1. So, a blank canvas is not art until the painter chooses to randomly daub paint on to it and as painting is already accepted as being such a ‘High Art’, it can even be created without the need of “subject, genre or purpose”. Then if the artist does their damndest to make an exact copy of that work the very next day and then again the day after that, ad infinitum, then each and every one of those pieces may also be classed as art, because it has been created from nothing other than the desire of the artist to make something, anything.
2. At the start of the day I go out with a blank memory card in my camera, I come home at the end of the day with some arrangement of stored pixel data on that card, data that I nor anyone else could have foretold the exact placement of, or distribution or meaning of, nor can it ever be recreated anew in exactly the same way ever again, no matter how hard I or anyone else tries. Yet according to what you say, it can never be classed as art, even though it has been created from nothing other than my desire as a photographer to make something, because you tell us that I have in fact created nothing, or been creative in any way at all and so it can never be classed as art.
3. Rob, photography can definitely be a creative art, it is not simply the photocopying of reality, or shopping for pictures that already exist in some kind of alternate universe, that just hang there waiting for us to pluck out from thin air, as easily as plucking low hanging fruit from a tree.
We look, we see, we feel, we choose, we compose and as such, we are then able to create art based on this creative process.
1. Why would any painter do that? Apart from anything else, it would put his work into the same doubtful category as digital printing. I was a painter - of sorts - before I had a camera; I've been through the passions of graphic creation and it's my feeling that though it can be a pleasant experience, more often than not it ends up a life-curse: one ends up concentrating on the wrong priorities to the high cost of everyone who depends upon one. Yes, money is a factor and success in either paint or photo-print creates its own momentum and reasons for continuing. The point I'm making, which apparently hasn't been really understood or well-made, is that creation, as in art, is a basic thing for a painter. Only with that will he be a painter. Of course, that doesn't guarantee that everything he creates is art - it usually won't be - but it is nonetheless a creative event because it starts from scratch.
2. What you have described is visual editing. You are talking about selection, which isn't creation: it's choosing from what already exists. You may choose to describe that function as creation, which is your right, and though I find myself forced along similar paths post-retirement, I can't honestly consider what I do in that world as creative. How, then, can I be expected to dishonestly
ascribe that quality to others doing essentially the same thing as I do? It wouldn't compute. Because the supreme lighting director in the sky has ordained that no cloud will appear in exactly the same space and in the same form ever again has nothing to do with the editor - the photographer - he just edits what's offered. That's not, and cannot be creation. That is skill, and a handful of photographers has far more than its fair share of that!
3. Oh absolutely! But unfortunately, not very often within most genres of photography. Where one depends purely on chance and external variables, that's what one reaps: chance happenings. On your list of offered services, you reveal only the possibilities: those are not tantamount to creativity; they are basically nothing more than what I've already said: editing what's existing there, in situ, and applying a management skill.
Look, it charms me not at all to feel that my current photography is fuelled by desire to create, a desire that can never be properly realised within the genres currently available to me. The most I can draw as consolation is that some images are testament to a reasonable eye; that in different circumstances I could rest assured that I could probably pick up where I left off, not because of anything wonderful I know, but simply because of the basic fact of my genetic structure, over which I had neither control nor say: I am what I am, and that's really just about it. Ditto everyone else. Wishing isn't enough. I've often wished I'd been a stockbroker instead; I'd have that bloody 25m yacht.
So what is creative photography? For me, it's partly in the putting together of disparate things that wouldn't normally be found so aligned; it's the creation of an atmosphere between two people (pick your size of group to suit) that results in something quite ephemeral that even the same group will never be able to recreate. It's catching that instant that proves the creativity actually was present within the moment. Without it, you just have another snap of the same person just standing there or, worse, just a pleasant memory of what might have been had you both been better prepared for your task.
A model session can be short or it can be long; you may catch the thing on the first roll or find yourself toiling along getting nowhere. You and your model may both be world-renowned, but take away the magic of interaction and all you get, at best, is technical perfection as devoid of creative spark as anything from anybody else. Look at the best sites from the best agents and snappers - what do you see? Some rare, high photographic art, and a much larger amount of technical pyrotechnics saying nothing. Especially do you see this in cosmetics work. Why?
Why? Because pro photography isn't much about art: pro photography is about product and selling. And amateur photography? At best, about relaxation and taking the mind off the workaday stresses. It's when that becomes confused with ego, art and the hope to turn it all into money that the pain begins. If you want
to be an artist, it's probably because you are not one. If you are, it doesn't strike you in the same 'glamorous' way at all; possibly, you wish like hell you'd been born a business genius instead.