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Author Topic: What is 'fine art photography'?  (Read 150583 times)
DavidHoptman
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« Reply #160 on: May 30, 2010, 04:52:13 AM »
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Thank you for the kind words :-)  

I agree that the term fine art is overused, but then limited editions are also over used.  Currently I only offer my portfolios in limited editions.  On request, and for certain images, I will date the print.  That seems more genuine to me than placing a number out of a huge edition, such as 25/2000, which is eventually meaningless since there are so many prints, even though each of them has a unique number.  Ansel Adams did not number his prints either, unless I am mistaken.

For me a fine art photograph is one that is done with the goal of creating a work of art. It is an image that is done with a high level of craftmanship and care.  It has to be mounted and matted to museum standards, in an archival manner.  

Above all the cost should take a second seat to the concern for quality.  Fine art is about quality, not about quantity.  It is not about trying to save money by buying lower-priced inks, paper, matboard and other supplies.  It is about creating the finest piece you can create, regardless of cost.  

The goal is an artistic rendering of a subject in the finest manner possible.  

Regardless of price and cost, a fine art print should sing. It should have a lyrical quality.  It should transport you to a different place.  It should open a window on another world, the world the artist is inviting the audience into.

it should demonstrate an above-average printing skills.  Ideally, it should demonstrate outstanding printing skills.

A full definition of fine art photography is challenging.  it's a little like defining what is a luxury home, or a luxury car.  Some brands and features come to mind, but how do you rate a new brand, a new product?  

In photography we all know that specific photographer's work can be safely considered fine art: Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Joel Meyerowitz, all produced fine art work.  But how about a new photographer whose work hasn't been "stamped" with the fine art label by his or her peers?  More difficult to say.  I hope the above list, however partial, does help.
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David Hoptman
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DavidHoptman
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« Reply #161 on: May 30, 2010, 04:52:59 AM »
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  GREETINGS:
My opinion in regards to Fine Art Photography is this; many photographers today are stuck in a mechanical box. They use a camera which is a machine in all respects, then transfer their image files into their computer which again is a  digital/mechanical device, the image is worked in photoshop or with a myriad of other types of filters then the photographer hits another button on their key board and prints out the image on yet another mechanical device called a printer on a so called fine art paper with archival inks etc, etc.  Where is the human/hands on contact? where is the personal intervention that makes a image unique? where does creative process fit in? Straight Digital photography has made it possible for just about anybody to go out and shoot an image, print it, frame it, hang it and call it fine art. Kind of like an elephant with a paint brush and canvas whose works sell in a fine art gallery. Today digital photography has become so sanitized and removed from fine art processes that I am amazed as to how far the terminology FINE ART has gotten off track. The term fine art has become a commercial selling tool. Something that is FINE ART does not have to be labeled Fine Art!, it goes without saying: This term has been coined by digital paper companies in order to sell their product and for the most part digital photography has bought into this terminology in order to elevate their photographic process to the point where if one prints on fine art paper one has created a fine art image. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In regards to a fine art print having to mounted and matted to museum standards  in an archival way to make it fine art is absurd.  Again this is photographic thinking stuck again inside the box. There are a myriad of ways to present photographic imagery, they can be collaged onto found materials such as doors panels, found objects, cloth, toilet seats for that matter,worked on with pastels, charcoal, water colors, printed with alternative photo processes like Platinum and Palladium, Polymer Gravure, used in conjunction with printmaking processes, monotype, etc, etc, which in the end will render the work of art unique and probably more interesting in many respects than a straight digital FINE ART DIGITAL PRINT, because the photographer stepped outside the digital box and put the time and effort into process, allowing the image to express his  personal  feelings all the while enjoying the interaction of creative process with his captured image. The magic is in the doing.  
I could go on and on. I hope I haven't rained on your Parade.  This is not a personal attack on your work in any way.  

  BEST DAVID HOPTMAN.... www.davidhoptman.com

Thank you for the kind words :-)  

I agree that the term fine art is overused, but then limited editions are also over used.  Currently I only offer my portfolios in limited editions.  On request, and for certain images, I will date the print.  That seems more genuine to me than placing a number out of a huge edition, such as 25/2000, which is eventually meaningless since there are so many prints, even though each of them has a unique number.  Ansel Adams did not number his prints either, unless I am mistaken.

For me a fine art photograph is one that is done with the goal of creating a work of art. It is an image that is done with a high level of craftmanship and care.  It has to be mounted and matted to museum standards, in an archival manner.  

Above all the cost should take a second seat to the concern for quality.  Fine art is about quality, not about quantity.  It is not about trying to save money by buying lower-priced inks, paper, matboard and other supplies.  It is about creating the finest piece you can create, regardless of cost.  

The goal is an artistic rendering of a subject in the finest manner possible.  

Regardless of price and cost, a fine art print should sing. It should have a lyrical quality.  It should transport you to a different place.  It should open a window on another world, the world the artist is inviting the audience into.

it should demonstrate an above-average printing skills.  Ideally, it should demonstrate outstanding printing skills.

A full definition of fine art photography is challenging.  it's a little like defining what is a luxury home, or a luxury car.  Some brands and features come to mind, but how do you rate a new brand, a new product?  

In photography we all know that specific photographer's work can be safely considered fine art: Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Joel Meyerowitz, all produced fine art work.  But how about a new photographer whose work hasn't been "stamped" with the fine art label by his or her peers?  More difficult to say.  I hope the above list, however partial, does help.
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David Hoptman
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RSL
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« Reply #162 on: May 30, 2010, 11:24:51 AM »
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Quote from: DavidHoptman
In photography we all know that specific photographer's work can be safely considered fine art: Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Joel Meyerowitz, all produced fine art work.  But how about a new photographer whose work hasn't been "stamped" with the fine art label by his or her peers?  More difficult to say.  I hope the above list, however partial, does help.

David, That's an interesting list of people you consider to be "fine" artists. How about Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand, to name just two who didn't do Ansel Adams type work?

Actually, "Fine Art" always has been a marketing term in the same way that limited editions of photographs are pure marketing ploys. Neither idea has anything at all to do with the "art," fine or otherwise, embedded in the work.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #163 on: May 30, 2010, 12:39:59 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
David, That's an interesting list of people you consider to be "fine" artists. How about Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand, to name just two who didn't do Ansel Adams type work?

Actually, "Fine Art" always has been a marketing term in the same way that limited editions of photographs are pure marketing ploys. Neither idea has anything at all to do with the "art," fine or otherwise, embedded in the work.
I would certainly include Frank and Winograd in my list.

It's also of interest that Edward Weston once objected to being called an "Artist" in the publicity for and exhibit. He said something like, "Scratch 'Artist' and write 'Photographer', of which I am very proud."


Eric

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-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
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« Reply #164 on: May 30, 2010, 01:48:59 PM »
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Right! I'm with Edward on that one.
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Rob C
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« Reply #165 on: May 30, 2010, 04:48:02 PM »
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I don't believe that anyone can definitively specify what constitutes fine art.

Art exists within a broad media spectrum and even whether it is fine, good or just bad art is ever open to debate. It is what anyone thinks it is and maybe if there's any final criterion it is a personal one that might result in a positive response to the question: would I buy it (if I could) or tell other people about my ownership or appreciation of it?

One could speculate endlessly and get nowhere at all. You would first have to agree what might be art, never mind good, bad or fine.

Rob C
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #166 on: May 30, 2010, 06:13:00 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
I don't believe that anyone can definitively specify what constitutes fine art.

Art exists within a broad media spectrum and even whether it is fine, good or just bad art is ever open to debate. It is what anyone thinks it is and maybe if there's any final criterion it is a personal one that might result in a positive response to the question: would I buy it (if I could) or tell other people about my ownership or appreciation of it?

One could speculate endlessly and get nowhere at all. You would first have to agree what might be art, never mind good, bad or fine.

Rob C
Then I think I'll describe my own art as "medium to medium-fine."  

Eric


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-Eric Myrvaagnes

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Rob Reiter
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« Reply #167 on: October 19, 2010, 11:36:57 AM »
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For years, I've used the tag line "Fine art printing for photographers and other artists" simply to distiguish our service from "machine printing". This started in the days when The LightRoom was a Cibachrome lab, but I think it still applies today because of our level of commitment to helping our clients get the best prints of their images. I never saw it as comment on the pictures themselves. Beauty-and fine art-are in the eye of the beholder.
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http://www.lightroom.com Fine art printing for photographers and other artists
popnfresh
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« Reply #168 on: October 25, 2010, 08:14:16 PM »
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To label any art "fine" is a judgement call and it's going to be different at different times in different places and to different people. A Cartier-Bresson primt that hangs in the Museum of Modern Art might not be deemed worthy of lining the cage of a Taliban Commander's canary. But in every culture there are general values that art must exhibit to earn the rank of "fine". Most often these can't be read off like a laundry list, but exist on a more subconscious level that we can only begin to describe after prolonged exposure to the artwork. I know what's great art to me because of the way I respond to it. If you ask me why it moves me, I will need to think a while before I answer. Then I will gradually begin to describe the qualities I see in it that I like. But none of those by themselves encompass the "fineness" of an artwork. A great work of art is a living thing, and like all living things it dies when dissected into its constituent parts. What is fine art? Like pornography, I can't define it, but I know it when I see it.   
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stamper
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« Reply #169 on: October 26, 2010, 02:44:52 AM »
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Then I think I'll describe my own art as "medium to medium-fine."  

Eric

I would describe mine as medium-rare, very rare.  Wink



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Rob C
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« Reply #170 on: October 26, 2010, 02:54:45 AM »
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Then I think I'll describe my own art as "medium to medium-fine."  

Eric




That's a fine old vintage post I've just discovered.

I'll drink to that, Eric!

As for you, Stamper, you've just made me feel very hungry, and it's only ten in the morning.

Rob C
« Last Edit: October 26, 2010, 02:58:24 AM by Rob C » Logged

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