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Sharpness and Resolution are not Art ?

pulsar69 14 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
25 Apr 2012 6:21PM
Reading 'The Genius of Photography' quite a good read by all accounts and came across this quote from Gustave le Gray one of the inventors of the photographic process way back in the 1800s.

Its called 'The theory of sacrifices' and reads - 'Photographers should be prepared to lose overall sharpness in a picture to gain a more artistic effect'.

So that set me to wondering in the modern day and age have we gone one step to far in search of our perfect shot with technique, lenses, flash and lighting and missed the point which is to produce something artistic, I like to feel i blend the two in my work and should probably use shutter speeds more than I do , but even I have become a slave to the 'delete that shot because its blurred' point of view, which to some extent is also driven by the general publics view of what is acceptable. Take for instance some of the 'slagging offs' people get for giving customers shots which are out of focus or not sharp , sometimes maybe there is a little more too it all and its become a bit sterile - a bit like the society in which we are living....

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User_Removed 8 299 4 France
25 Apr 2012 6:42PM
Indeed they are not....they require no imagination...just a wallet and a little technique...art on the other hand is hard to define let alone achieve
lawbert 11 1.8k 15 England
25 Apr 2012 6:49PM
Poor old Gustave never had a sharp lens Im guessingWink

Quote:Indeed they are not....they require no imagination...just a wallet and a little technique...art on the other hand is hard to define let alone achieve

Another tog passing himself as an artist....Its probably just a soft lens thats holding you backTongue
Overread 9 4.1k 19 England
25 Apr 2012 6:52PM
Art should be art and should be a deliberate choice to create a specific effect within a photo. It shouldn't be the product of limitations when those limits are imposed by technical/equipment based restrictions when technical corrections/affordable equipment can be used to overcome them.

A blurry photo should be blurry deliberately so and one can normally tell when blur is done for artistic effect (eg blurred motions on legs on a panned shot of a running animal) and when its the result of poor shooting method/poor equipment choice.

The idea of "modern" photography being idealised with "perfection" is silly. What is more correct is that a much larger proportion of the population is now engaging in photography and thus there is a constant stream of new photographers who have to go through the learning process.
If people happen to also surf on sites which have a large beginner population this can create the impression that its "the modern thing" and "the only thing worth going for" however its more a measure of the more immature photographer population they are engaging with.
User_Removed 8 299 4 France
25 Apr 2012 6:56PM
Another tog passing himself as an artist?....your crystal ball needs a clean Paul...my watercolours and oils are my art...my photography is just that...photography
pulsar69 14 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
25 Apr 2012 6:57PM
Art is often understood to refer to painting, drawing, photography and other visual media according to the all-seeing wikipedia ! However in reality Art is simply what one perceives to be Art is it not ? surely thats the point of Art, and wether you like agree or disagree with an expression of art doesnt make it any less so.

Who here considers themselves an artist ?
pulsar69 14 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
25 Apr 2012 7:03PM
And thats a valid point well put Overread.
User_Removed 8 299 4 France
25 Apr 2012 7:06PM
Because this is a photographic site I post photographs and not paintings...is a painting art?.. who knows...its in the eye of the beholder to use a well worn phrase...is photography art...who knows...but in terms of the thread at the top of this page.....sharpness and resolution appear to be more of an obsession rather than the creativity we need to utilise said technical wonders
Overread 9 4.1k 19 England
25 Apr 2012 7:30PM
Sharpness and resolution are not, necessarily, our creativity points; but they are the technical ones. Like any form of art there is a technical side and an artistic side and only a fool tries to ignore either (though some are lucky enough to get a natural talent in the latter and some a lucky enough to hit the right buttons most of the time in the former).

Like a painter must learn to work with paints - to learn what mixture of water to paint is correct; to learn what brush is best for what stroke to give the right appearance on the paper that they want. So too must the photographer learn their skills also.

Further, just like the painter, the photographer should always aim to learn beyond their immediate demands. Because then in the breadth of understanding one has the luxury of options and thus ones art is based upon choice not upon simply repeating the same method over and over.
User_Removed 8 299 4 France
25 Apr 2012 7:42PM
I agree Overread with everthing you say and am well aware of the great similarities between painting and photography....a broad field of technical ability is necessary to maintain sucessful image output in any creative field, but it is easy to have the odd sucessful image...(right place /right time) with a decent camera..and here the two separate ,for sucess by accident IMO is far more rare in the field of painting, sculpture and the other visual arts.
cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
25 Apr 2012 8:48PM

Quote:Sharpness and Resolution are not Art ?

Who said they where....? ? ?

No one I know thats for sure......Grin

Probably one of them well known wedding photographer chaps......Wink
sherlob Plus
12 2.9k 129 United Kingdom
25 Apr 2012 8:53PM
What is art? If you come up with a unifying answer let me know. Philosophers have been debating this for centuries - it has no right and wrong answer, but rather a great deal of differing schools of thought. For what its worth I believe that photography can be an art - and I do aim to use it as an art form (whether or not I achieve this is as debatable as the nature of art WinkTongue).

I like the distinction between technique and creative vision Overread makes above. However, just because a photographer hits lucky doesn't make the outcome any less artistic in my book.

Lo-fi photography is undergoing a massive upsurge in popularity currently. Creative vision is more experimental in some lo-fi approaches (e.g. in some deliberate camera movement images) - however knowledge of technique is still needed in order to experiment. Certainly lo-fi places much less emphasis on sharpness.
Dave_Canon 11 1.4k United Kingdom
25 Apr 2012 10:44PM
There is a credibity element to this. One member of my camera club now appears to produce only blurred images; some are blurred by moving the camera, some by slow shutter speed and others using photoshop. However, he is probably the most qualified photographer I know with an MA in photography and many distinctions and gold medals from around the world. He has produced many successful sharp shots in the past. In his case everyone knows he is an artist and his images are blurred because he intends them to be so. For many of us, a blurred image may appear to be a mistake.

monstersnowman 12 1.7k 1 England
25 Apr 2012 11:40PM

Quote:Sharpness and Resolution are not Art ?
.... of course they are not, on their own. But neither is blurredness, or tilted images, extreme vignetting, distressing or any technique. What makes anything art is an artistic use of anything and anything can be art if used artistically. Therefore sharpness and resolution CAN be art, just like anything else. It is easy to see a technically perfect image that has sharpness, resolution, perfect exposure, etc etc and dismiss it as too clinical to be artistic yet I could rattle off a dozen bad images and mess them about with a mixture of extreme exposure, blur, movement, edgy tilting, unusual composition, filters etc etc and people would be more willing to see that as artistic because it conforms to what we are led to expect contemporary art to be, even though almost no real thought may have taken place or meaning been put into it - I see it being done. Where do we stand on hyper real painting where part of it is achieving super detailed and super sharp hyper real imagery in paint? Is that not art, when conversely a person can squeeze any amount of acrylic paint on a canvas, smudge it around randomly and call it art ... where the photographer creating the sharp image may have composed the scene, decided where he or she needs the sharpness, focussed accurately and exposed properly or selectively for a particular part of the image and put a lot of thought into the image (creative thought).

What is certain for sure is .. nothing will ever come from saying what is or isn't art because nobody seems to be able to say what things are and what things arent and nobody seems to agree. From a crumpled piece of paper, to a pile of bricks, to a flashing bulb, faeces on canvas or a urinal on a gallery wall.
User_Removed 8 299 4 France
26 Apr 2012 8:21AM
There is a credibity element to this, says Dave and here "the kings new clothes" rears its head...we need to remember that rubbish is rubbish if we believe it so rather than being bullied into acceptance by fame, noteriety or past glories...popularity of genre as in blurred trees and milky water fit my particular bill !!!!
I understand that to progress we have to try these things and emulation is one tool but as "over exposure" is not good in many cases these could be included .

The art debate will always be subjective rather than objective: from Turner to Dali with stops at Carlos Clarke, Doisneau, Hockney and Pollock and the much vaunted Cartier Bresson...are they all that good?...I remember the blue lady by Tretchicoff ( sorry about the spelling)....biggest selling print in its day along with a bare arsed tennis player...I rest my case......stuart

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