You are conflating effort and craft with art. I don't believe that there is a priori any correlation. It wouldn't take much to find many paintings that were apparently easily executed, that are brilliant and moving, and ones which took hundreds of hours of effort but which are crap.
I don't believe I am conflating anything. I have several artists for friends (one of whom is world class), and I know many professional photographers as well, and the level of talent
it takes to paint at a very high level is light years
harder to "get to" than it is to get to a point of producing exceptional photographs.
Basically, world class artistic ability cannot be "taught." The ability to paint exceptionally well is a gift that a person is either born with or they are not. For example, one of my friends graduated from UCLA with an "art degree" ... and in point of fact he has several top-end clients (ranging from Time Warner, Sony, DCon, AOL, Ford, Mattel, and many other Fortune 500 companies who buy his work) ... and I have another artist friend ... who dropped out of school and who has no degree ... and yet it is the second
dropout artist friend who is truly world class. Here are some examples of his work:
Now then, the point I am trying to make is this
Michael: you have over 40,000 members of this board. And I say that virtually none of them
, in their lifetime, could ever
be able to freehand paint with prismacolors and achieve anything remotely as good as what my friend can draw while drinking a cold one.
And yet, I would say that virtually ALL OF US (including me!), if we had a reasonably-decent camera) could take photos
of all 3 subjects ... and with a little training in Photoshop could produce a similar results. When you "push a button" and take a photograph, the camera does everything for you
in regards to proportion
, accuracy of detail
, etc. It is simply a cakewalk to learn "how to focus" ... "how to set ISO" ... and "what S/S to use" ... to "take a clear picture" ... compared to the amount of difficulty and natural talent that it takes to draw freehand with ultra-precision. In other words, it is anything but
a cakewalk to take a blank piece of paper, and with nothing but inks/paints/pastels to create all of the dimensional accuracy, color accuracy, facial expressions, etc. BY HAND.
So, no, I am not
talking about "the amount of time" it takes to make a "crappy" painting, I am talking about the level of talent
it takes to make a truly accurate painting AND a work of art, on top of the amount of time that it takes ... all with nothing but your bare hands.
A friend of mine is one of the only people in the world who makes carbon pigment photographic prints. Each print can take as much as a week and some 40-60 hours to complete. They are exquisite as objet d'art, but are only as good artistically as the image from which they are made (which happen in his case to be very good as well).
Art and craft are not the same thing. They are partners. The worth of a work of art lies in its intrinsic ability to move the viuewer, not in how many coffee breaks needed to be taken during its creation.
I understand what you are saying about craft versus art, but a photographer always
has it easier than a world class freehand artist. Why? Because when a photographer "clicks his finger" the detail of the face, the eyes, the expression, the color, etc. are instantly
"there" with precision. The photographer does NOT have to "create" this kind of precision by hand, off of a blank piece of paper. Hell, with a basic understanding of how a camera works, and a halfway decent camera, any newbie could go visit a magnificent sunset and within a few moments "snap" a breathtaking shot. But to paint
that same sunset would take weeks, months
in some cases, and the amount of people who could do "this" with a little training is much more limited. It simply takes a much higher degree of natural talent to paint at a high level with skill
Regarding the "art" end of things, two people may have the same "artistic eye" for beauty, but the photographer just sets up his gear and pushes a button and he has his vision onhand. The painter not only has to have the same eye, but he has to have a degree of natural talent that is just not very common. He doesn't just have to spend weeks/months
in creating his vision ... he has to have the talent
to get all of the proportions correctly from scratch ... whereas anyone who points a good camera at a subject gets "that subject" automatically handed to him by the camera.
There is simply a world of difference IMO ... no disrespect to any photographer, including myself