine art the subject is secondary to the artist's vision and acts as a vehicle for the artists expression of that vision.

In an excellent photograph the photographer has used his skill to express what is remarkable about the subject, be it the beauty of a flower, the grandeur of a mountain scene or the character of a person. The photographer's skill is secondary to the qualities of the subject and acts as a vehicle for the celebration and expression of that subject.

That doesn't automatically make a photograph that is recognisable as fine art better or more valid than one that isn't, it's just a different way of relating the photographer, subject and medium to each other, usually with different goals. Which one gains favour will ultimately depend upon personal preferences.

Zuiko
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  #39  
Old 19th February 2008
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Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

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Originally Posted by Paul_S View Post
And I think this also applies equally well to artists .

I think the fact that most famous artists were starving amatures and were not recognized until there demise speaks volumes about the pretentiousness ( I know art brigade) and the profit motived circle of "art lovers" that is still alive today.

I remember a article sticking in my mind from a book by a friend of Picasso who said he was at a art auction with Picasso when one of his works came up and was sold for a great amount of money and Picasso said to his friend thats a fake! But said his friend I was there when you painted it, yes said Picasso that how I know its a fake. That to me speaks volumes about how art is so indefinable and it is the pretentiousness of others that deem to know what art is or is not that has the most sway.

I always remember three pieces of wisdom that was imparted to me when starting photography many years ago...

1- If it pleases you then you have succeeded.

2- If others like it that is a bonus.

3- If a judge or critic likes it then thats a bloody miracle.

Flowers..fine art or just snaps..I have no idea and I took them..but they do please me



Maybe your rather spledid floral images are not art, fine art, or whatever in the sense that to qualify as such requires a greater stamp of personal vision, self-expression and unique style upon the image. However, they do capture the simple and pure beauty of the subjects, allowing us to appreciate them for what they are, uncomplicated by labels or expectations. And if that simple beauty delights our eye and draws an emotional response from us, then lets just enjoy it at face value, without the need to analyse or categorise. It may not be art, but does it matter?

Zuiko
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  #40  
Old 19th February 2008
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Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

[Quote:
Xpres, I hope you don't mind me using your images as examples, but are you able to share your thoughts on this with us? Had you considered your work in this context?


Ok - now I'm on the spot. Funnily enough I have a degree in art photography, not that this equips one with the technical ability to produce good photography - far from it. But I suppose it does make you look at the world in a certain way when making an image, perhaps weighed down with all the baggage from your studies and experience. Which can be said of anyone but the influences are different. However, I'm a stay at home Dad for the moment so all of these were produced purely for pleasure and mostly as family snaps, so no they weren't considered in a fine art context.

Sorry, it wasn't my intention to make you feel uncomfortable or put you on the spot, but thanks for your input.

It's interesting, I have an untrained eye regarding art and as for "fine art" I readily admit I don't even know what I'm looking for.

You, by contrast, have formal training on the subject and qualification to a high standard, although you don't consciously employ that when taking "snaps" purely for pleasure.

And yet, there must be some indefinable aspect of your snaps that led my untrained eye to believe they might be considered as art. Maybe it's that elusive factor which we label "style," and maybe style is one of the fudementals for defining fine art.

Zuiko
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  #41  
Old 20th February 2008
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Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

Paul_S

Can I just say I really like your two flower shots; the first because (dare I say it) it is so pretty, such a nice (oh dear - that's my credibility gone for good) balance of colours; the second because it is so bright, so sensuous, so open to continual re-interpretation.

....................

It may well be, with the internet and 'cheap' digital publication, that art has left the art establishment behind. That Tracy E et al are just the dinosaurs of a dyeing establishment, the Brezhnefs of an irrelevant dynasty.

Perhaps the same revolution that is overtaking poetic art with rap and slam will engulf the visual mediums, an anarchy of journeymen creators uncensored by approval.

Enjoying my own pretensions

Nick
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  #42  
Old 20th February 2008
Hiding_Pup
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Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

Agreed - the first is pretty but the second is by far the more adventurous and therefore unexpected image.
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  #43  
Old 20th February 2008
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Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

[QUOTE=Zuiko;8188] It may not be art, but does it matter?

It certainly can matter when art and politics collide. I am not an art historian but am aware of both the supression of art and the use of art by totalitarian regimes to support their powerbase and suppress opposition.

Richard
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  #44  
Old 20th February 2008
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Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

Rather than the suppression is it not usually that art is utilised as a convenient oblique public way of expressing disatisfaction against a totalitarian regime. Therefore the 'campaigning effect' of revolutionary art is often brutally quashed by the sitting regime.

Of course art is also commandeered by those regimes in the form of propaganda. Everyone from Mao to Sadam has done this.
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  #45  
Old 20th February 2008
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Re: Fine Art Photography Debate

Is this photographer a fine artist? He uses the label.

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

Quote:
Zuiko - "...In fine art the subject is secondary to the artist's vision and acts as a vehicle for the artists expression of that vision."
Are his subjects secondary to his vision with the former being merely vehicles for artistic expression?
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