Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => But is it Art? => Topic started by: GeraldB on December 04, 2012, 01:25:45 PM

Title: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: GeraldB on December 04, 2012, 01:25:45 PM
Watching Lula video journal #20 I was surprised to hear Art Wolfe saying that he does not do his own post processing and printing. Make no mistake I think his photo's are amazing, just that I feel a little disappointed because now I'm not sure how much of the picture is "his". Not from a copyright perspective but from an artistic perspective. So it raises the question how little can you do and still claim to be the artist? I'd be interested to hear what the community thinks. For the record I think field work, post and presentation are all equally important and the end object should be fully created by the artist. What are  your views?
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on December 04, 2012, 02:09:47 PM
... how little can you do and still claim to be the artist?...

I hope you do not imply that doing it right in-camera is your definition of "how little"? Art Wolfe honed his skills in the film era, where you had to do it right at the moment of capture, thus he probably needs very little post-processing today.

I'll throw in the opposite challenge: how little can you do in-camera and still claim to be a photographer (and not photoshopographer™)? ;)
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: WalterEG on December 04, 2012, 02:20:57 PM
Art Wolfe honed his skills in the film era, where you had to do it right at the moment of capture, thus he probably needs very little post-processing today.

I'll throw in the opposite challenge: how little can you do in-camera and still claim to be a photographer (and not photoshopographer™)? ;)

The best comment I have read on a forum in years.  Have people forgotten already that there was (is) another way?  Perhaps many couldn't forget because they were never aware of how things could be done.

Cheers,

Walter
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: John Gellings on December 04, 2012, 02:26:03 PM
The essense of photography is looking through a view finder and framing content with a unique vision.  You can be an artist and / or a photographer simply by doing this.  Many people don't print their own work... Do not get so mixed up in technical stuff that you don't ever notice what really matters i.e. content / vision (the ability to see).  Don;t look through the history of photography to see who printed their own... you may get really disappointed. 
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: GeraldB on December 04, 2012, 02:32:36 PM
I don't believe any fine are painting artists stopped at the sketch and got someone else to paint it for them. Why can photographers do that and call it art (as opposed to business).
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: GeraldB on December 04, 2012, 04:22:10 PM
I think my previous comment was a bit more cryptic than I intended.

I mean framing and shooting an image does not provide something anyone else can see. So it needs some processing and presentation effort. Print or web or other from a presentation point of view. Similarly the post processing could be fairly basic like global lightroom adjustments. But there needs to be something. So if someone other than the photographer is adjusting the image in post and prepping it for web or printing it then it seems that someone needs to be recognized as part of the creation of the image.

If its a business and its about cost and efficiency then I can understand having a team that all contribute. But is that really art? Is art not more a personal contribution - often not very profitable.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: GeraldB on December 04, 2012, 04:37:51 PM
Slobodan, Walter I'm not suggesting that getting it right in the camera is a bad thing, nor how much processing is required. Its just that getting from in camera capture to print cannot be that simple even for Art Wolfe otherwise he would have done it himself. Looking at the images I saw in the video I'd imagine they took quite a bit of post processing and great printing to look so good.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: AFairley on December 04, 2012, 05:51:24 PM
I mean framing and shooting an image does not provide something anyone else can see.

Well, back when I was shooting color film, I did not have the equipment nor the skill to do my own printing (unlike my B&W stuff), so a custom lab made the prints, usually going through several iterations of reviewing proofs with the printer and making adustments to exposure, color and local adustment (aka dodging and burning).  That was really no different than me doing PP on my digital files now; just a different interface and different tools, you could say.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: GeraldB on December 04, 2012, 05:57:56 PM
Interesting perspective Alan. So having someone do the work based on what the photographer tells them is like having a voice operated version of photoshop  :). Its like having a "Make it Good" button on PS. I've been looking for that for ages.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: digitaldog on December 04, 2012, 06:09:44 PM
Last time I was at Art's, he had a big room filled with Epson printers. He himself didn't make the prints but trust me, he oversaw the output that ended up in the gallery.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Ed B on December 04, 2012, 10:05:13 PM

I'll throw in the opposite challenge: how little can you do in-camera and still claim to be a photographer (and not photoshopographer™)? ;)

Hmmm.......I get what you are saying but the printing/processing process is just as important as the actual shoot whether it be film or digital. Would Adams' work have been as effective without his use of the zone system and his printing skills? Neither of those has anything to do with vision and composition but a poorly processed image can be just as detrimental to the finished work as a fuzzy idea.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: petermfiore on December 04, 2012, 10:58:58 PM
I don't believe any fine are painting artists stopped at the sketch and got someone else to paint it for them. Why can photographers do that and call it art (as opposed to business).


Ever hear of Jeff Koons.



Peter
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: GeraldB on December 05, 2012, 06:47:51 AM
I hadn't but I have now looked at his website. It seems he is mostly a sculptor. I don't quite get his relevance to this thread. Care to elaborate?
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: John Gellings on December 05, 2012, 07:58:18 AM

I mean framing and shooting an image does not provide something anyone else can see. So it needs some processing and presentation effort.

Really?  I think you may need to rethink this.  If this was true, then why are some photographers better than others?  It isn't because of processing and printing.  Many images are good enough out of camera to be printed.  Concepts are what makes great photography great... technical stuff is a given once you are at a certain level.  

Sounds to me that you can only appreciate the hands on aspect of photograph and cannot truly see from a composition / content point of view yet.  Only other photographers care about technical stuff.  Most of your audience won't care... they will only look at the photo. 
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: petermfiore on December 05, 2012, 08:26:27 AM
I hadn't but I have now looked at his website. It seems he is mostly a sculptor. I don't quite get his relevance to this thread. Care to elaborate?


Sure.
At first Koons made his bones as a painter. He has many paintings placed in museums world wide and several paintings that are in the Whitney Museum (NYC), one of which was painted in it's entirely by a friend of mine. At that time my friend was an employee of the Koons' factory. This is pretty standard practice in the Fine Art Factory world, and has been for centuries. I don't mean to single out Mr.
Koons, he is just an obvious example to illustrate my point.

Peter

PS    Today the Koons machine makes many more paintings than they do sculpture.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: GeraldB on December 05, 2012, 12:43:17 PM
Peter that's very interesting. I didn't know that painters do that. How would it work, does Koons do the first one and the employees do copies, or does he rough out an original and tell them to what colors to paint where?

John, what I mean is when the image is in your camera or on your computer it cannot be seen by others unless they are standing next to you and look over your shoulder. So you need to do something to the image to make it presentable. Even images that need "no" work and are perfect out of the camera need to be adjusted in some small way for presentation. For example the colors on the screen don't always print that way, so paper choice, how to adjust the image to look right on paper are necessary steps. One could even argue that framing and lighting are important steps. Audiences look at a photo and appreciate all those things but most are unaware of how all these things come together to give them their experience.

So coming back to Art Wolfe. If there is "almost nothing" to do between capture the final image why not take the jpg out of the camera and send it to Costco to print. It would be much cheaper for him. Clearly the people working for him can do a much better job which indicates to me there is somewhat more that "almost nothing" going on.

And by the way I'm raising a general question and unfortunately Art Wolfe got involved simply to illustrate my point. I think his pictures are terrific, great concepts and compositions.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: AFairley on December 05, 2012, 01:05:45 PM
I don't believe any fine are painting artists stopped at the sketch and got someone else to paint it for them. Why can photographers do that and call it art (as opposed to business).

A bunch of Rennaisance masters come to mind...  There also was the practice of having the master paint the main figure and the assistants paint the background.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Justan on December 06, 2012, 10:16:18 AM
^^Not just during the Renaissance, but the concept of groups painting works which is claimed by the artist or the artist’s studio has a long history.

Anyone fortunate enough will probably hire one or more assistants and hand off as much of the work as possible to them.

As an aside, some acquaintances are friends of Mr Wolfe, and said he’s not primarily a technician.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Ben Rubinstein on December 06, 2012, 12:24:44 PM
HCB didn't do his own printing.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Isaac on December 06, 2012, 12:30:38 PM
But is that really art? Is art not more a personal contribution - often not very profitable.

"...art ...such a word may mean very different things in different times and places..."


"If he showed talent and knew how to imitate his master's manner to perfection, the youth would gradually be given more important things to do -- perhaps paint a whole picture from the master's sketch and under his supervision. These, then, were the 'schools of painting' of the fifteenth century." p248 The Story of Art (http://books.google.com/books?id=e_1M3BKhC-8C&dq=%22If+he+showed+talent+and+knew+how+to+imitate%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=rtHAUKzDHomEjALR2YGACA&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA)

"Duchamp thought it was for artists to decide what was and what was not a work of art. His position was that if an artist said something was a work of art, having influenced its context and meaning, then it was a work of art." p6 What Are You Looking At? (http://books.google.com/books?id=gBXxKol-XVYC)


"Damien Hirst's 'simple-minded' works, and an art world where prices bear no relation to talent" (http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2008/sep/13/damienhirst.art)

"How the bad boy of Brit-Art grew rich at the expense of his investors" (http://www.economist.com/node/16990811)


Perhaps you have in mind something more like --

"To make art is to pursue an idea in a visual way..."
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: GeraldB on December 06, 2012, 12:54:28 PM
Thanks for the links Isaac. I'll follow them up later.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: JohnCox123 on December 08, 2012, 10:08:55 PM
Not that long ago we all shot slide film and that was the end product. If it was printed it was on CibaChrome papers and there wasn't a whole lot we could do other than give vague instructions to the printers.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: John Gellings on December 11, 2012, 07:47:52 AM
If there is "almost nothing" to do between capture the final image why not take the jpg out of the camera and send it to Costco to print. It would be much cheaper for him.

and if it fit the project he is working on there would be nothing wrong with doing this...
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: David Sutton on December 11, 2012, 09:12:11 PM
If you want to see an example of a photographer working with his printer have a look at this documentary on James Nactwey (just over half way through)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DN8_C_ADeCY
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Patricia Sheley on December 12, 2012, 01:40:47 AM
The Nachtwey works always leave me almost unable to breathe, and seeing that passion, his continuing to live in the immensity and tragedy yet reality of it all is an entirely different world than the small, comfortable place we habituate in our society. This is powerful...and awakening ...and a call to another place.

Indebted to you for this check on our "reality". The extraordinary flow of understanding between the two of them is on another level all together. Thankyou for bringing this clip to the above discussions...something of relativity has hit me hard...
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: GeraldB on December 12, 2012, 01:36:45 PM
Powerful and disturbing imagery. Definitely art IMHO. Interesting that his goal is not so much to create images as to tell a story.
Interesting to see the interaction between photographer and printer. Thanks for the post David.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: SunnyUK on December 13, 2012, 07:09:25 PM
It does indeed sound like the pictures ought to be known as "by Art Wolfe & Co". Nothing wrong in having assistants, but in this day and age, I think there is something wrong with not giving credit to those who make a masterpiece come alive.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: ErikKaffehr on December 14, 2012, 12:47:34 AM
Hi,

There is certainly something to it...

In the film days we did it in the camera, mostly, at least using transparency film. There were of course master printers, translating an image on film to paper was an art of it's own. The darkroom artists seldom got the credits.

Lennart Nilsson made a lot of famous photographs and many were made on SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope), those black and white came to live when printed by swedish master printer Gillis Hägg.

The essay http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/the_making_of_sugarloaf_rock.shtml here on LuLa was a bit of eye opener to me, how much can be done in post, but also asking how much is to much?

In the video I have seen that Art (still) uses grad filters, for instance. That is part of the art of making it in the camera.


Best regards
Erik


I hope you do not imply that doing it right in-camera is your definition of "how little"? Art Wolfe honed his skills in the film era, where you had to do it right at the moment of capture, thus he probably needs very little post-processing today.

I'll throw in the opposite challenge: how little can you do in-camera and still claim to be a photographer (and not photoshopographer™)? ;)
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: John Gellings on December 14, 2012, 09:13:01 AM
Great vision and content always comes first.  Once you have that, priniting and post processing can only try to make it better.  Wihtout the former, the latter doesn't matter much.  I think a few of you are focused in the wrong place when it comes to the talent that matters most... seeing!
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Rob C on December 15, 2012, 05:51:23 AM
I believe that it all depends on the purpose of the image.

If you are talking about art as in an expression of the individual’s form of vision, then that’s one thing, but you can’t fairly or intelligently cross over into the realm of commerce with that theory.

Professionals make images that someone else wants to buy. Whether those are printed or processed by another person doesn’t currently matter a whole lot in the general scheme of things: the deal is for a convincing and professionally sound product that fills the brief that gave it birth. The rest is immaterial. A war shooter has to reveal the pain and the fear and the events. An advertising photographer has to show the product or, as in the case of Pirelli, the myth surrounding the brand to best advantage or he doesn’t get paid and does, probably, have to claim on his insurance if he effs up. Reshoots don’t come for free. A paparazzo has the need to show celebrity as vulnerable or stupìd; a newspaper shooter is still saddled with a political agenda as much as was HC-B and also were his peers. Balaclavas owe their renaissance to the press photographers of ‘Fleet Street’.

Now, today, it’s debatable whether the commercial world currently allows any photographer to claim that his work is a true reflection of himself: there’s that character known as the art director who shares space with other part-players such as stylists and hair… almost forgot the client in that list; whose handwriting is the strongest? Is the photographer’s now the weakest?

In the past, countless people such as myself just got the job and then took off for the outside world with their model and maybe a coolie or two (you know what I meant, love…) and whatever came home with them, whether it was or was not the bacon, it was all their’s and the model’s. And everybody knew it. That was the time when personal style existed and you could look at Vogue or Playboy and reliably guess the snapper’s name without reading the credits. You look at those glossies today, or at top model agency sites, and they are all indistinguishably plastic, clones one of the other. It’s almost as if the name of the game is not to have a unique identity, but to share a common one: the era of the single ‘look’.

But, if you want to speak about, and if you identify art with the oeuvre of the single individual, then I believe you have the right to expect that whatever bears that person’s signature represents his own, personal, production: the fruit of his own sweat. Anything short of that, and I personally believe you are dealing with commerce and not art. And don’t forget that the Old Masters were commercial artists, probably every godddam one of ‘em.

As for the importance of the negative, print or ultimate file in representing the work of the artist (I exclude processing of transparency material because the objective there is for perfect standardization of process, which a good lab can usually do better than an individual), well there is no difference there from the situation with a paper print: the artefact is the image, the child of the mind of the producer. Introduce another personality into the process and you have the interesting situation of the cuckold: is baby a bastard or not? (In this instance you must overlook the discomfort to the innocents.) You could say that in the world of the collector, provenance is the genetic paternity test. And when you think of the money sometimes concerned, possibly even more important a distinction.

Thing is, honesty is really a very basic concept. There is no difficulty or ambiguity about it: something is or is not all your own work. Andy W. was honest: he himself called it The Factory. As with everything, the buyer should be left in no doubts about how or from where his purchase originates. And as ever, caveat emptor.

Your conclusion and ultimate belief regarding your position as artist depends on your interests in the matter, whether fiscal or simply based on your own ability to complete the various functions of artist, photographic or otherwise; level of ability colours much!

Rob C


Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: opgr on December 15, 2012, 07:06:25 AM
Perhaps there is also this aspect of an innate urge to express a message through an artistic medium combined with requirement of food for money to actually stay alive to be able to make that expression. Mozart produced a lot of music which certainly wasn't meant to be played or directed by only himself, but the exceptional pieces will likely stand the test of time for a quite a while yet. And I am not a Mozart fan by any means, but I do appreciate his lifetime productions.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: jeremypayne on December 15, 2012, 08:10:49 AM
Sol LeWitt ... Should be part of this discussion ...

http://www.massmoca.org/event_details.php?id=27
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Rob C on December 15, 2012, 11:29:41 AM
Sol LeWitt ... Should be part of this discussion ...

http://www.massmoca.org/event_details.php?id=27


A great link: it's just frozen itself on another tab; I'll have to make a forced computer closure to get rid of the mother.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: GeraldB on December 16, 2012, 07:38:47 AM
Rob, you should give writing lessons. I could not have said it better. Untangling the personal creation of an artifact that is the artist versus a successful business. And I know artists have to eat but historically quite a few did not each much - for this reason I would guess.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Fine_Art on December 16, 2012, 08:58:06 PM
Art is a master of the shot. He knows what animals are about to do. He is an expert mountain climber with the endurance to be out there when others give up. To me it makes perfect sense that he does what he enjoys.

His work is amazing.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: RFPhotography on December 21, 2012, 11:37:42 PM
HCB didn't do his own printing.

Seems everyone after missed this.  Voya Mitrovic printed for Bresson.  And others, if I recall.  It wasn't uncommon for photographers to work with others in having their prints made in the film days.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: David Hufford on December 23, 2012, 07:08:02 AM
Seems everyone after missed this.  Voya Mitrovic printed for Bresson.  And others, if I recall.  It wasn't uncommon for photographers to work with others in having their prints made in the film days.

So true.

This thread has made me feel about 120 years old. It was not that long ago that there was little choice for most of us if we used color. And of course Henri Cartier-Bresson's lack of interest in printing his own photos is, or was, well-known. Nobody seemed to doubt his talents because of that. I am pretty sure that Josef Koudelka had others print at least some of his work too. I recall reading somewhere that the person who printed his famous photo of the horse and man in Romania 1968 http://bit.ly/12xSca6 had a very difficult time printing it as it appears. Edited to add, I just checked and found the Koudelka used the same printer as Bresson, Voja Mitrovic, and it was not only the horse photo that was difficult to print. See The Online Photographer: http://bit.ly/apEQfU

Frankly, if I were doing this for a living and could find someone to process mine to my standards for a reasonable fee, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Rob C on December 23, 2012, 12:30:38 PM
Yes, of course it's often the norm to have others print your work; but that's not the same if your work is being touted as art rather than straight commerce; HC-B never, to my reading, ever claimed his photos were art, just good geometry. Which they were.

Rob C
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on December 23, 2012, 12:42:55 PM
Yes, of course it's often the norm to have others print your work; but that's not the same if your work is being touted as art...

The art part belongs to the photographer... printing is the craft part.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: petermfiore on December 23, 2012, 12:53:42 PM
The art part belongs to the photographer... printing is the craft part.

Many artists who do etchings have master printers. Mastering the craft of printing etchings is a whole life's adventure.



Peter
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Rob C on December 23, 2012, 05:46:21 PM
The art part belongs to the photographer... printing is the craft part.



You have got to be joking: they are inseperable Siamese twins; the yin and the yang of the thing!

Rob C
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: RFPhotography on December 23, 2012, 07:34:53 PM
Yes, of course it's often the norm to have others print your work; but that's not the same if your work is being touted as art rather than straight commerce; HC-B never, to my reading, ever claimed his photos were art, just good geometry. Which they were.

Rob C

Bresson may not have touted his work as art but I think there'd be little disagreement among others that it is.  Isn't most good photography also good geometry?

I don't really see a disconnect between someone else doing the printing and the pictures being considered art. 

In the digital world, the fact that Wolfe may have someone else edit and print really isn't any different.  The editing is simpy much of the work that, in the past, was done on the enlarger.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Rob C on December 24, 2012, 04:07:29 AM
Bresson may not have touted his work as art but I think there'd be little disagreement among others that it is.  Isn't most good photography also good geometry?

I don't really see a disconnect between someone else doing the printing and the pictures being considered art. 
In the digital world, the fact that Wolfe may have someone else edit and print really isn't any different.  The editing is simpy much of the work that, in the past, was done on the enlarger.


Really?  Guess that's one point of view. But then, whose art, if it looks like art, would that be: snapper's or printers's, or do you feel a printer can't be an artist in his own right, or can simly throw a switch and not imprress his own take on the result? Since a printer isn't a machine, then maybe the way out of the moral quagmire is to print using an automatic machine, in which case, only a strong art photographer could make the picture look like art; he'd ride above the process and the image be totally his. But then, whom but himself could he blame for the 99.9% failure rates we all generally achieve? ;-)

Regarding HC-B: I don't think his photography is art; I think his photography is acute observational skill. His craftmanship isn't even that good, if you look at a lot of his work. He always looked and sounded somewhat bemused in the few interviews I've managed to catch of him: perhaps he couldn't, really couldn't understand what the fuss was all about.

Rob C
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: mac_paolo on December 24, 2012, 04:29:28 AM
The art part belongs to the photographer... printing is the craft part.
Can't really agree with that. Clicking "Print One" is craft. Making adjustments based upon the prints, choosing the paper, choosing a particular printing technique, and so on, they're all part of the art.
Shipping the print to the customer is beyond art. Everything before that step, to me, it's still part of the process.
An artist may work with other artists (those who print) and none of them is less an artist. Mr. Wolfe is just an artist which doesn't do prints.
His effort stops with the shot and there should be judged. Other photographers may go further and for those more steps may get even better, or worse.

To me the print artists should be credited as well, but that's another topic.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: John Gellings on December 24, 2012, 08:43:25 AM
Yes, of course it's often the norm to have others print your work; but that's not the same if your work is being touted as art rather than straight commerce; HC-B never, to my reading, ever claimed his photos were art, just good geometry. Which they were.

Rob C

So, HCB was just straight commerce? 
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: RFPhotography on December 24, 2012, 11:48:48 AM
Rob, as far as you're concerned no one is as good as you so I'm afraid I don't put a lot of stock into your comments of Bresson's technical quality.  While it is true that some of his shots weren't 'tack sharp' or had other technical flaws, I don't believe a photo has to be technically perfect to be a good or compelling photo.

Can a printer be an artist in his/her own right?  That's a good question but I'd tend to think not.  As far as a printer making a particular photo his/her own, that negates the fact that the photographers who have others do their printing are still heavily involved in the process, advising or guiding the direction of the printer to the final result.  It's not simply a matter of the printer independently interpreting the image.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: mac_paolo on December 24, 2012, 12:38:47 PM
Can a printer be an artist in his/her own right?  That's a good question but I'd tend to think not.  As far as a printer making a particular photo his/her own, that negates the fact that the photographers who have others do their printing are still heavily involved in the process, advising or guiding the direction of the printer to the final result.  It's not simply a matter of the printer independently interpreting the image.
A good friend of mine makes wood frames. He doesn't paint (however, he is a very good photographer as well), yet I still think he is an artisan/artist.
Telling him how would I like the frame to be done doesn't make him less an artist, as when a committer tells the photographer what she or he needs for a specific work.
Sometimes I have the impression that some people tend to overestimate their own work and underestimate others'.
I'm pretty sure a lot of printers (people, not printing machines) may think the same about photographers ("Those people that just click a button on a camera and leave all the most important/delicate/artistic work to us"...). In the end it's a lot about point of views. :)
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on December 24, 2012, 12:51:08 PM
... "Those people that just click a button on a camera...

A family had a squeaking floor that was driving them nuts. They tried this and that, nothing worked. Finally, they called a handyman. He came, walked around a few minutes, pulled a single nail and hammered it. The squeaking stopped, the family was delighted... until they saw the bill: $100. "What, $100 for one nail!?" "No, ma'm," replied the handyman "$1 for the nail... knowing where to put it: $99."
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Rob C on December 24, 2012, 04:25:18 PM
So, HCB was just straight commerce?  


Mostly, he was just straight magazine/press/print.

That doesn't mean he didn't have one of the best eyes around, but it wasn't art insofar as he or anyone else (outwith the groupie or art marketing worlds) seems to have thought out loud. You have got to realise that when someone reaches a certain level of exposure, they cease to be what they actually are; they become deified, whether they like it or not, and from his interviews (those I've seen) he didn't like it one bit, saying that his brush and pencil work were what he found important. Hell, he even abandoned photography altogether, but not his pencils!

If you want a realistic view on photography, look up the Brian Duffy website and watch the BBC video about him. Or, try to find David Bailey speaking on the topic. Those guys got so big they don't need the mystique of faux photographic art in their lives; Bailey also paints, apart from other creative things.

Rob C
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Rob C on December 24, 2012, 04:39:46 PM
Rob, as far as you're concerned no one is as good as you so I'm afraid I don't put a lot of stock into your comments of Bresson's technical quality.  While it is true that some of his shots weren't 'tack sharp' or had other technical flaws, I don't believe a photo has to be technically perfect to be a good or compelling photo.

1.  I think that comment is totally uncalled for; I did what I did and do what I do, and that's all. Yes, I did print a damned sight better than most professional photographers that I knew, and have no false modesty about something I could see and was also told by some of them, as well as by clients who used several of us.

2.  On your second point, you have agreed with me, so where the argument? Nobody is saying that technical perfection is all. A good or compelling image does not of itself constitute 'art' in the sense of which we seem to speak. Neither does its absence. We could go on forever trying to define the term and there aren't years enough for that. However, none of it makes or does not make HC-B anything other than a damned fine photographer. I must think so; I've bought his stuff. An 'art' photographer? I don't think so.

Rob C

Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: RFPhotography on December 24, 2012, 04:48:37 PM
A good friend of mine makes wood frames. He doesn't paint (however, he is a very good photographer as well), yet I still think he is an artisan/artist.
Telling him how would I like the frame to be done doesn't make him less an artist, as when a committer tells the photographer what she or he needs for a specific work.
Sometimes I have the impression that some people tend to overestimate their own work and underestimate others'.
I'm pretty sure a lot of printers (people, not printing machines) may think the same about photographers ("Those people that just click a button on a camera and leave all the most important/delicate/artistic work to us"...). In the end it's a lot about point of views. :)

There is a difference, I think, between being a fine artisan or craftsman and an artist.  Personally I wouldn't consider a frame to be art.  Similarly, I wouldn't consider a genuine Louis 14 chair to be art either, despite it perhaps being visually appealing.  And no, I don't undervalue the work of others and overvalue my own.  I think my comments in this discussion should bear that out.

No, Rob, I haven't agreed with you. We said two entirely different things and you seem to feel we said the sme things. 
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: mac_paolo on December 24, 2012, 04:59:21 PM
There is a difference, I think, between being a fine artisan or craftsman and an artist.  Personally I wouldn't consider a frame to be art.  Similarly, I wouldn't consider a genuine Louis 14 chair to be art either, despite it perhaps being visually appealing.  And no, I don't undervalue the work of others and overvalue my own.  I think my comments in this discussion should bear that out.
Maybe it's just because living in Tuscany and admiring the work of a lot of artisans, I sincerely grew the belief that their own is real art.
They certainly do think that way :)
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Rob C on December 25, 2012, 03:48:19 AM
Maybe it's just because living in Tuscany and admiring the work of a lot of artisans, I sincerely grew the belief that their own is real art.
They certainly do think that way :)


Yes, and because they can make beautiful things ot of mud or pigment, they are artists. That's creation.

Rob C
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Rob C on December 25, 2012, 04:54:55 AM
No, Rob, I haven't agreed with you. We said two entirely different things and you seem to feel we said the sme things. 



No, I don’t think we are saying different things at all, and I still feel rather pissed at your earlier personal comment, which I find quite unjustified.

Anyway, I suppose you are entiltled to feel whatever you wish to feel, so there you go –  all the flaws of democracy at work.

But you did get me thinking and wondering about where I’d place great photographers in the general scheme of the business. This is a brief listing of how they strike me, and who they are.

Sam Haskins: highly-honed technique, natural artist. Style-setter. See Five Girls, Cowboy Kate & Other Stories.

David Hamilton: uncomplicated, honestly beautiful technique if suspect genre, natural artist. Where I’d love to be today, if with older models. See Dreams of Young Girls.

Frank Horvat: photographic polymath; capable of excellent reportage and, surprisingly for that, many facets of fashion.

Sarah Moon: one of the original thinkers of her era; much copied for her early style, but never matched for her delivery of it. My favourite Pirelli. An artist.

Hans Feurer: instantly recognizable style delivered faultlessly, much as you’d expect from a designer/photographer. Also much copied, as are many other artists too, for better or for worse.

Jean Loup Sieff: really to grasp his spìrit demands one read his last, eponymously titled life-book, published by Taschen just after his death. Man, art, words, elfin and quicksilver yet infinitlely sad spirit, come together better within than anywhere else I’ve yet discovered.

The list could be much longer, but both instant recall and time are short. If you choose to explore any of them on the Web, it’ll tell you more than I can.

Rob C
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: RSL on December 25, 2012, 02:51:41 PM
Like Rob, I'm sure that if HCB were to hear somebody call him an "art photographer" he'd roll on the floor laughing. But that's not to say that he wasn't one of the great artists of the 20th century.

I hardly can believe I've seen photographers say what they've said in this thread. Photography isn't about post-processing; it's about cropping: throwing frames around the world in such a way that the result is so focused viewers see something and learn something they didn't see and learn in passing. Sometimes good post-processing helps, but unless the image is there good post-processing is meaningless. The idea that a photographer has to do his own processing in order for the result to be "art" is risible.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Rob C on December 25, 2012, 04:09:56 PM
Like Rob, I'm sure that if HCB were to hear somebody call him an "art photographer" he'd roll on the floor laughing. But that's not to say that he wasn't one of the great artists of the 20th century.

I hardly can believe I've seen photographers say what they've said in this thread. Photography isn't about post-processing; it's about cropping: throwing frames around the world in such a way that the result is so focused viewers see something and learn something they didn't see and learn in passing. Sometimes good post-processing helps, but unless the image is there good post-processing is meaningless. The idea that a photographer has to do his own processing in order for the result to be "art" is risible.



I'm a bit disturbed by this reference to the viewer learning something; why can't he just enjoy it without anything more intellectually pressing than that? Risible or not, it strikes me that anybody who refers to himself as an artist must have a very elastic idea of the meaning of his job description if he allows or needs others to complete the 'work/art' for him. Shooting something is but a fraction of the whole, and in the world of b/w film especially, there's no need for a snapper to delegate because the darkroom effort is minimal if a digital output is contemplated.

I mean, we all know perfectly well that a print can be made to look a million different ways. Giving detailed instructions isn't any excuse for not doing the thing one's self. If it is, then anyone could call a pretty postcard reproduction, a pic in a magazine, a mass reproduction anywhere in any medium a work of art. It most certainly is not: only the original, final print is the completed work of art. That’s a problem of limited or unlimited editions, too. Where does art stop being an original work? Print number 2, or can one go up to print number 2005 and it still remains original art?

The frame one throws around the subject is only the start in the creative cycle: it has no body, is a quite intangible thing without concrete meaning. The negative isn’t much better, whereas a transparency is an entity in its own right, a real, completed piece of art (should the subject/execution permit the appellation). Any negative or file is only a step in the process: until there is a physical print the thing doesn’t really exist other than in legal considerations such as copyright etc.

The final step, the print, to be morally the work of the author, has to be the product of his hand and eye. Anything less, and you see that concern and doubt reflected in the big-time art world where there is huge interest in provenance and who printed what and when.

If the photographer is incapable of printing his own work, then he’s the lesser artist for it. Another form of impotence, then.

Rob C
 

Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: GeraldB on December 27, 2012, 06:32:34 PM
And now for the ultimate hands-off "photographer" ...    Concepts only please.
(Gregory Crewdson (http://vimeo.com/31567427#))
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: WalterEG on December 27, 2012, 06:53:33 PM
Bravo Crewdson!

Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Rob C on December 28, 2012, 11:01:13 AM
I love the idea: intimate, heart-felt portraits of a set-up small town. Quite touching. Just like the imaginary characters played out by that divine, self-casting lady snapper whose name I've temporarily forgotten, but will always think of as with suitcase by the side of a road to nowhere. Or as a busty bird in nurse's uniform. Ah, the world of art. Wish I knew how to open the door. Hmmm... she could have/might have being playing my recent dentist, too.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: WalterEG on December 28, 2012, 03:32:37 PM
Just like the imaginary characters played out by that divine, self-casting lady snapper whose name I've temporarily forgotten,

Cindy Sherman ??  Or Bunny Yeager?  LOL
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Rob C on December 28, 2012, 05:13:42 PM
Cindy Sherman ??  Or Bunny Yeager?  LOL


Walter, how could you? Bunny used a Rolleiflex and, quite often, swimsuits.

(I think she was friends with Peter Gowland.)

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: WalterEG on December 28, 2012, 05:21:39 PM
Anyone who was anyone used a Rolleiflex back then Rob,

Except the aforementioned Peter Gowland who used it as a principle behind his mammoth Gowlandflex.

(I was fortunate enough to have met Peter Gowland and his wife in about 1967 when they were over here.  At the age I was then it was like a one-one with a deity.}

I wonder if PG actually did his own prints?  Maybe on his own adaptation of a Durst Laborator 138.

LOL

Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Rob C on December 28, 2012, 05:51:21 PM
I used one too (Rollei) around the end of that decade; I wish I still had it. At least I'd have got more shots of that darned car today.

He, PG, was one of the best; one of his models drove me crazy with photographic lust, nothing carnal at all, just wishful, camera shootin' thinking. She was also a Playmate at one time, and if I can find a link I'll give you her name. She was divine. Diane Webber! Got it!

I never met him but I did exchange some E-mail with his widow. I think he also used a 'blad with a 250mm: I'm sure I remember a portrait of someone somewhere where he states that, but I saw so many pics back then... he, along with Don Ornitz, Peter Basch, Francis Giacobetti, Mario Casilli and Pompeo Posar were my gurus in the girls field, but the fashion thing sported a different set of gods altogether for me. I don't include Sam-the-man Haskins in the first list; somehow, for me at least, he rises above all of it. Funny, but women have always been the greatest things in my life. From mother thru wife and over to models, they always did more for my soul and morale than anything else of which I can think. Women...  Imagine! One of them with a Ferrari and she wants to give me the keys! I did say imagine, didn't I?

Walter, you really were in the presence.

Rob C

P.S. Pucker Up, Buttercup! Just hearing that on klrzfm; how can anyone resist such talent, especially 'round midnight? Hey, don't get me wrong - it's just the song that grabs me like that.
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Iluvmycam on December 28, 2012, 09:38:33 PM
Not much is needed it seems. Maybe just a sig? Lots of artists have factories that produce art under their name nd they jsut overseee it. Watch ART:21 on PBS.

I saw a vid on Cindy Sherman. She puts on lots of makeup, makes a funny face. Shoots a pix of herself in front of a green screen. Then she sends it in to get PP and has them add a background and print it for her. She gets $3 or $4 million for it...and she failed intro to photography class in college!

In my own case. I do it all (Shoot, PP & Print.) I have very good work and am routinely rejected for even giving my work away for free.

That is our world...
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: l_d_allan on March 03, 2013, 06:01:32 PM
Rob, you should give writing lessons. I could not have said it better.

Agree. Appears that the OP has done a 180 on his original thoughts.

My 2¢:
Title: Re: Surprised Art Wolfe does not do his own post and print- how much is enough
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on March 12, 2013, 07:36:37 PM
For my two penneth.

I must admit I too was a little disappointed to hear on the LLVJ 20, Art saying that he didn't PP his own work, printing and framing is an another issue and I have no problem with that. But the artistic and creative process I thought, demanded the hand and the eye of the artist all the way through until the work is complete and ready for printing. I mean how can it be entirely his vision and his vision alone, if he doesn't fully know what the image is going to turn out like, until someone shows him the final result and what they have made of it? But for all that, his images are truly amazing and that's what really counts in the end I suppose and after all, he is the one who saw the original potential, even if he doesn’t see it through to completion.

It's just a bit like the feeling I would get if I went to see a 'live' band or singer, only to realise they are lip-syncing to their own record playing in the background, it isn't what I would want or expect, I would be disappointed.

Dave