I don't think that if I had the expensive tools of a plumber, I could fix all the plumbing problems in my neighborhood without years of study, years of practice, and a lot of attention to plumbing to the best of my ability. Why should someone believe that money/tools/a camera is the only difference between them and a person who makes their living selling photos as art?
P.S. Maybe the one-liners about expensive CF cards are a little smug, but they're also just a joke.
Well, on this first point, I think you also missed my point. I was not defending the idea that anyone can take a wonderful picture if they have the right equipment, I was trying to say that humility is the best policy. Just as a plumber does not grandstand about his job, neither should a photographer.
On the second point (ie the P.S.), you got it exactly right. It is very smug. I did catch onto the sarcasm that makes it into a joke, but I feel that it is a joke in very bad taste. It's like grinding the faces of his customers in the dirt for not giving him his due. The joke simply makes it that much worse.
Hi and welcome
No, I don't think you missed any points at all; the problem with your post is that you shouldn't challenge any of the established gurus - it makes other people uncomfortable because they either cannot see the reality for themselves or, worse, they do but can't help themselves out of a misplaced sense of respect for someone with whom they have a tenuous contact.
(Now you may be writing with a bit of well concealed sarcasm and if so, I appreciate you bringing up this topic because I would like to expound on this point. If you are not being sarcastic and you really think this way (which wouldn't surprise me after some of the things I've read(though not yours in particular)), thanks anyway. (Hard to tell sometimes with just text. Also, thanks to the guy that pointed out to me that this may be a clever ploy to agree with me.)) <-- sorry for all the nested parentheses it's tough to write a disclaimer for a rant after the rant has been written. Heh heh.
I shouldn't challenge the established gurus? Why not? Are you saying that accountability is a bad thing? Where would we be if people had not challenged the established gurus thousands of times throughout the course of history? The world would most likely be flat, you certainly wouldn't have any camera with which to take pictures (it would probably be satanic witchcraft), and even more interestingly (for all you christians out there (yes I mean you aksundevil)) Jesus would probably still be a Jew. He was the ultimate established guru challenger.
Furthermore, historically art is the medium by which established gurus have been challenged. Look at 80% of the authors in the world whose works have come to be considered literature. Thomas Payne and Jonathan Swift for example. Right now there is even a professor of the University of Arizona who is being held captive in Turkey for writing a FICTIONAL book which challenged the established gurus.
Not only is it ok to challenge the established gurus, you should feel obligated to do so. If you don't, you're concedeing 90% of your rights as an artist and furthering the stagnation of our world culture.
Sorry for getting off on that tangent, I just don't feel this is a valid argument.
Alain's work: yes, he does what he does very well; for a native French speaker he has a remarkable command of the English language - after five or six years spent studying French in school I am ashamed at how little of it remains in my reach - and he is worth a lot of respect for that quality if nothing else.
Well by this reasoning, I'm certainly worth your respect as I speak English, Japanese, Spanish, and even a conversational amount of Portuguese.
Again, this is a poor argument. Language ability does nothing to justify Briot's article. If you claim that his English is a liability and he wasn't trying to come off that way, look at the sarcasm. It was used quite skillfully and with a purpose. If you try to say that he can get away with it because he's cool because he speaks more than one language, I say get real. Don't be swooned so easily by parlor tricks. Given ample time, anyone can learn a second, third, forth, or however many'th language.
(Please insert previous rant disclaimer here ^ and here v)
For me, it seems absurd that a pro spends time complaining about audiences; for somebody else it might be an eye-opener instead. In the final analysis, it is perhaps the best argument that can be made for selling one's work through an agency or gallery: you can avoid the contact if you want to.
But in any respect, bitching about it is not productive.
Ciao - Rob C
Exactly. That's why I dislike his article so much. So much even, that I joined the forums and added a new perspective to the discussion. I'm glad that we agree on this at least.
Or perhaps it is the contempt that he seems to hold for his customers.
I don't think it matters what your medium is, there are always going to be those people that do not understand the process of art making. There are going to be comments about how your art is too expensive, or I could do that, etc, etc... That is a reality of dealing with the public at large.
Personally, I just try to ignore it. I spend some time with real artists (some photographers and some not), and people that do understand the process, and I am assured again that I am on the right path.
I knew I couldn't be the only to see the contempt for his customers. Thank you.
Now to aksundevil: I'm sorry you find certain words profane. I really feel bad that your idea of language has been poisoned so deeply by your environment. Language, like a camera, is a tool by which we communicate our thoughts and emotions. If I am told to withhold certain thoughts and emotions because they disagree with another, I feel that much more compelled to let them out. Strong language describes strong emotions. There is nothing bad about any word. There is only the social programming that causes you to react in preprogrammed ways. Please, take some language classes while you're at ASU (assuming you're still there). Tell Prof. Adams, Norman Dubie, Prof. Nilsen, and all those other crazy English teachers that I said "Hi." Oh, and take the Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology. Its a real eye opener.
Now, I would like to say that I feel bad about some of the personal attacks that I made. So far, no one has commented on them, but I want to talk about it. I was caught up in the heat of the moment, and I should have toned it down and thought it all out a bit more. Granted, I do think that Briot takes a lot of pictures of the same things, and given his comment on his own article as being "variety" and the "spice of life", I would love to see him apply that to his photographs. I think he could do many more interesting things with his camera than he allows himself. But again, my wording was harsh and I apologize.
What it all boils down to is that I feel this article has comprimised the integrity of a site that I cherish and check on a daily basis and have done for almost a year now. The front end of this site is typically very useful and objective. This last post of Briot's would have been best kept in the forums.