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In the Art World, is Photography still the poor cousin to painting and printmaking?


brian1208 e2
11 10.6k 12 United Kingdom
5 Apr 2013 9:35PM
A bit like some photographers have a team to do the work once they have had the inspiration
Make-up, Hair, Stylist, Lighting, post-processing etc, then claim it as their own work? Smile

as here

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mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
5 Apr 2013 9:44PM

Quote:Hmm, well, speaking of the Art World, "Rembrandt signed his assistants' works as his own."

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/picture-of-month/displaypicture.asp?venue=2&id=20



That was very common from da vinci all the way through to the great masters and beyond with the 'master' acting as a sort of quality controller before they were sold to the person who commissioned them. It creates a real headache for historians trying to authenticate provenance of a painting, especially when its auction price is already in the millions.
keith selmes
11 7.1k 1 United Kingdom
5 Apr 2013 10:05PM

Quote:A bit like some photographers have a team
the punch line was fun


Quote:you’re creating images, not shooting wildlife, although with some models it might as well feel like it.

Quote:A bit like some photographers have a team to do the work once they have had the inspiration
Make-up, Hair, Stylist, Lighting, post-processing etc, then claim it as their own work? Smile



Inspiration is the key word there methinks. Not that i hire anyone to do my processing, but in some shoots i my hire a MUA, stylist and an assistant to help with lighting, turbine, etc. In my case, i hire them to do certain work based on a very specific brief. Does that mean that my photography and the finished product is not mine? There is a difference between photographing another artist's work and being the artist behind the concept. If it is a collaboration then fair enough, that should be recognised as such, but thats not always the case.

As a commissioned artist (in digital art, photography, drawing/painting illustrations, DOP on video productions, etc), i mostly work to create the visions/ideas of my client set out in their brief. They recognise me as the 'artist' and that is why i am paid. If necessary, any assistant (including the model) would be recognised too

Looking at the comments it does seem that there is a mix between those who accept art and some who see it as a pretentious 'tag'. How many have a painting/photograph on their wall that is not their own and not of direct sentimental meaning (such as a portrait of a family member)? Or perhaps an ornament on their mantelpiece? A screensaver or desktop image on their computer/phone? Did you choose it for aesthetic values?

That starts to become art, in most cases
thewilliam e2
6 4.9k
5 Apr 2013 11:31PM
Under the copyright law, people who have made a significant contribution to the work can claim some of the credit. This has happened wirh movies for some time, where even the apprentice electrician and catering assistants are named in the credits.

There was a recent case where the make-up was very special so the MUA argued that the photographer had merely recorded her work and she was able to claim a proportion of the royalties.
Like i said; there is a difference between photographing another artist's work and being the artist behind the concept.

In some cases the MUA would have followed the direction of the photographer. Obviously it works both ways, and yeah, i have been hired by MUAs and stylists to photograph their work (where they obviously are the creator and i get credit for the photography if necessary).

Even where movies have given the obvious credit to the cast and crew, they still have a director (artist) that creates the vision
thewilliam e2
6 4.9k
6 Apr 2013 10:29AM
Years ago, there was a famous photographer who used to get his assistants to set up and light the shot. Sometimes the great man would contribute nothing at all to the shot until he walked over to the camera to fire the shutter and so claim the copyright.
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
6 Apr 2013 10:34AM
I understand Patrick Litchfield didn't even press the shutter button... but I'm sure he owned the copyright! Wink
6 Apr 2013 1:11PM

Quote:Years ago, there was a famous photographer who used to get his assistants to set up and light the shot. Sometimes the great man would contribute nothing at all to the shot until he walked over to the camera to fire the shutter and so claim the copyright.


Gregory Crewdson supposedly doesn't even press the shutter release (he said this in a documentary I watched that he featured in) ... But he does direct the set up from start to finish just like a film director.
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
6 Apr 2013 1:17PM
At the very top end of the market, the photographer is really a (stills) film director. The 'dirty work' of actually handling cameras is left to minions! Wink
lemmy e2
7 2.1k United Kingdom
6 Apr 2013 3:56PM
The question is easily answered but not in the general terms in which it is framed (pun half intended Wink)

Since there are no rules about what is or is not art or the value of it, the only independent determination of 'poor cousinness' is the is the open market. Therefore a given photograph that sells for more than a given painting is not the poor cousin of that painting. It is, however the poor cousin of a painting that sells for more than it does.

We always seem to talk in terms of the most expensive when we try to answer questions like yours. In fact, photographs, paintings and prints sell for everyday prices in bric-a-brac shops, charity shops, boot sales, small galleries and local auctions for prices from a couple of quid to a few hundred so they are not poor - or rich - cousins. They are part of the same market and perceived value structure.

Questions like yours arise from the fact no photograph has ever sold for the multiple tens of millions that the greatest works by painters have. But such rarefied and exceptional prices are not a good guide to the overall market any more than the price of a rare vintage Ferrari is a guide to the second hand car market.

If anyone is interested, Tom Wolfe's book The Painted Word is about the art market and its workings and probably the best ever written on the subject.
8 Apr 2013 6:38PM
How about we (as a community) start handing over advertising duties and weddings to painters and sculptors and see how far they get? Grin

Realistically, I think mediocre is getting to be the new standard, especially on the internet scene. *cough*deviantart*cough*flickr*cough*

Likewise, these people are under some misguided notion that upgrading their equipment is the key to success. Sure, anyone could take a Nikon D800 and 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and take an image. But do they know enough about the craft to make the image look pleasing with that set up? Probably not. Many of them wouldn't even know what a tripod or monopod would be used for if it hit their backside! Remote shutter release? Why buy one when the camera has a button?

In this day and age with increasingly high megapixel count bodies, people are naturally jumping on the upgrade. They're going to take their nice, shiny and new equipment out of their boxes and put it all together. They're going to take a couple shots and look at an image on their computer and wonder why it looks like utter crap. The reality is that many of these people will upgrade equipment before they even think about upgrading their skill set. As painfully pointed out many times over, this is very true with the D800. You can have that body with the most expensive glass you can find, but if you don't have proper technique, you don't have anything except for an expensive paperweight. Every flaw will shine like a gold medal under a clear, sunny sky. But oh. I forgot. It's "art".

Personally, I think there's a fine line between art and crap. It takes a high level of skill to excel in any artistic pursuit. Just like a painter, a sketch artist, or a sculptor, a photographer must know his or her craft and equipment to produce something. I remember a few years ago, I was watching something on television about an American photographer. One thing that always stuck with me was something she stressed. "Photograph emotion". As I pondered that, I quickly realised that a photographer must capture in a single frame, a story. A photographer needs to be able to draw feelings of happiness...of sadness, of mystery and deftness among the many other emotions of human understanding from his or her viewers. I think once a person can capture all of that in one click of a button, regardless of weather or not they're going to be paid for that one picture, he or she is a true artist.
lemmy e2
7 2.1k United Kingdom
8 Apr 2013 8:57PM

Quote: "Photograph emotion". As I pondered that, I quickly realised that a photographer must capture in a single frame, a story. A photographer needs to be able to draw feelings of happiness...of sadness, of mystery and deftness among the many other emotions of human understanding from his or her viewers.


That sounds just like the sort of caption you get under a very ordinary photograph that someone is trying to flog for ten times its worth in an art gallery in some tourist town. I can turn out that stuff myself and there is even a web site that will do it for you.

I'm also struggling to understand what the weather has to do with being an artist. I've seen paintings and photographs of rainy or winter scenes that are just as good as sunny ones.
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
8 Apr 2013 9:26PM
I much prefer shooting in bad weather and or at night, its so much more fun and challenging Smile
lemmy e2
7 2.1k United Kingdom
9 Apr 2013 9:12AM

Quote:I much prefer shooting in bad weather and or at night, its so much more fun and challenging


Me too - especially night time and rain as you say.

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