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Author Topic: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!  (Read 5123 times)

Peter McLennan

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #40 on: February 09, 2019, 08:28:48 pm »

I also sometimes get asked, "is that art or is that photography?"

Heh.  I've never been asked that question.  I have no idea what I'd say in response.

My canvases are frequently referred to as "paintings" by those unfamiliar with their production technique.  I take it as a compliment.

I'm totally pragmatic about canvas prints.  They're lightweight, easily transported, easily hung and can be huge - far exceeding the constraints of "traditional" glass and matte presentation.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2019, 08:44:01 pm »

... My canvases are frequently referred to as "paintings" by those unfamiliar with their production technique.  I take it as a compliment.

I'm totally pragmatic about canvas prints.  They're lightweight, easily transported, easily hung and can be huge - far exceeding the constraints of "traditional" glass and matte presentation.

Hallelujah!

Chris Kern

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #42 on: February 10, 2019, 04:41:24 pm »

It seems to me that Alan Zakem’s original post raises two separate issues.  Any image, regardless of its medium, has some esthetic value (or, arguably, lack thereof).  If offered for sale, it also has a market value (equal to or greater than zero).

The esthetic value is essentially subjective: the beholder’s eye determines how “good” it is.

The commercial value can be independently estimated, at least to some extent, using parameters such as the artist’s sales history, scarcity of the artist’s work (you may well sell better after you’re dead), size of the edition if the image is reproducible, the point-of-sale (established gallery, crafts fair), etc.—but the bottom line is ... well, the bottom line: how much money a buyer is prepared to pay the seller and the seller is prepared to accept.  Where commercial value is concerned, it doesn’t matter whether the buyer and seller consider it a work of art or a work of craftsmanship or a vacation souvenir or a pipe.  The market makes an objective determination.  As Gertrude Stein famously said, “the market is the market is the market.”

And I’m not persuaded that the distinction between art and craft is unambiguous even with respect to subjective esthetic value—or that it is particularly meaningful in any event.  I often hear artists say the craft is a skill that can be learned and the art is an attribute that is innate, and I suppose there’s some truth in that.  But the “vision” of an artist typically evolves, sometimes quite significantly; presumably, if it’s really a genetic trait, it would be essentially static.  And if it changes substantially over time, that suggests to me that the artist is learning something through practice.  Which sounds suspiciously craftlike.

In any event, I’m persuaded that the esthetic value of an image is fundamentally and unavoidably subjective, and that the medium is entirely irrelevant to its esthetic value.  As Gertrude Stein famously said, “a picture is a picture is a picture, and it doesn’t matter what went into making it.”

Case in point:

Back in October, I noticed an unusual array of traffic signals straddling a street in the capital city of Maryland, Annapolis, while walking downtown from the hotel where I was staying, and I decided “to do something with it.”  I don’t know whether the picture I produced (the first attachment below) should be considered a work of art or of craft, but it did entail some effort.

First I had to decide what the “something” was that I wanted to make the subject of the photograph—the idea behind the image.  Next, I had to select the correct lens and perform the appropriate technical adjustments to the camera to include the elements I wanted (and only those elements).  Then I had to wait for an appropriate group of pedestrians to position themselves in my viewfinder where I could capture them and the traffic signals at a time when the people weren’t occluded by traffic; this involved hopping out into the busy street whenever a likely prospect presented itself, while avoiding oncoming drivers and possible citation-wielding cops.

It’s not the greatest picture I’ve ever made (note: this is a subjective judgment), but I was reasonably pleased with it.

Not long ago, I decided to feed a copy of that photograph into a software tool that transforms images based on machine-learning by a “neural network” (second attachment).  I made an essentially trivial and somewhat random choice about the type of transformation and color palette for the software to emit, and let ’er rip.  The software did its thing without any further intervention on my part, and spit out a computed transformation of my photograph (second attachment).

I’ve shown the pair of images to a number of people (not other photographers), several of whom have spontaneously told me that they really like the second one.  I.e., the one made by the machine.

None of them has expressed a preference for the first.  The one made by the artist/craftsman.

Actually, I rather like the computed one, myself.  Maybe I’ll print it and hang it on the wall.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 11:15:10 pm by Chris Kern »
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rabanito

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #43 on: February 10, 2019, 05:38:12 pm »

With due respect, I presume that for the uneducated eye the first picture is just boring, an everyday scene.
The second one is not, some kind of roman mosaic, performed by either Hal 9000 or Tertius Orbius around 200 B.C.   :) ...
That could be a reason.
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Chris Kern

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #44 on: February 10, 2019, 06:38:37 pm »

With due respect, I presume that for the uneducated eye the first picture is just boring, an everyday scene.

Actually, some of the viewers who preferred the second image have rather well-educated eyes by my Plebeian standards.

Not least, my wife, who has a knack for discovering paintings that she buys for rather little money and which subsequently inspire acquisitive envy among gallery owners.  Apropos of the OP, a N'Awlins (I think that's the correct pronunciation of New Orleans) example:

More than 25 years ago, she was wandering through Jackson Square when she encountered James Michalopolous, then a relative unknown, who was painting, and selling, an early example of one of his iconic street scenes of New Orleans.  Money was tight for us then, and the US$350 she paid for the piece represented a substantial investment.  But the minute I saw it, I said I wished she had purchased two.  Or even three.  He was still signing his work "James Mitchell" in those days: he believed a Greek surname would depress sales opportunities for a New Orleans artist.  There aren't many "James Mitchells" in circulation.  Not that we have any intention of selling ours.

My wife was the first person who looked at the two pictures I posted in this thread—the one I made and the computed one—and she was the first to tell me she preferred the latter.

I trust her judgment (judgement, for those of you in Canada and on the other side of the Atlantic.)

Long story short, I'm thinking perhaps the time has come for me to replace myself with a neural network.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 10:33:46 pm by Chris Kern »
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rabanito

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #45 on: February 11, 2019, 03:40:02 am »

Well, I believe it is also a matter of taste.
Looking at your pictures and reading your description of how you created the first one, I feel in the first one a lot more humanity than in the computer generated one.
Looking at pictures by Michalopoulos and that by Hal 9000 I dare to find more similitudes between them as with yours  :)

Do not take me wrong, I know my place. Out of ignorance I would also throw away the million(s)-worth "selfie" by Andy Warhol into the trash basket (I almost wrote Woody Allen, imagine (!)  :o )
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 12:04:45 pm by rabanito »
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #46 on: February 11, 2019, 08:22:11 am »

I think it is normal, and as per expectation, that a lot of people perceive painting as being more artistic than photography. And for very simple reasons:

1. People are used to seeing paintings as important parts of museums;

2. Painting has been around for a lot more time than photography.

rabanito

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #47 on: February 11, 2019, 12:10:40 pm »

I think it is normal, and as per expectation, that a lot of people perceive painting as being more artistic than photography. And for very simple reasons:

1. People are used to seeing paintings as important parts of museums;

2. Painting has been around for a lot more time than photography.

And that anyone can take a photo.
And also the notion that only a select minority can really paint.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/aug/30/chimpanzee-wins-10000-dollars-abstract-painting

 ;)
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 12:14:04 pm by rabanito »
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Ivophoto

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #48 on: February 11, 2019, 01:53:14 pm »

And that anyone can take a photo.
And also the notion that only a select minority can really paint.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/aug/30/chimpanzee-wins-10000-dollars-abstract-painting

 ;)

Which is the blunt truth.

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OmerV

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #49 on: February 11, 2019, 07:36:12 pm »

Which is the blunt truth.



So a few chimpanzees can really paint, but any human can take a photo? Well, chimpanzees might not appreciate being pigeonholed as only painters, thank you very much.

Chris Kern

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #50 on: February 11, 2019, 07:47:40 pm »

Well, chimpanzees might not appreciate being pigeonholed as only painters, thank you very much.

Are you kidding?  Where do you think the term "chimping" comes from?

The real issue, which everyone here seems for some obscure reason to be trying to avoid, is whether the chimpanzees are Nikon shooters or Canon shooters.

Alan Klein

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #51 on: February 11, 2019, 11:08:19 pm »

The neural wasn't done by a computer but by the programmer who inputted his artistic concepts.  He's the artist.  I happen to like it also. 

BobShaw

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #52 on: February 11, 2019, 11:12:28 pm »

The term “art” is related to the Latin word “ars”
That is my takeaway from this discussion. I will use that anytime someone lectures me about art.

If the meaning is "art, skill, or craft" then that makes sense.
Prior to the industrial revolution an Artisan was one with skills who could make things.
If you painted something you were a painter.

If you paint a painting then you probably do need to have some idea what you are going to paint when you start.
I often take photos with no idea how I will use them. That is why I save all of my photos.
I don't think it matters when the idea happens.
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Ivophoto

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #53 on: February 12, 2019, 12:47:29 am »

That is my takeaway from this discussion. I will use that anytime someone lectures me about art.

If the meaning is "art, skill, or craft" then that makes sense.
Prior to the industrial revolution an Artisan was one with skills who could make things.
If you painted something you were a painter.

If you paint a painting then you probably do need to have some idea what you are going to paint when you start.
I often take photos with no idea how I will use them. That is why I save all of my photos.
I don't think it matters when the idea happens.

I have no problem with your explanation, it inherently includes the acception of cerebral art. Strangely enough, most photographers finding them self ‘artist’ are the first to vomit against any Art denying the involved craft.
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Ivophoto

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #54 on: February 12, 2019, 12:50:00 am »

So a few chimpanzees can really paint, but any human can take a photo? Well, chimpanzees might not appreciate being pigeonholed as only painters, thank you very much.

I think chimpanzees appreciation is easier earned by picking fleas than getting them a bucket of finger paint.
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Ivophoto

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I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #55 on: February 12, 2019, 02:39:26 am »

I think it is normal, and as per expectation, that a lot of people perceive painting as being more artistic than photography. And for very simple reasons:

1. People are used to seeing paintings as important parts of museums;

2. Painting has been around for a lot more time than photography.

I think photographers tend to overlook that the added value of a painters technique is of another magnitude than the added value of a photographers technique. The latter is strongly dictated by preset technology like characteristic of film / sensor / what ever computed and applied algorithm. (The ‘noble’ photographic techniques excluded)
...

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Try how long you can live with a top photograph on the wall, how long it keeps to catch your interest or how long it’s sucks you into the frame.
Try it with a painting, doesn’t need to be a top painting, it can even be a reproduction.

There is nothing so easily outdated as a photo on the wall.

I have Pollock and Hopper reproductions on the wall, after years, I’m still happy to live with it.

Maybe a Gursky would come close to hang on the wall, but would get outdated for sure.

......
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 03:28:44 am by Ivophoto »
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rabanito

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #56 on: February 12, 2019, 04:31:12 am »

I think chimpanzees appreciation is easier earned by picking fleas than getting them a bucket of finger paint.

Monkeys lost a copyright dispute against us Humans.
Well the judges were all human and probably biased but anyway... WE WON!!

Andy Warhol and my lowly self can sleep better now.  ;D ;D
My selfies with the Mona Lisa and Michelangelo's David are more worth protecting that those taken by Simian Photographers Bongo or Cheetah, even if their artistic value is more or less the same  ;)
There!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_selfie_copyright_dispute
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rabanito

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #57 on: February 12, 2019, 04:36:37 am »

I think photographers tend to overlook that the added value of a painters technique is of another magnitude than the added value of a photographers technique. The latter is strongly dictated by preset technology like characteristic of film / sensor / what ever computed and applied algorithm. (The ‘noble’ photographic techniques excluded)
...


Poetry would not qualify then. At least when written with a computer.
For that you need just "Geist" (as in photography) and some instrument to write it down.
Pen or PC / Brush or Photoshop.
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Ivophoto

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Re: I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #58 on: February 12, 2019, 04:37:20 am »

Monkeys lost a copyright dispute against us Humans.
Well the judges were all human and probably biased but anyway... WE WON!!

Andy Warhol and my lowly self can sleep better now.  ;D ;D
My selfies with the Mona Lisa and Michelangelo's David are more worth protecting that those taken by Simian Photographers Bongo or Cheetah, even if their artistic value is more or less the same  ;)
There!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_selfie_copyright_dispute

Small connotation: I assume it was a human exploiting the monkey to start  a dispute about a topic only humans are silly enough to find important.
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Ivophoto

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I get insulted every day as a fine art photographer!
« Reply #59 on: February 12, 2019, 04:39:13 am »

Poetry would not qualify then. At least when written with a computer.
For that you need just "Geist" (as in photography) and some instrument to write it down.
Pen or PC / Brush or Photoshop.

There is a clear difference between poetry and a visual art.

You cannot compare Cricket with Ice Hockey, all tough it is both sport.
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