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Author Topic: Price and Edition  (Read 57766 times)
ChrisS
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« Reply #40 on: February 28, 2009, 06:05:14 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
When a sculptor make casts from a mold the mold is deteriorating with each cast. Cast #1 will be different from cast #40. When a photographer makes prints from a negative or a digital file the negative or file doesn't deteriorate. Print # 40 may be better than print #1. Numbering them is silly, but I'll admit it's a way to manipulate the "art market." I guess that's appropriate since the "art market" depends on manipulation even to exist.

It depends on which type of mold is being used, of course. But deterioration of a mold need not be the determining factor in deciding the limit to the number of casts. (Have you read of Rodin's estate, in which he left his works, molds and rights of reproduction to the French state, which decided to limit reproductions to 12 of any work.  Were they being silly?)  

Numbering the casts/ prints may or may not be silly, but placing a limit on the number of works produced in an edition isn't silly in the fine art context.
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RSL
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« Reply #41 on: February 28, 2009, 11:53:01 AM »
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Quote from: ChrisS
It depends on which type of mold is being used, of course. But deterioration of a mold need not be the determining factor in deciding the limit to the number of casts. (Have you read of Rodin's estate, in which he left his works, molds and rights of reproduction to the French state, which decided to limit reproductions to 12 of any work.  Were they being silly?)  

Numbering the casts/ prints may or may not be silly, but placing a limit on the number of works produced in an edition isn't silly in the fine art context.

Chris, I can't disagree with your last statement. The "fine art context" is based on marketing, not art, and numbering prints is part of marketing. In summary all I can say is, if numbering your prints floats your boat then number away. Numbering a print doesn't make the print "finer," but it may make it appear more valuable to the gullible.
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leeonmaui
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« Reply #42 on: March 21, 2009, 03:32:22 AM »
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It is rather shocking to me to read some of the comments posted in this thread in regards to limited editions. I am assuming most of the photographers posting are considered professional. It would certainly behoove you to do some actual research on what a limited edition print is and the legal protocols involved in producing limited edition prints before giving off the cuff advice to others.

Masking work with an open edition numbering system and a provenance are crude attempts at marking at best and down right misleading at worst. This is why there are laws.

Many of the artists here seem to misunderstand what a provenance is and how it functions in the art world, and have subjugated the documents meaning and intent to conform to some sort of double speak in regards to the editions they produce.

A disclosure is a document that is produced by the publisher/artist that gives details of the named artwork in regards to its creation and distribution,, it is completely unnecessary for an open edition.

A provenance is a detailed record of the history of a piece art; it concerns itself with an individual piece of arts journey through time.  

Any photographer that disregards the importance and value of limited edition prints does not understand the art fine market. They may be a great artist, but simply making an argument that limiting the edition size of a print is somehow false doesn’t speak to the underlying principles of the fine art market.

Keep in mind the collector of art on any level is a patron of the arts.
As an artist it should be your desire and obligation to extend to your patrons the highest possible quality or best example of your artistic endeavors. This is also the way you grow and mature as an artist.  
I also feel you have an obligation to protect not only your art, but the investment of the collector as you both now have entered into a fiduciary agreement of sorts. Limiting the number of reproductions you do will set a value, a benchmark if you will of the manor you intend pursue your career it also carries with it a number of legal protocols.

If an artist releases a print as a limited edition and then they sell open editions of this same piece, they certainly could be committing fraud. I only use the word “could” because if they had bothered to write a disclosure which is a legal document that states your intentions in regards to a reproduction, you could have disclosed the fact that you reserved the right to reproduce the images in other formats, media, editions, states and sizes. Therefore; they “could’ be innocent of fraud, however; their integrity as person/artist would surely and rightly suffer.

Here again understanding what you are doing when endeavoring to produce limited edition prints requires much more than being able to write numbers on the print.

To state that limited editions is about controlling the supply and therefore increasing the demand does not tell the whole story ether,  there are a myriad of factors an artist must consider.
Mass market selling of ones photos or limited editions of ones work are both marketing choices, they are both business decisions, one or the other is not false or better.

Anyway that my 2 cents…

Lee Rylee

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RSL
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« Reply #43 on: March 21, 2009, 09:00:55 AM »
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Quote from: leeonmaui
Any photographer that disregards the importance and value of limited edition prints does not understand the art fine market.

As an artist it should be your desire and obligation to extend to your patrons the highest possible quality or best example of your artistic endeavors.
I also feel you have an obligation to protect not only your art, but the investment of the collector...

Lee Rylee

Thanks, Lee, for making my point again. You're right, limited edition prints are supposedly more valuable in a monetary sense than open edition prints because they're more "precious." After all, there are fewer of them.

You're also right that any artist should desire to extend to his patrons the best examples of his work, but numbering prints doesn't do anything to make the work any better.

As far as protecting the "investment" of the collector is concerned, that's his problem, not mine. If he buys a print as an "investment" rather than as something he wants to look at, then he's not an "art" patron. He's an "investor." He might just as well be investing in a rare coin.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not knocking the "fine art market." My brother collects rare coins. There's certainly a place for collectors and collections, which includes what we call the "fine art market." But let's not confuse the collecting scene with art. They're not the same thing.
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luong
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« Reply #44 on: March 24, 2009, 01:08:20 AM »
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Quote from: alainbriot
FYI "giclee" is a French word that means "Spray".  Used in the context of printing it stands for "ink spray".  All inkjet printers spray ink (hence their name: ink-jet) therefore all inkjet printers produce giclees.  The 2200 is an inkjet printer therefore it produces giclees. It's just a fancy term for a commonplace printing method.

Personally, I much prefer to use the term "pigmented prints" or "inkjet prints".  Much more straightforward.  I agree with you on this point.  In my book, I recommend calling things by their name.

However, to go back to your example, there's nothing manipulative with the artist you refer to using the term giclee to describe his printing process.

Alain

Historically, "Giclee" was used to designate IRIS printers. The IRIS were able of producing high-quality prints at the time when the current inkjet printing technology was in its infancy. They were very expensive, and  did not work at all like today's inkjet printers. Rather, there was a rotating drum and a continuous ink squirt system - making them more illustrative of  another meaning of the French word that has been alluded to. When today you use the term to designate an Epson print, it may or may not impress those not in the know, but it will likely be a turn off to those in the know. From what I've seen in many galleries, the common designation is "APP", or "Archival Pigment Print".
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luong
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« Reply #45 on: March 24, 2009, 01:16:41 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
There's certainly a place for collectors and collections, which includes what we call the "fine art market." But let's not confuse the collecting scene with art. They're not the same thing.

Maybe not, but the other part of the contemporary art scene, that includes such things as museums, curators, galleries, critics, art magazines, art fairs,  prizes and biennales, seem to gravitate around the same artists as those that are prized by collectors. Not entirely sure it is  a coincidence. To see how a collector thinks, I suggest you have a look at the excellent blog http://dlkcollection.blogspot.com/ You will see a level of interest and knowledge about photography that is not shared by coin investors, and some members of this forum :-)
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RSL
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« Reply #46 on: March 24, 2009, 04:03:57 PM »
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Quote from: luong
Maybe not, but the other part of the contemporary art scene, that includes such things as museums, curators, galleries, critics, art magazines, art fairs,  prizes and biennales, seem to gravitate around the same artists as those that are prized by collectors. Not entirely sure it is  a coincidence. To see how a collector thinks, I suggest you have a look at the excellent blog http://dlkcollection.blogspot.com/ You will see a level of interest and knowledge about photography that is not shared by coin investors, and some members of this forum :-)

That may be true, but there's a lot of difference between "investing" and collecting art for its own sake. I'm not sure what you include in the phrase, "knowledge about photography." Are you talking about the history of photography or the equipment of photography or the chemistry of photography..? Seems less than a revelation to find that coin "investors" don't know much about photography. They probably do know a bit about coins.
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luong
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« Reply #47 on: March 24, 2009, 06:26:37 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
That may be true, but there's a lot of difference between "investing" and collecting art for its own sake. I'm not sure what you include in the phrase, "knowledge about photography." Are you talking about the history of photography or the equipment of photography or the chemistry of photography..? Seems less than a revelation to find that coin "investors" don't know much about photography. They probably do know a bit about coins.

Knowledgeable collectors understand about most aspects of photography beyond the obvious historic and esthetic ones, including technical aspects that are integral to a photographer's realized vision.  For instance, they may not be interested in knowing that a particular shot was done with a Rodenstock instead of an Schneider, but they understand what kind of descriptive power can be attained with what particular format, and how it affects the esthetics of a particular print.  If it is not clear what knowledge about photography is in evidence in the link I posted, maybe the fact that they know more about photography than coin collectors needed to be spelt out :-)
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RSL
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« Reply #48 on: March 24, 2009, 07:09:37 PM »
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Quote from: luong
Knowledgeable collectors understand about most aspects of photography beyond the obvious historic and esthetic ones, including technical aspects that are integral to a photographer's realized vision.  For instance, they may not be interested in knowing that a particular shot was done with a Rodenstock instead of an Schneider, but they understand what kind of descriptive power can be attained with what particular format, and how it affects the esthetics of a particular print.  If it is not clear what knowledge about photography is in evidence in the link I posted, maybe the fact that they know more about photography than coin collectors needed to be spelt out :-)

Tuan, Understand, I'm not knocking fine art investors. I'm sure they know a great deal about what makes a photograph valuable in a monetary sense -- which I'm sure includes the rules they've been taught in art school. And I certainly can see that groups of investors must agree on what aesthetic and other qualities make a work of art valuable in a monetary sense, otherwise there would be no fine art market for those investors. But beyond that I think a person who's completely uneducated in commonly accepted ideas about what makes a photograph "valuable" is perfectly capable of appreciating a really good photograph. Investors, and those who cater to them have their world. Artists and those who appreciate art have theirs. Sometimes the two worlds intersect, usually to the detriment of those who aren't investors.
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John Camp
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« Reply #49 on: March 25, 2009, 11:28:04 PM »
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I've found that collectors and curators of photography generally know more about photography (as a subject area) than *most* photographers. It's like in baseball, which has a huge number of dedicated fans, and a very small coterie of people who can actually play in the big leagues. What they know about different - the fans know about statistics, abilities, etc., the players know how to track down a fly, how to pick up a fastball, etc. But what about high school ball players? They don't know what the fan knows, but they also don't know what the big leaguer knows. And that's where most photographers -- like 99% -- are. The don't make great art, but neither are they (usually) as knowledgable as a dedicated collector. To say that a wedding photographer, knowledgable as he may be in his craft, knows more about photography in the wider sense (aesthetics, history, personalities, print quality, etc.) than a dedicated collector, would usually be wrong. There's no reason a wedding guy *should* know all that stuff. He's a craftsmen, not an academic. It's like suggesting that a guy who makes bookcases should know more about furniture than the curator of the furnishings period collections at the Met, or an antique dealer, or whatever. They're different fields of knowledge, and the academic one is broader. Further, it has been my experience that most academics, curators and collectors are also photographers, and sometimes quite good ones. Some photographers, of course, also have advanced degrees in art history...it's not all just one thing.

The assumption that most people collect for investment reasons is also wrong. There are much better investments than photography -- in fact, almost anything (rational) is better. Most people collect because they love the art, and they know a lot about it. If they're going to pay a lot for it, they usually want to know why - and that's where art advisers come into it. They can look at things like limits on the editions, precise quality concerns (is it archivally fixed?) and so on. There's usually not a concern about making a lot of money, but just seeing that the piece holds its value, which is a normal thing, if you're going to pay a lot more than its obviously nominal worth. I saw an Ansel Adams "printed later" (1970s) "Moonrise" at LA Art this year, with an asking price of $150,000. Why would anybody pay that? That's what a collector wants to know; it doesn't have anything to do with greed, it's simply a reasonable question. If I needed a garage, and somebody offered to sell me one for $150,000, I'd ask the same thing. Why that price, and not some other? Is the garage in good shape, or is it going to fall down next year?

JC
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John Camp
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« Reply #50 on: March 25, 2009, 11:34:46 PM »
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Hmm, I seem to be replying to my own post. 8-)

A further thought. I bet if you could devise a test on such things as print quality, history, personalities, aesthetics, predictions of what would eventually be considered the finest art of the era, camera types and handling, lenses, film/sensor types, etc., and gave it to 1,000 people -- the top 500 photographic artists and the top 500 collectors/curators -- that *none* of the photographers would score in the top 100.

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« Reply #51 on: March 26, 2009, 03:01:08 PM »
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Quote from: John Camp
Hmm, I seem to be replying to my own post. 8-)

A further thought. I bet if you could devise a test on such things as print quality, history, personalities, aesthetics, predictions of what would eventually be considered the finest art of the era, camera types and handling, lenses, film/sensor types, etc., and gave it to 1,000 people -- the top 500 photographic artists and the top 500 collectors/curators -- that *none* of the photographers would score in the top 100.

My answer to that is: "So what?" You don't make a good photograph -- good in the sense that it grabs someone when he looks at it -- as a result of technical or historical knowledge, a degree in art appreciation, an ability to predict the future, knowledge about camera types, lenses, film/sensor types, etc. You make that kind of photograph as a result of what I'd call a transcendent, unconscious ability to connect with what's significant in your surroundings. You may be right that some curators are also good photographers, but being a good curator hasn't anything to do with being a good photographer and vice-versa.

I also rather suspect that the kind of gift I'm talking about in a photographer is inborn, not taught -- very much like musical ability. Of course you have to have mastered your equipment, but that's true of any art, including music.
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John Camp
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« Reply #52 on: March 26, 2009, 11:11:07 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
My answer to that is: "So what?" You don't make a good photograph -- good in the sense that it grabs someone when he looks at it -- as a result of technical or historical knowledge, a degree in art appreciation, an ability to predict the future, knowledge about camera types, lenses, film/sensor types, etc. You make that kind of photograph as a result of what I'd call a transcendent, unconscious ability to connect with what's significant in your surroundings. You may be right that some curators are also good photographers, but being a good curator hasn't anything to do with being a good photographer and vice-versa.

I also rather suspect that the kind of gift I'm talking about in a photographer is inborn, not taught -- very much like musical ability. Of course you have to have mastered your equipment, but that's true of any art, including music.

Well, I think you're wrong about all of that.

See"Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell, a current bestselling non-fiction book, and "Talent is Overrated," by Geoff Colvin, also a current bestseller. Gladwell actually tells you what it takes to become a master photographer -- about 10,000 hours of hard, focused work. No talent necessary.

JC
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David Sutton
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« Reply #53 on: March 27, 2009, 04:14:28 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
I also rather suspect that the kind of gift I'm talking about in a photographer is inborn, not taught -- very much like musical ability. Of course you have to have mastered your equipment, but that's true of any art, including music.
I agree with John on this one. I've taught music for some 25 years. It's not inborn in the sense you mean. What matters is the ability to work really hard. Is that talent for hard work inborn? I see no evidence for that either.
David
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« Reply #54 on: March 27, 2009, 05:19:17 AM »
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Quote from: Taquin
I agree with John on this one. I've taught music for some 25 years. It's not inborn in the sense you mean. What matters is the ability to work really hard. Is that talent for hard work inborn? I see no evidence for that either.
David

As I said, you need to master your craft. You're both right in the sense that it takes a lot of work, and I certainly agree that the willingness and ability to work hard isn't inborn.

But, after 25 years teaching music are you really telling me that anyone willing to work hard can step up and become a concert pianist? I had a friend who was a quite competent concert pianist in a technical sense, but the technical expertise, which came from very hard work, was just technical expertise; I never felt that she really was able to get inside the music and interpret it in a way that made it moving. I always thought that Oscar Levant was a pretty sloppy pianist in a technical sense, but he could interpret Gershwin in a way that brought tears to your eyes.

But, let's face it, being able to play music isn't the same thing as creating art. A closer analogy would be composing music. Because, that's what a good photographer does: compose. How many of your music students were able to compose? If one was able to do that and do it well, first he had to learn music. You can come up with a neat little tune without knowing anything about music, but you can't turn it into something worthwhile until you learn the craft. On the other hand, just learning the craft doesn't turn you into a Giacomo Puccini.
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John Camp
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« Reply #55 on: March 27, 2009, 01:53:08 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
But, after 25 years teaching music are you really telling me that anyone willing to work hard can step up and become a concert pianist?

I can't speak for Taquin, but that's what Gladwell and Colvin say, and they have lots of studies to back them up. One of the studies involved people who were going to a music academy in Germany (IIRC.) The students were divided into three groups -- those who would have starring concert careers, those who would be top-level professional musicians, and those who would have less prominent musical jobs. The *only* distinguishing characteristic that could be found was that the stars practiced harder than the second group, and the second group practiced harder than the first -- and the difference was substantial in numbers of hours per week, with the eventual stars practicing almost to the limit of human concentration on a weekly basis. The second group practiced half as much, and the third group, half of that. This was not "playing," as in recitals, but purely hard practice. The eventual stars had not been distinguished from the other groups by early signs of talent, intelligence, or, in fact, by *anything,* except that, over the years, they routinely practiced more. A lot more.

There are lots more examples, including from the sports world. Tiger Woods gave a golf demonstration on TV when he was *2.* He didn't do this because he had a fantastic talent for golf and somehow recognized that as a two year old -- it's because his father was a golf fanatic who had him practicing golf at 2. Woods never really pushed much past beating people in his own age group until he was a teenager -- and he beat people in his own age group when he was younger apparently because he practiced longer and harder than any of them.

These two books are interesting and maybe even shocking. What they say is, you *can* be a master photographer if you want to do 10,000 hours [Gladwell] of focused study...there are even cliches about this: "The harder I work, the luckier I get," etc. By the way, 10,000 hours is 40 hours a week for five years. If figure that if you did *nothing* but study photography (and related skills) in a standard college art course for four years, you'd be about a third of the way there; and of course, that doesn't happen. For most people, you'd be more like a sixth of the way there, if that. It takes a *lot* of work.

Another point...Michael Reichmann's photography isn't to my taste (I'm not big on nature or travel photography) but I use him as an example because everybody here knows his work -- who on this forum actually shoots more than he does? With all the other stuff that he does (running the forum, etc.) he still seems to shoot all the time, which Colvin and Gladwell would suggest is the principal attribute of a "talent" in any field. . And Reichmann's very good at it -- his photographs are quite interesting in the way that we usually refer to as "talented" -- that is, they are technically good, but also have that little extra thing that we call "eye," or "style," or whatever. He has another attribute of the "talented" -- he's fascinated by the tools of the trade, and he's always pushing the limits. I haven't asked him, but if somebody did ask, "Was your talent inborn, or did you have to do a lot of work to get where you are?" I suspect he'd talk a lot about the work, and not so much about the talent.  

JC
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« Reply #56 on: March 27, 2009, 03:10:09 PM »
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Quote from: John Camp
I can't speak for Taquin, but that's what Gladwell and Colvin say, and they have lots of studies to back them up. One of the studies involved people who were going to a music academy in Germany (IIRC.) The students were divided into three groups -- those who would have starring concert careers, those who would be top-level professional musicians, and those who would have less prominent musical jobs. The *only* distinguishing characteristic that could be found was that the stars practiced harder than the second group, and the second group practiced harder than the first -- and the difference was substantial in numbers of hours per week, with the eventual stars practicing almost to the limit of human concentration on a weekly basis. The second group practiced half as much, and the third group, half of that. This was not "playing," as in recitals, but purely hard practice. The eventual stars had not been distinguished from the other groups by early signs of talent, intelligence, or, in fact, by *anything,* except that, over the years, they routinely practiced more. A lot more.

There are lots more examples, including from the sports world. Tiger Woods gave a golf demonstration on TV when he was *2.* He didn't do this because he had a fantastic talent for golf and somehow recognized that as a two year old -- it's because his father was a golf fanatic who had him practicing golf at 2. Woods never really pushed much past beating people in his own age group until he was a teenager -- and he beat people in his own age group when he was younger apparently because he practiced longer and harder than any of them.

These two books are interesting and maybe even shocking. What they say is, you *can* be a master photographer if you want to do 10,000 hours [Gladwell] of focused study...there are even cliches about this: "The harder I work, the luckier I get," etc. By the way, 10,000 hours is 40 hours a week for five years. If figure that if you did *nothing* but study photography (and related skills) in a standard college art course for four years, you'd be about a third of the way there; and of course, that doesn't happen. For most people, you'd be more like a sixth of the way there, if that. It takes a *lot* of work.

Another point...Michael Reichmann's photography isn't to my taste (I'm not big on nature or travel photography) but I use him as an example because everybody here knows his work -- who on this forum actually shoots more than he does? With all the other stuff that he does (running the forum, etc.) he still seems to shoot all the time, which Colvin and Gladwell would suggest is the principal attribute of a "talent" in any field. . And Reichmann's very good at it -- his photographs are quite interesting in the way that we usually refer to as "talented" -- that is, they are technically good, but also have that little extra thing that we call "eye," or "style," or whatever. He has another attribute of the "talented" -- he's fascinated by the tools of the trade, and he's always pushing the limits. I haven't asked him, but if somebody did ask, "Was your talent inborn, or did you have to do a lot of work to get where you are?" I suspect he'd talk a lot about the work, and not so much about the talent.  

JC

John,

What can I say? "Studies" like these have so many holes in them from a statistical standpoint that they kind of resemble Swiss cheese. That's what always happens when you try to quantify the unquantifiable. I view Michael's photography much as I viewed my concert pianist friend's music: technically flawless but missing the spark that makes art sublime. (Sorry, Michael.) Robert Frank had the spark. Cartier-Bresson had it. I could fill a short paragraph with a list of photographers who had it. What I couldn't do is fill a paragraph with a list of people who worked their butts off over many decades but never quite got past the kind of Marlboro-ad perfection "studies" can measure. But I can tell you that the list would be a lot longer than a paragraph, or even a page. More like a book. I can't fill the paragraph or page or book because those photographers' names and their work have disappeared into the dustbin of history without leaving a trace.

The only thing "studies" can measure is technical perfection. Intelligence, by the way, has nothing to do with it. An idiot savant can have music as his special talent. And when you bring in someone like Tiger Woods from the sports world you give your game away. That's exactly what you're talking about all the way through your reply -- the ability to excel in a mechanical sense, which is exactly what Tiger's hand-eye coordination is: mechanical, though the mechanics may be far below conscious thought. I don't doubt that Tiger developed that kind of coordination through huge amounts of practice. In the end, though, golf simply isn't art.

But don't think I'm knocking the hard work part. It takes that too -- lots and lots of it, and it's always seemed to me that people with a particular talent simply enjoy doing the thing for which they have a talent. They tend to work harder because they love what they're doing. That, incidentally, is one of the large statistical air-holes in the studies. Studies like those don't necessarily measure what they claim to measure.

I think hard work brings technical perfection but for someone to do the kind of work, say, Cartier-Bresson did, there has to be a spark that goes beyond technical perfection. Do you really believe that Chopin produced what he produced strictly because he was a hard worker? Mendelssohn? Puccini? Beethoven? Mozart? ... Really?
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« Reply #57 on: March 27, 2009, 03:46:43 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
What can I say? "Studies" like these have so many holes in them from a statistical standpoint that they kind of resemble Swiss cheese. That's what always happens when you try to quantify the unquantifiable. I view Michael's photography much as I viewed my concert pianist friend's music: technically flawless but missing the spark that makes art sublime. (Sorry, Michael.) Robert Frank had the spark. Cartier-Bresson had it. I could fill a short paragraph with a list of photographers who had it. What I couldn't do is fill a paragraph with a list of people who worked their butts off over many decades but never quite got past the kind of Marlboro-ad perfection "studies" can measure. But I can tell you that the list would be a lot longer than a paragraph, or even a page. More like a book. I can't fill the paragraph or page or book because those photographers' names and their work have disappeared into the dustbin of history without leaving a trace.
...

Your claim that great art requires "talent" lacks a fundamental tenet of science: your claim can not be falsified. While I'm not an arts scholar, I can pretty safely say that any artist who is still remembered after generations, from Da Vinci to Picasso, from Vivaldi to Sibelius has put their 10k hours in it. There might be an outlier or two, artist who has created a substantial body of work without putting in the hours. The only one I know of is Robert Johnson, but he sold his soul to the devil at a crossroads in Mississippi...

So we have a chicken and egg problem: since practically all great artists have put in their 10k hours, does that mean all great artists are great because of the 10k, or because of some other factor? Since the connecting factor is the 10k hours, and we have no other mutual characteristic, I believe the onus is on you, Mr Lewis, to falsify the statement that all it takes to be great is the number of hours you put in.
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« Reply #58 on: March 27, 2009, 04:49:50 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
John,

What can I say? "Studies" like these have so many holes in them from a statistical standpoint that they kind of resemble Swiss cheese. <snip>

I think hard work brings technical perfection but for someone to do the kind of work, say, Cartier-Bresson did, there has to be a spark that goes beyond technical perfection. Do you really believe that Chopin produced what he produced strictly because he was a hard worker? Mendelssohn? Puccini? Beethoven? Mozart? ... Really?


Actually, Mozart is one of the people reviewed in one of these books, and it turns out that his compositions are generally viewed as pretty mediocre until he hit his late teens. The author (of whichever book it was that cited the study -- I'm not going into the other room to figure out which one it was) says that Mozart actually appears to have been somewhat of a late bloomer. Because his father was a well-known composer and player of the time, and started Mozart with intense music studies before he was two years old, Mozart put in *way in excess* of his 10,000 while he was still a child, and yet didn't produce any signature works until he was almost twenty. Like Michael Jackson, to cite a contemporary example. Jackson was the lead singer for the "Jackson Five" when he was still a small kid, but didn't make "Thriller" until he was in his twenties...

The studies don't appear to have statistical holes in them; that's what makes them so fascinating. They were published in peer-reviewed journals, and are widely replicated by people who are interested in what causes creativity. The statistics are really quite simple: you take a large enough sample of people from such things as single classes, you follow their progress, you look at the variables, you predict who will do what, and if your predictions work out, the variable is significant. And the only significant variable they've been able to find is practice.

I don't consider that finding particularly strange in creative fields, because the human brain is so malleable, at least when basic intelligence falls within the normal range. What I do find strange is that it even carries over into such fields as sports. Do you know that virtually all Canadian hockey stars are born in January, February and (to a lesser extent) March? Could you figure out why that is rue?  

JC
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David Sutton
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« Reply #59 on: March 27, 2009, 04:58:07 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
But, after 25 years teaching music are you really telling me that anyone willing to work hard can step up and become a concert pianist?
Yes
Quote from: RSL
But, let's face it, being able to play music isn't the same thing as creating art.
What??

I think you are confusing the artistic merits of any given artist with your own tastes. You are not an objective reviewer of someone else's artistic abilities. Any more than, say, I am.
What I am saying is that hard work will put you right up there with the top performers. After that the "critics" will argue over you abilities. That's all right. Some will like you and some will not. If leave work behind you in the form of written or recorded music, or photographs, you will also move in and out of fashion as have the composers you mentioned. There often emerges a collective opinion that a certain artist was great, but at the same time a sizeable percentage of the population will still loathe their work. That's all right too. Not being loathed can be enervating for many people. There is no mysterious aura surrounding art. Art just means skill. Look the word up. Do you mean fine art? No mysterious aura there either, unless you are doing self-publicity.  
For myself I can say that some artists convey their feelings well and I am truly moved and the experience is wonderful. And sometimes I am moved but dislike what I am experiencing and  wish the artist had kept their wretched feelings to themselves.
David
BTW, if you think Tiger Wood's abilities are purely mechanical you could perhaps discuss that with any top coach.
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