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Sharpness and Resolution are not Art ?

Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2012 9:55AM
Photography as art, the same as painting as art, sculpture, installations etc is an intensely personal thing. A piece should stand or fall on it's own merit, regardless of how it was produced.

A photo that was taken hanging off the edge of a cliff, scanned, distressed, photoshopped, rescanned, rephotoshopped, printed, distressed, framed and then displayed, has no more or less worth than a happy snappy accident printed at Boots, other than what we see in the finished item. A picture is not 'better' because it was harder to do.

Personally, I see nothing in giant bits of wax on tracks, and Tracey Emin's bed leaves me cold, but it obviously means something to someone. I don't need someone telling me it's 'great art'. Incidentally, these days 'great art' is measured by what someone is willing to pay for it, and the name on it is at least as important as the merit of the individual piece.

Whilst I don't think I fall into the "I know what I like and I like what I know" category, I can see pictures that I know are good but still don't particularly like, in the same way we don't all like the same music. From some forum posts on this site, I'm not sure that is the case with a lot of people.


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drfireball 6 11 1 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2012 8:40PM
I forget who said this originally - possibly Cartier Bresson but I love the "nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept". So much so that I try (not saying I succeed) to keep this in mind when I shoot and to always have story-telling at some level in my photos. To that end I do a lot of pre-production using apps like "moodboard" to send around ideas to the team (model, MUA, Assistants, stylists etc) as I have finally twigged that others cannot see what is in my head.
keith selmes 14 7.4k 1 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2012 9:10PM

Quote:"nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept"
Adams Smile
drfireball 6 11 1 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2012 9:14PM
Cheers Keith - hate to misrepresent!
keith selmes 14 7.4k 1 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2012 9:43PM

Quote:my first successes in my out-of-focus pictures were a fluke. That is to say, that when focusing and coming to something which, to my eye, was very beautiful, I stopped there instead of screwing on the lens to the more definite focus which all other photographers insist upon
Julia Margaret Cameron, in "Annals of My Glass House", 1874

In 1865 she had entered a competition, and did not win because "detail of table-cover, chair and crinoline skirt were essential to the judges", but then she found "Artists, however, immediately crowned me with laurels"

Here is a portrait of Maria Spartali, an artist herself, and favourite model for the pre raphaelites, especially Dante Gabriel Rosetti.

and here's a painting of Maria Spartali by Rosetti
monstersnowman 12 1.7k 1 England
27 Apr 2012 5:14AM

Quote:"nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept"Adams Smile

What about nothing being worse than 'the fuzzy image of a sharp concept'?

I mention this because we have current tastes of what we see as good art based, not on what is good art as such but what is in vogue .. I mention this because I recall an incident when I worked on a web site of a large international photo community and had a volatile photographic relationship with a quite modern thinking and extremely self-important lady. She didnt appreciate my landscapes very much despite me putting weeks, months and years of effort into them. I decided to take some of my worst images (images still on my hard drive because I hadnt bothered to delete them) ... then do what I can only describe as mutilate them in photoshop with no thought or intention and produce what were merely over processed images trashed by multiple and random application of as many filters and processes as I could be bothered to do. She then came back and said pretty much along the lines of "wonderful images, at last you are actually getting somewhere !!!" It just shows that nobody really knows what is good art or even just 'art'. I wouldnt even give the slightest relevance to the best known photographers making quotes like "nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept" because they have as little understanding of what art is to me or any other person as the next man.
User_Removed 8 299 4 France
27 Apr 2012 7:01AM
I remember a comment about cowboy movies along the lines of "there are only six western scripts" meaning every thing was a variation of said six and it often springs to mind when viewing photographic mags and sites....in our case numbers one and two seem to involve blurred trees and milky waterscapes....discuss at your peril !!!....stuart
779HOB 6 1.2k United Kingdom
27 Apr 2012 7:58AM
I think it’s easier for people to think of a blurry image as art than a pin sharp one. “ooo, arty”

Paul Biddle’s work falls directly into the art camp for me. Paul was the first person to put a camera in my hand when I was at school and the person who showed me how to use a darkroom - he was my art teacher. His work isn’t blurred at all. I am never sure I like, I often look at it and feel I would like it more if he painted the pictures rather than use photography as his medium.

Link to Paul Biddle's website
rayme330 6 17 1 United Kingdom
27 Apr 2012 10:14AM
The perception of something that is said to be art is exactly that, a perception.
Perceptions are personal and subjective so how can they be qualified.
On that basis every opinion is valid.
779HOB 6 1.2k United Kingdom
27 Apr 2012 11:10AM

Quote:every opinion is valid

Does the opinion of the creator outweigh the opinion on the viewer?
User_Removed 8 299 4 France
27 Apr 2012 11:20AM
Now theres a good question.... in a puristic way only the opinion of the creator is valid...that is until the work is offered for any sort of public consumption or opinion ...in publishing the work (and posting on the internet is publishing ) the creator is open to opinion and if rayme330 is correct all opinion is valid and for me should be equal.
779HOB 6 1.2k United Kingdom
27 Apr 2012 11:47AM

Quote:opinion of the creator is valid...that is until the work is offered for any sort of public consumption or opinion

True enough, but I wonder if the creators opinion about whether they have created art or something else is still the only opinion that matters. Others can say they feel something isn't or is art but surely its the creator who is the only one who can say what it is?
Pat_Stones 6 129 United Kingdom
27 Apr 2012 11:56AM
Someone once took me through his "best" pictures, often explaining why each one was the way it was. "I know it doesn't look very good but the rain was coming in and I had to hurry", "That was deliberate I was trying to emulate such and such"

I think that pictures need to work on their own.

Quote:In his case everyone knows he is an artist and his images are blurred because he intends them to be so

Everyone - or just his friends?
Carabosse 15 41.1k 270 England
27 Apr 2012 1:42PM

Quote:The perception of something that is said to be art is exactly that, a perception.

Same is true of all "art" isn't it.

If you stumbled over Tracey Emin's unmade bed would you immediately assume it is art without being told it is... or assuming it is because it is not in an ordinary bedroom?


User_Removed 8 299 4 France
27 Apr 2012 2:15PM
It is no doubt the fringe areas of all the arts that are viewed as weakening the stance of so called pure art...the impressionists were ridiculed at first as untalented and unable to draw by the establishment just as the mid thirties "soot and snow" photographers of eastern europe were....Tracey Emin and Banksy, Pollack and Hirst suffered the same fate from a similar direction so one becomes aware that pushing the boundries in any art form opens the artist up to a degree of criticism and often vilification.

Whether any one other than the maker has a right to judge the suitability of a piece to be called art is always going to be debatable but I think its is often a form of jealousy over the awards and value afforded to much of the work that raises the question as to its suitability to the title.

As an extra thought....if beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder then maybe so is art.

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