Russ, this is the modern age.
You can photograph anything you like and then apply any old designation you wish. Why? "It's art because I say it is" spawned the right.
That it might be crap doesn't matter; it's what the 'creator' says it is! Don't you love that? Everybody feels good; we're all stars!
You're close, but you haven't quite got it there. Since this is a critique thread, I'd like to critique your commentary there. Rather than me posing as some authority with rules, I'm going to use the wisdom of accomplished artists to demonstrate my point and critique your view. Your view can be summed up as "People ought not claim themselves as artists on the strength of their own convictions."
This is a great place to start: "If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced."
- Vincent Van Gogh. What's important in this quotation? Of course it is the inner voice - the source and cause of all art. He means what? He means that the entire enterprise is within you, and only emerges from that space. There's no outside reference required. But go further into that idea: "The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.
" - Pablo Picasso. Once more, we see that the purpose is personal, and has no external authority. And maybe top it off with one more: "A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament."
- Oscar Wilde. Once more, we have the same persistent theme. Art is the internal process of our own unique desire to reveal ourselves from the inside out. Unique means one of a kind. No one can reveal their "self" when they have adopted the idea of emulating another. No one can 'dust the daily life off their own soul,' if they choose to imitate other lives. To do so, is to cancel out the unique result from a unique temperament.
Art reveals the artist. And as Ansel Adams said, "There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.
" Now we have to consider what it means for the photographer to be in the picture. Here's Richard Avedon on that subject: "My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph."
As another accomplished photographer said, "Every photograph is of the photographer." And this idea of the internal cause of art could not be complete without this brilliant and pithy summation: "Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees." - Paul Strand. Isn't it pitifully obvious to even a rank beginner of a photographer that you can't leave the record of your life by taking Cartier-Bresson's photographs?
The drive to reveal the self through imaginative physical manifestations, such as photography, is as old as any knowledge about the cause of art. What's missing from the wisdom of all these aforementioned artists? - external agency and authority. The least required element in the cause of art is external approval. The following of their rules. The least useful strategy is ignoring the inner soul and mimicking others. That process of ignoring one's authenticity to adopt the garb and style of others produces artifacts, not art.
I am an artist, not because I received permission or approval for properly emulating other artists, but because I know how to 'wash the dust of daily life off my soul.' I am an artist not because I painstakingly memorized photographs of another artist to model for my own, but because I allow my unique temperament to produce the result.
There's an implication in your post that people should be embarrassed to claim their art on just the strength that they were the creator. You imagine that is something to laugh over, when in fact, that's the foundational meaning of art! That confusion relies on mistaking art
with commercial artifacts
. It assumes a person selling a photograph for a million dollars must be an artist, but the photographer working in obscurity couldn't possibly be so by "self proclamation." As if an artist couldn't know his own cause? Now THAT is a measure of how far astray one can be lead by assuming they ought to mimic the work of others. That idea is running full speed in the wrong direction. It is running from self - the only place from which art can originate - and running to others, the only place your art can't be found!
You are correct in two things though. True, it doesn't matter if it is crap to some others - it's the authenticity that counts. Being an artist is absolutely no guarantee that others will like it or approve of it. And secondly, yes, I DO feel good, thanks.