I thought I'd end my voyeurism on this forum, register, and add to the conversation.
I am an amateur nature/underwater photographer. I don't think of myself as an artist, nor my images as art. My images are to fine art photography what a newspaper columnist's articles are to literature. This isn't a statement on quality, its a statement on intent and process. I document beautiful things but I don't think I create art.
But I am fascinated by the "what is art" question. So here is a blanket statement:Art is 50% aesthetic and 50% socialAesthetic
The aesthetics of an image is what I focus on in my nature/underwater photography. There are certain properties of the image itself that make people say WOW. I like to think about these aspects in terms of "mind modules" the way Steven Pinker describes them in his various books about the mind. This is the area where composition, lighting/shadows, color, depth-of-field, and background come into play.
But we can look at an aesthetically pleasing photo, say of a sunset, and think to ourselves "uh huh, been there, done that". That is when the social aspects of art kick in.Social
Once you think about the social aspect of art you start to see how pervasive it is. I think of the social aspects on 3 levels:1) subject
The subject usually conveys the emotional content. A child's toy in the wreckage of a bombed out building or an eagle soaring with a fish in its claw.
The artist is often a key component to whether we consider an aesthetic work art. We have a notion of what an artist is. We need to know who the artist is and how they went about creating the specific work of art. If you see an abstract image and the artist tells you that it was computer generated, it lessens the quality in your mind. You want/need/expect the artist to go through a certain kind of pain or effort. Consider a quality photograph of a tropical bird that shows the tell-tale signs of a fence in the background. It was shot in a zoo... do you buy the print?
The audience is often forgotten. Self and group identity come into play. The viewer of the art feels a connection to either the subject or the artist.
I started a blog recently and I'm finding myself posting about the "what is art" question more and more. I've covered the following so far:Photography’s First Gift: Depth of FieldAbstract ExpressionismCold Compassion
I think depth-of-field is something that photography has specifically given to the world of art. Motion Blur is the other.
I apologize for the length of this post :-(