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

2 Apr 2013 11:39AM

The modern day public view is that anyone can take a good photo with a digital camera but producing a "work of art" still requires a special talent.

Exactly the point! In the same way that anyone can paint/draw a picture, attempt to dance or create music, etc. We can all do it, but not everything will be a work of art.

Its interesting to see the amount of comments that refer to how much (in monetary terms) something is valued at (or sells for). Thats only how much someone is willing to pay, how much someone is selling it for (or an estimated value). The most expensive isnt always the most artistic or even the most interesting/appealing. Its only been in relatively modern times where we have seen 'rich' artists, and even at that they are a very rare breed

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Carabosse 15 41.1k 270 England
2 Apr 2013 12:23PM
A 'Work of Art' is often only so in the mind of the artist! Wink

Convincing others is the key! Grin
thewilliam 9 6.1k
2 Apr 2013 2:49PM
A photograph can only count as "art" if it has a 200 word "artist's statement" in an A4 frame next to the work that still doesn't really explain what the work is all about!
2 Apr 2013 5:09PM

Quote:A photograph can only count as "art" if it has a 200 word "artist's statement" in an A4 frame next to the work that still doesn't really explain what the work is all about!

Does that opinion fit with your views of all art, or just photography? Can a painting/drawing/sculpture/collage/tapestry/animation/etc be art without a written explanation that you don't understand? If the description makes sense, does it stop being art?
keith selmes 14 7.3k 1 United Kingdom
2 Apr 2013 5:12PM
ROFL @thewilliam, I have real difficulty trying to write any kind of "artists statement", but have had some fun making up spoof ones to go with photos of mine that went badly wrong. Thing is, if you can do it without laughing, would anyone know the difference ?
monstersnowman 12 1.7k 1 England
2 Apr 2013 5:15PM

Quote:There is a strong perception that photography is not seen as a true artform but, equally, there are quite a few photographers working primarily in this sphere - Thomas Struth, Michael Kenna, Harry Cory Wright, Jem Southam, Andreas Gursky, Alec Soth, Nadav Kander etc. and it's not necessarily the sort of work that Paul cynically lampoons. Basically, if you've been to the 'right' art schools, have the right background, and can spout enough arty-bollox to convince gallery-owners to give you a shot then you have a chance. Gallery-owners know their buyers and their buyers need to know that the 'undiscovered' artist they're buying into has the right pedigree to be a success (nobody wants to buy a dud or a one-shot wonder). It's all a cynical merry-go-round driven by money.

Similarly, there is a big gulf between the sort of images amateurs like to make and what excites art-collectors - obviously. If this weren't the case and the perception that 'anybody can do it' became widespread the buyers' investments would be instantly devalued. It's all a clique designed at keeping outsiders at bay.

At the more populist level - people buying prints to hang in their living rooms - the market is pretty much swamped with product. Anyone who knows their way around a DSLR (and some who don't) is hawking prints these days, often at less than cost price, leading to a public perception that good photography is dead easy. And this, in turn, devalues the notion of photography as art.

Oh Joolsb, I don't think I was being overly cynical or lampooning at all, just realistic. I think you pretty much made similar comments in the above quote as I did in my post.
3 Apr 2013 2:30AM
Thank you, everyone. I can see that opinions are really quite similar- (all added with a healthy dose of humour, too! I've had more than a few chuckles, as I've seen the funny side- or the truth of what's been said!!!)- and that the important things include the viewers' perception, the pedigree of the artist, plus possibly pleasing art critics with unknown agendas or unpredictable views.

..... hmmm....

Very useful comments and thoughts. I hope no-one would mind if i either refer to the comments or quote them, please? Although, I would also ask you via your message inbox.

Please keep comments coming. And if there are any worthy, verifiable written accounts i can use, please suggest. This is due Friday- which is Thursday night, for most of you!!! (And a lovely 27 degrees C it is today, too. Wink )
Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
3 Apr 2013 4:39AM
Plenty of art galleries, but I see very few the sell photographic prints.
thewilliam 9 6.1k
5 Apr 2013 4:03PM
One friend who runs a gallery told me of an elderly couple who were about to pay for a framed picture when the wife asked what was meant by "gelatin silver print". Upon hearing that it was a photograph, she turned to her husband and said, "you've got an expensive camera so there's no reason why you can't take pictures like these".

The couple then thanked my friend and walked out of the gallery without buying anything.
keith selmes 14 7.3k 1 United Kingdom
5 Apr 2013 5:47PM
Pity the poor husband, "no reason why you can't take pictures like these", he's in trouble now .

Think I'll run up the music synth on my expensive PC and compose a masterpiece before tea, then I'll get the paint cans and brushes out and daub a few moneyspinners before supper ... I've got some good paint, it'll be OK ... fame and fortune await ...
adrian_w Plus
10 3.7k 4 England
5 Apr 2013 6:17PM

Quote:I've got some good paint, it'll be OK

Only if you have the top quality all singing, all dancing canvas to put it on. Otherwise it'll just be a coloured mess.
Railcam 11 670 2 Scotland
5 Apr 2013 7:17PM

Quote:Only if you have the top quality all singing, all dancing canvas to put it on. Otherwise it'll just be a coloured mess.

Some expensive paint brushes will be required also. Genuine sable though, no synthetic stuff SmileSmile
keith selmes 14 7.3k 1 United Kingdom
5 Apr 2013 8:40PM
The brushes are "pure bristle". It's definitely pro gear, it said so on the stand at B&Q.
brian1208 Plus
14 11.4k 12 United Kingdom
5 Apr 2013 8:48PM
I wonder if anyone told Rembrandt that he had got "Great Brushes"? Grin
keith selmes 14 7.3k 1 United Kingdom
5 Apr 2013 9:07PM
hmm, well, speaking of the Art World, "Rembrandt signed his assistants' works as his own."


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