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Author Topic: Fine Art Photography Top 16  (Read 25502 times)

Rob C

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #40 on: December 29, 2011, 03:47:47 AM »


Really? Define "very good photographer" or "technician"?
Oh, and while you are at it also define "artist".
And finally, why can someone be teached to be a good "technician", yet by apparently the same standards not an "artist"?
If it is the core ability (competence?) to respond to stimuli, then you have no clue what a "technician" is.



Not so; learning to be a technician, good or bad, is all about learning to remember largely mechanical steps in the accomplishment of a task. It's how you become an engineer in a factory, producing widgets. And the world needs many widgets, not many works of art.

Being an 'artist' is a God-given ability that you have, even despite yourself. Despite, yes. Do you imagine all artists are happy to find themselves saddled with a mindset that keeps them forever in an employment that, almost universally, anchors them in the lower income brackets of society? Change? No, they can't defeat their nature. Often, being an artist is being born with a curse. Even more often, being an artist effectively bars one from having the ability to perform the first essential function of any businessman: organize.

I've worked in both milieux.

Rob C

jeremyrh

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #41 on: December 30, 2011, 11:16:39 AM »

Having checked out Sally Mann's images, I have to say truthfully, at the risk of branding myself as an insensitive non-aesthete, that I'm underwhelmed. Can't help it. Let the truth prevail.
The truth being that you, Ray, are "underwhelmed". That is the begining and end of it. No reason why that should or should not be be the truth.
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Ray

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #42 on: December 31, 2011, 05:23:07 AM »

The truth being that you, Ray, are "underwhelmed". That is the begining and end of it. No reason why that should or should not be be the truth.

I think you may have missed my point. What people often tend to like and regard highly, are products that have been acclaimed by 'so-called' experts as being extremely significant, meaningful, profound, or merely tasty in some way.

I instinctively feel this must apply very much to the arts, whether photographs or paintings. I'm reminded of the wine-tasting experiments, first brought to my attention by Slobodan in some other thread of a year or more ago, that demonstrate that the pleasure of tasting a good wine can be strongly influenced by any clues, such as price, that indicate or imply that the wine is a 'fine' wine, irrespective of the actual quality of the wine.

In other words, present the avarage person with a cheap wine, poured out from a refilled bottle of an expensive wine, immediately followed by an expensive wine rebottled as a cheap wine, the taster will tend to actually enjoy the cheap wine more than the expensive wine.

Electrode/encaphalograph contraptions placed on the heads of the tasters, which measure activity in the pleasure centres of the brain, confirm that the tasters actually do experience more pleasure when tasting the cheap wine disguised as an expensive wine.

I just wonder if a similar situation would apply to the arts. For example, if one were to arrange an experiment whereby someone were to present family snapshots, which tend to be a bit boring, but surreptitiously include the occasional shot from Sally Mann, would anyone jump up and claim, "Wow! That shot is really amazing. How profound! You have great talent."
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jeremyrh

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #43 on: December 31, 2011, 10:17:02 AM »

I think you may have missed my point. What people often tend to like and regard highly, are products that have been acclaimed by 'so-called' experts as being extremely significant, meaningful, profound, or merely tasty in some way.

I instinctively feel this must apply very much to the arts, whether photographs or paintings. I'm reminded of the wine-tasting experiments, first brought to my attention by Slobodan in some other thread of a year or more ago, that demonstrate that the pleasure of tasting a good wine can be strongly influenced by any clues, such as price, that indicate or imply that the wine is a 'fine' wine, irrespective of the actual quality of the wine.

In other words, present the avarage person with a cheap wine, poured out from a refilled bottle of an expensive wine, immediately followed by an expensive wine rebottled as a cheap wine, the taster will tend to actually enjoy the cheap wine more than the expensive wine.

Electrode/encaphalograph contraptions placed on the heads of the tasters, which measure activity in the pleasure centres of the brain, confirm that the tasters actually do experience more pleasure when tasting the cheap wine disguised as an expensive wine.

I just wonder if a similar situation would apply to the arts. For example, if one were to arrange an experiment whereby someone were to present family snapshots, which tend to be a bit boring, but surreptitiously include the occasional shot from Sally Mann, would anyone jump up and claim, "Wow! That shot is really amazing. How profound! You have great talent."
Maybe, but I'm not sure that it is sigificant to say what we "like". As I understand it, and I am not an artist or an art historian, or an intellectual of any stripe, there is a difference between art and interior decoration.

Consider the example of a cleaner in an art gallery leaving a mop and bucket behind in a gallery. Is it art?
Suppose an artist is doing some tidying up and leaves a mop and bucket in the gallery. Is that art?
Now suppose that the artist intends to demonstrate something about the sterility of modern society by leaving a mop and bucket in a gallery. Is it art now?

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AlanG

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #44 on: December 31, 2011, 11:08:57 AM »

Chuck Close made a preliminary sketch for one of his self portraits. He dropped it on the floor and a piece of tape became stuck to it. When collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel got it and framed it , they left the tape in place.
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KeithR

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #45 on: December 31, 2011, 12:52:27 PM »

Chuck Close made a preliminary sketch for one of his self portraits. He dropped it on the floor and a piece of tape became stuck to it. When collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel got it and framed it , they left the tape in place.

One man's garbage is another man's treasure...
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Rob C

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #46 on: December 31, 2011, 01:24:17 PM »

In other words, present the avarage person with a cheap wine, poured out from a refilled bottle of an expensive wine, immediately followed by an expensive wine rebottled as a cheap wine, the taster will tend to actually enjoy the cheap wine more than the expensive wine.





I can vouch for this: many years ago, I did this very thing with brandy - had an old Courvoisier bottle that I used as an occasional picture prop and I thought I'd give this experiment a try. Filled the empty bottle with another ordinary cognac and the two guys, both in marketing, fell for it, hook line and sinker. I knew them well enough to have a laugh if they suspected., but they didn't. So it does make you wonder a little.

But only a little: a long-time neighbour of ours is fond of G&S, which is just a G&T with soda instead, and one of the local bars here used to fill Gordon’s bottles up with Larios… this lady was always able to tell, and eventually, the son-in-law of the bar-owner would no longer allow the older man to serve her – he’d give her the genuine thing himself. He was an expat Brit, so there was no messing around with language excuses.

Another scam that I believe my sister-in-law witnessed was the hen-party thing where, after a few rounds, the bar puts a little gin onto a cloth, stands the rim of the glass on that for a second or two, and then serves straight tonic on ice with lemon peel. There’s money in them thar bars, if you can hold your nerve.

Regarding art – I think it’s even easier there. Why? Because I suspect that the expensive side of the art world has few illusions about real value, and quite extended ones about investment potential. When stuff is being bought for big money, as a hedge against stock or money failure, all that’s required is that the other players in the field be willing to accept the representational value of the ‘art’ artefacts as valuable currency. I mean, who else is going to be buying into that market? It’s all a belief system, as is the dollar bill or, perhaps, the euro. Some goes up and some goes down. If you can accept that, then there's little reason to be surprised by what's considered art, and who an artist.

Rob C


« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 01:26:38 PM by Rob C »
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DaFu

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #47 on: December 31, 2011, 11:27:56 PM »


Another scam that I believe my sister-in-law witnessed was the hen-party thing where, after a few rounds, the bar puts a little gin onto a cloth, stands the rim of the glass on that for a second or two, and then serves straight tonic on ice with lemon peel. There’s money in them thar bars, if you can hold your nerve.


Well, I'll be derned, Rob! That would work! Particularly if you wait to do it for a couple rounds. Scandalous and very canny.

 :D ;)

Dave
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OldRoy

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #48 on: January 01, 2012, 09:46:43 AM »

'Fine art' is just a synonym of 'art' in this context.  To assert that there is 'art' and then there is 'fine art' that stands apart from 'regular art' is just weird ...
The expression "fine art", as far as I'm concerned, was originally used in contrast to what used to be known as "commercial art" - which we now refer to, broadly, as graphic design.

Of course given the developments in visual arts during the 20th century (Duchamp, Warhol - to name but two crucial innovators) the term "fine art" is outmoded, however I think it still conveys a useful distinction that most people understand.

Roy
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Ray

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #49 on: January 03, 2012, 12:47:40 AM »

All opinions are subjective, FTFY.

If you want to get philosophical about it, one could argue that everything we know, think and perceive in any way, could be described as fundamentally subjective.

We certainly know that our perception of color is a product of a particular type of processing in our brain. When we see a leaf on a tree that is green, that property of greenness is not a property of the leaf but a property of the way our brain processes a particular frequency of light that the leaf reflects.

One could also argue that the above point of view is silly because a green leaf, if it's perceived as being green by a normal person who doesn't have color vision problems, is green because it reflects a wave-length of light in the range of 530 nanometres, plus or minus a few, and that that is an objective fact, not a subjective opinion, and therefore the greenness is an objective fact by association.

However, one can counter that with the argument that concepts such as the Electromagnetic Spectrum and our attributing a particular frequency of light to a particular color are also products of the human imagination, and human brain. Such concepts do not exist outside of our minds, and therefore they are subjective interpretations of reality.

One can argue that there is a reality out there, but our description of it, whether in scientific terms of atoms and molecules, or in terms of poetry, drama and art, is all fundamentally subjective.

The wine-tasting experiments I referred to above, also apply to wine connoisseurs but with fewer extreme results. The connoisseurs are less influenced by price than the average person, but still clearly influenced in their opinions as to quality.

Just recently I heard of an interesting experiment designed to test the conformity of expert opinion. A group of experts on a particular subject, sitting around a table, were given a couple of propositions in their field to deliberate upon; call them A and B.

B was cleary correct. A was clearly false and bogus.

After all the experts around the table had studied the two scenarios or propositions, a vote followed, in sequence from one person to the next, as to which proposition was better or more correct.

The way the experiment was arranged was that in reality there was only one true expert sitting at the table. He was the last person to get a vote. All the other participants were just actors. (Mere actors! Didn't have a real job, excepts perhaps in this case serving the interests of science.)

The result was surprising, but also understandable. Each of the actors posing as an expert, one by one, voted A as the best proposition. The last person to vote was the one and only real expert who knew that B was the correct answer.

Would he be able to go against this bogus consensus of opinion that A was the preferred choice, when he knew in his rational mind that B was obviously the superior choice?

No! That was too much to ask. A consensus of opinion amongst 10 or 12 of his peers who were perceived as being experts in the field, was too much to go against. The only true expert sitting around that table, conformed to the majority opinion and voted the same as all the others.

There's a profound message here for the whole of humanity.

FTFY?
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John R Smith

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #50 on: January 03, 2012, 04:28:53 AM »

No! That was too much to ask. A consensus of opinion amongst 10 or 12 of his peers who were perceived as being experts in the field, was too much to go against. The only true expert sitting around that table, conformed to the majority opinion and voted the same as all the others.

This has got to be another of these internet Urban Myths. Anyone who was a real expert in their field would also know who all the other experts were, and know many of them personally. And someone who was a real expert with any kind of reputation and published output would never accept being set up like this by ten or a dozen people that he had never heard of (I am an expert in a particular local field of British archaeology, and I know all the other people of any standing in that field too).

John
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Ray

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #51 on: January 04, 2012, 05:00:45 AM »

This has got to be another of these internet Urban Myths. Anyone who was a real expert in their field would also know who all the other experts were, and know many of them personally. And someone who was a real expert with any kind of reputation and published output would never accept being set up like this by ten or a dozen people that he had never heard of (I am an expert in a particular local field of British archaeology, and I know all the other people of any standing in that field too).

John

John,
This is not an internet Urban Myth. I've just presented the nature of the experiment incorrectly. Sorry about that! I was listening to an interview of the British economist/journalist Tim Harford, in relation to his new book "Adapt" in which such experiments are mentioned,  but I was doing other things at the time, not paying full attention, and filled in some details myself.

Such experiments are designed to test the nature of conformity and groupthink, which would include the power of urban myths.

The scenario does not necessarily include strangers masquerading as experts, but people who may all know each other. All but one have collaborated with the experimenters and agreed to provide the wrong answer in order to test the willingness to conform of the one person who has been set up.

But you are right, if such experiments were to include professionals with reputations to protect, there would be a lot of red faces and possibly litigation. I can imagine what might happen if a large group of doctors were to examine a patient, then each member of the group bar one, were to offer the same but wrong diagnosis, having agreed to collaborate with the experimenters.

Such experiments are usually carried out with college students. I understand one of the first psychologists to attempt such experiments was Soloman Asch in the 1950's.
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Rob C

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #52 on: January 04, 2012, 03:52:35 PM »

"But you are right, if such experiments were to include professionals with reputations to protect, there would be a lot of red faces and possibly litigation. I can imagine what might happen if a large group of doctors were to examine a patient, then each member of the group bar one, were to offer the same but wrong diagnosis, having agreed to collaborate with the experimenters."



Sounds just like House, then.

Rob C

NikoJorj

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #53 on: January 05, 2012, 03:42:23 AM »

Sorry for the OT but I feel it's an interessant question... And as some kind of expert agreement was asked to define Fine Art I feel it's not that OT.

All but one have collaborated with the experimenters and agreed to provide the wrong answer in order to test the willingness to conform of the one person who has been set up.
Then, the conclusion may be slightly different, as the experiment is a tad more akin to feeding the expert with bogus data.

I'm also an expert (or supposed so :P ) in my field, and the conclusions of other experts I know may be valuable, and if not a plain fact may well change my mind or at least question my own conclusions - they could have seen something I haven't eg.
In an experiment akin to a TV show, asking for a very short term decision (ie not enough time to question thouroughly the other experts), it may well make someone change her mind.
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Isaac

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #54 on: January 05, 2012, 01:33:32 PM »

I was listening to an interview of the British economist/journalist Tim Harford, in relation to his new book "Adapt" in which such experiments are mentioned...
This interview? - 20/06/2011 "Start the Week" "Andrew Marr talks to Tim Harford about the key to success..."


Just recently I heard of an interesting experiment designed to test the conformity of expert opinion. A group of experts on a particular subject, sitting around a table ...
What it takes to be considered an expert is wildly different depending on the "particular subject" - it isn't enough to say a "group of experts" when we don't know the "particular subject".
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 01:52:29 PM by Isaac »
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Ray

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #55 on: January 06, 2012, 12:48:21 AM »

Sorry for the OT but I feel it's an interessant question... And as some kind of expert agreement was asked to define Fine Art I feel it's not that OT.
Then, the conclusion may be slightly different, as the experiment is a tad more akin to feeding the expert with bogus data.

I'm also an expert (or supposed so :P ) in my field, and the conclusions of other experts I know may be valuable, and if not a plain fact may well change my mind or at least question my own conclusions - they could have seen something I haven't eg.
In an experiment akin to a TV show, asking for a very short term decision (ie not enough time to question thouroughly the other experts), it may well make someone change her mind.

Of course,  when people are encouraged to express their opinion openly without fear or favour, then dissent is more common and conformity more rare.

Having delved into this matter a bit more, I see there is a wide variation in results from these sorts of experiments, depending not only on individual characteristic and cultural characteristics, but also on the way the experiment is set up.

For example, if the group is small, say 4 people with 3 members of the group conspiring with the experimenters, then the fourth person is far more likely to go against the opinions of the other three when it is clear that the other 3 are wrong.

When the group is larger, say 10 or 12, the willingness to conform with the wrong answer becomes greater. However, if just one person out of 11 provides a different response to the previous 10, even if that answer is still wrong, the 12th person, who is not part of the conspiracy, will be more likely to summons the courage to dissent and express what he believes is the correct answer.

However, it should be understood that we're talking abount tendencies, averages and percentages which may vary considerably according to the precise nature of the experiment and the individual characteristics of the participants.
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Ray

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #56 on: January 06, 2012, 12:52:41 AM »

This interview? - 20/06/2011 "Start the Week" "Andrew Marr talks to Tim Harford about the key to success..."

No. It was a similar interview, but more recent, and a 'one on one' interview which is more more specific. Here's the link: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/counterpoint/why-success-follows-failure/3723352


Quote
What it takes to be considered an expert is wildly different depending on the "particular subject" - it isn't enough to say a "group of experts" when we don't know the "particular subject".

Good point! The initial experiment devised by Soloman Asch in the 1950's dealt with very simple phenomena where everyone could consider himself/herself an expert, such as which of a series of straight lines, presented on a sheet of paper, is longer, or of equal length to another.

As I mentioned before, it would be difficult to set up such experiments involving highly specialised individuals dealing with complex subjects, (because of professional reputations at stake), but the consensus of opinion on Anthropogenic Climate Change would be a real-world example of this effect taking place.

There's some evidence that academics are like teenagers in the sense that they sometimes don't have much awareness of the degree to which they are conformists.
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John Camp

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #57 on: January 08, 2012, 03:30:27 AM »

After you scrape away all of the bullshit, there exists such a thing as fine art (as opposed to graphic design and craft) and there's a remarkable consensus as to what it is, in the case of any specific artist. Rembrandt, yes, Leroy Neiman, no. Just because you can't precisely define something, doesn't mean that it doesn't  exist. The problem is, the consensus takes a while to form, and many people who consider themselves fine artists, and who are considered fine artists by their contemporaries, are later often demoted to something else in the eyes of posterity. That will be what happens, IMHO, to such as Tracy Emin and Damien Hirst, and even such luminaries as Richard Serra, although I won't be around to see it. I read somewhere that there were 25,000 practicing artists in Paris during the Impressionist era, and we remember a few dozen of them now, if that many.

One key to fine art is that the artist does it because he is driven to it because of a particular kind of vision; he's not responding to a market. That gives his art a particular and discernible kind of honesty, even when other observers think what he is doing is crap (as with the early Van Gogh.) Whether or not Alain Briot's photography is now or ever considered fine art remains to be seen, but his very business-like approach to sales and marketing suggests to me it might not be (no offense intended; it's very skillful photography indeed.) The problem is, the content of his photography is not entirely inner-directed; it is also market-directed, and that's one thing that traditionally, fine art was not, and, indeed, can't be.

I've argued before that I can't think of a single famous fine-art photograph whose real, distinguishing characteristic is resolution, or focus, or technique. It's always something else. Avadon's bee boy was beautifully exposed and printed, but it's the boy and the bees who make the work, not the exposure. That makes the argument that you need layers in Photoshop somewhat suspect...

JC




 
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Rob C

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #58 on: January 08, 2012, 04:29:21 AM »

John -

Can't accept that Avedon would have been limited by PS usage, bees or no bees. PS is only a means to an end, not necessarily what defines that end, though it can be, if so desired.

As for responding to a market - isn't non-business-related photography but another facet of creating/reinforcing the personal myth that leads to continued commercial success for someone in the Avedon bracket, hence a real response to the market?

I think that the entire creative business, and not just the commercial side of it, is so complex, convoluted and personal that any sweeping judgements are bound to failure if ony because of the ever-present fact of conflicting case histories.

As for contemporary star artists - not many around on my radar, at least. Maybe one does indeed need to be dead before any valid evaluation can be made.

Rob C

theguywitha645d

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Re: Fine Art Photography Top 16
« Reply #59 on: January 08, 2012, 02:09:30 PM »

I think we need to frame this in what Alan has found that works for him. Some, like being proficient in your process, technical skill, is well known. But his point of view is in regard to his type of photography--I also do documentary work and standing around contemplating the scene is not possible, you need to work fast sometimes. And you need to develop the skills to compose fast.

I do take one exception to his points that the photograph should represent your feelings of a place--I hope not as during the sun rise I feel really $h177y that early in the morning. But also photography is not just putting your emotions of something in the image, but trying to understand and reflect the subject to some point. The is a lot of sentimental photography which is just the projection of feeling/ego of the photographer and it tends to be fairly dull.
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