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Author Topic: "Turning photographs into Art"  (Read 1897 times)

Krug

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"Turning photographs into Art"
« on: June 16, 2018, 08:27:16 AM »

Let me say immediately that I recognise considerable talent - not least to successfully commercialize his work - in Alain Briot's images. And it would be stupid to suggest that his work isn't 'artful' or very appealing to many. Alain Briot has had a long and rigorous training as a painter and in artistic creativity and discipline which is abundantly evident in his work.
However I - for one and I may be the only one - am distinctly uneasy about the concept of 'turning something into art'. Of course there must be much artifice in the production of something which would be widely regarded as 'artistic'. But if it does not start out with the intent and inspiration - and perspiration - to convey something more than the mundane or simply interesting I suspect that 'turning it into art' will always either lack substance or seem artificial.  Just my two pennyworth of course ... and in any case it is far from clear what IS 'art' - which is a whole other debate - but whatever it is I suspect that it doesn't come from 'turning it out' from something else.
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KLaban

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2018, 09:50:32 AM »

Without a meaningful and widely accepted definition Art is but another puff of wind, all too often used to increase perceived value.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2018, 10:14:57 AM »

Jerry Uelsmann comes to mind. He seems to be able to turn photographs into art, by using separate shots and combining them. Not unlike Alain did in his example. However... in Jerry’s case, his method (collage) and end result are obvious (i.e., not a straight photograph). In Alain’s example, unless you read his disclaimer, the end result looks just like a gazillion iPhone tourist snaps from the location, churned out through an Instagram filter. Whether IG-ed pics can be considered art is another matter though. The younger generation apparently thinks so.

jtremblay

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2018, 12:59:29 PM »

Up to this point I have not done a ton of manipulation with my prints - I darken and lighten, adjust contrast, and generally follow what I did in the wet darkroom with what I do in the digital darkroom. I do not, however, have any issue with those that do. It is the end result that matters - not how we get there. If you want to spend your time in front of the computer all the power to you. I tend to go out when the conditions are right for me - which often means in the middle of nasty weather in order to capture what I consider worth printing and showing. That is what I do - it's not for everyone.

I am just now taking several shots of a scene and marrying them up to create a final image - they are done at the same time, and in order to allow for the correct exposure of extremes - How far I delve into this area is yet to be determined -

As far as the cost - I find digital much more expensive then film; mostly in terms of the disposable cameras (aka computers) we currently use. Digital darkrooms means constantly upgrading software, hardware, etc etc - and fighting with computer bugs/crashing and all the rest that goes with this is a headache we didn't have in film days. But one can't go back... and we take the good with the bad (the good would be all that you mentioned in this article).

Ansel Adams was a master manipulator from capture to final print, and yet he is considered a "purist" by most. So bravo to you and your end result - If you are happy with the result that is what matters most. If other's also like your results - well - there you have it.
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SBlev

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2018, 02:19:00 PM »

We confront this more and more. There is a place for such "photoshopped" work, and it can be nice "digital imaging," which no doubt appeals to some people. But while it may begin with an image made with a camera, it is not (at least to me) truly "photography." There should be, in my opinion, a category for "digital imaging" as opposed to "photography."
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2018, 05:06:05 PM »

OK, then, here's one of my Digital Images.
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Schewe

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2018, 07:21:50 PM »

However I - for one and I may be the only one - am distinctly uneasy about the concept of 'turning something into art'.

I guess you missed the part where Alain was talking about "Letting Go", huh?

Preconceived notions are creativity killers...
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Rayyan

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2018, 03:05:54 AM »

I cannot define what ' Art ' is.

But would direct one to the following two places I have visited in the U.S.A. Plenty more available outside the USA, too.
Maybe one could find a definition of what IS art in there somewhere.

National Art Gallery, Washington D.C and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, N.Y.

Of course, Monet, Constable, Vermeer did start out with something ' mundane ' like a garden, English countryside or a milkmaid!!
And Dorothy Lange just clicked her camera shutter.



" ....and in any case it is far from clear what IS 'art' - which is a whole other debate - but whatever it is I suspect that it doesn't come from 'turning it out' from something else..." Krug

"Without a meaningful and widely accepted definition Art is but another puff of wind, all too often used to increase perceived value." KLaban
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yarmmcd

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2018, 09:33:07 AM »

Seems a long drawn out article to try and say "my photos are art" the example used shows massive halo above the unnaturally lightened rock cliff, the whole thing has that overly HDR look to it.
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alainbriot

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2018, 02:03:06 PM »

I guess you missed the part where Alain was talking about "Letting Go", huh?

Preconceived notions are creativity killers...

Good point! Thank you Jeff.  That's what the essay is all about.  In fact I originally considered calling the series 'Letting Go' but decided to change the name to 'Turning photographs into Art' because it provides a larger framework.  However I plan to address different aspects of letting go in each essay.

And for the record I do define what is art for me at the beginning of the essay...

Telecaster

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2018, 03:23:30 PM »

You know what they say
No one is born to hate
We learn it somewhere along the way

Take your broken heart
Turn it into art
Can't take it with you
Can't take it with you


From the song Hopefulessness by Courtney Barnett.

-Dave-
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James Clark

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2018, 10:11:17 PM »

OK, then, here's one of my Digital Images.

I really like that, Eric!

As for the point at hand, I personally find it to be, at a minimum, a very worthwhile excersize to try and alter/combine/reconstruct the reality in front of you into something that makes a point or conveys an alternate feeling. It's hard, and you're liable to fail as often as succeed, as anyone who sees my occasional classic and racing automobiles collage/multi-exposure series elsewhere on LuLa can attest. On the other hand, only by stretching your vision can you really stand out and present something "new."  Those same collages that sometimes meet with a collective disregard are, nevertheless, my most commercially successful pieces.

« Last Edit: June 17, 2018, 10:17:50 PM by James Clark »
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Alan Klein

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2018, 11:54:29 PM »

Interesting essay.  Looking forward to the rest of them.  I hope to learn something. Thanks.

Paulo Bizarro

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2018, 11:20:33 AM »

I always appreciate Alain's essays, because they are very structured and concise; not always easy to achieve, requires knowledge, focus, and discipline.

However, from the first essay in the series, what I take away is very little: the key message about letting go is a good one, as it fosters creativity. However, one might conclude from the reading that "art" can be achieved simply by manipulating the digital techniques.

For instance, the image provided as an example: why not shoot also considering that one might want a more vertical format? This is one of the first lessons when in the field: explore the subject, including shooting for horizontal and vertical formats/possibilities. In the end, I fail to see/understand why the manipulated/stretched image is more "artistic" than the horizontal one.

photobymg

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2018, 02:38:28 PM »

Totally love Alain's concept and the notion of creating pictures (to use David Hockney's term) that are not recordings but artistic interpretations or impressions.  But I'm not sure what "Turning photographs into Art" means.  Do painters turn a blank canvas into art?  Can art come directly out of the  camera or only out of the computer (or dark room)?  In my experience, photographers can create "art" in two ways.  First, as the title implies, I have a photograph (or a number of photographs) now let's see what I can do with it (them).  And second, I can imagine, find or create a scene and have a vision for what the end artwork will look like, before I even pull out my camera.  Perhaps I can realize that vision with the camera, or with the combination of camera and darkroom (wet or digital).  That's turning vision into art.  Just as painters do.  After the invention of the Camera Obscura, landscape painters became more like photographers, recording the scene revealed by the camera on a sensor, in this case paint and canvas, or pencil and paper.   Then painters let go of the device, and "art" evolved into impressionism, abstract expressionism, etc.  So bravo for the notion of "letting go" which means letting go of the notion that a camera is only a recording device, and embracing the notion that the camera plus darkroom (wet or digital) is a creative platform for creating artwork.  It's time for photography to go through the same evolution that painting has gone through.
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Rob C

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2018, 08:41:30 AM »

The truth is, writing about art is just another selfie (in the David Bailey sense of the word) and whilst it fills space and promotes the writer, it tells the rest of the world very little indeed.

Reading through the replies so far, I get the sense that whilst perhaps not individually, the collective sense, however, agrees that both photography and painting (and drawing and anything much else that gets onto a blank surface) are pretty much the same deal, only the tools have been changed.

If there's any politically correct and acceptable way of "letting go", then I think it must be incumbent on all of us who profess to being image makers to stop waving tribal banners and, instead, accept that the reality of what art may be is one thing only: the production of an image - however produced (plagiarism aside!) - that we are happy to defend. Subjectively, and also objectively from a subjective perspective, that may be either good or bad art.

It's really all very simple.

Rob
« Last Edit: July 05, 2018, 08:47:46 AM by Rob C »
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KLaban

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2018, 10:10:11 AM »

The truth is, writing about art is just another selfie (in the David Bailey sense of the word) and whilst it fills space and promotes the writer, it tells the rest of the world very little indeed.

Reading through the replies so far, I get the sense that whilst perhaps not individually, the collective sense, however, agrees that both photography and painting (and drawing and anything much else that gets onto a blank surface) are pretty much the same deal, only the tools have been changed.

If there's any politically correct and acceptable way of "letting go", then I think it must be incumbent on all of us who profess to being image makers to stop waving tribal banners and, instead, accept that the reality of what art may be is one thing only: the production of an image - however produced (plagiarism aside!) - that we are happy to defend. Subjectively, and also objectively from a subjective perspective, that may be either good or bad art.

It's really all very simple.

Rob

Rob, my job description was listed as artist for most of my career but nevertheless I can call upon no definition that satisfies myself let alone others and so prefer not to use the A word.

Simples.

;-)
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David Mantripp

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Re: "Turning photographs into Art"
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2018, 05:03:15 AM »

Whether IG-ed pics can be considered art is another matter though. The younger generation apparently thinks so.

I'm sure Stephen Shore will be relieved to hear he is still part of the younger generation. He'd better make sure he stays off your lawn. :-)
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