I made no mention of this discussion in my post, intentionally. I only discussed the challenge of getting the average Joe to realize post processing of images is something that every image needs to go through (without it as the article pointed out they won't look like the scene at all), and using tools to enhance and improve the image should be considered artistic license, not something to be scorned or looked down on (unless you are representing to the viewer absolute realism such as in photo journalism).
Oh, well, I thought you were making reference to what prompted my original post. My original post was to DChew for the specific statement he made, "I don’t think the art of photography is any easier. I made the comparison to an oil painter with a magic “undo” brush. It is not any easier to create the art, but the magic brush makes it much easier to experiment and to practice."
I simply thought this was a self-contradiction. Because of things like "undo," "reversable color sliders," etc., in point of fact this is precisely why
easier to work with as an art form than painting. Heck, a good photographer can take, adjust, and post-process hundreds
of images a day ... while a painter can barely get through one complicated piece a week, if he's lucky.
I do see your point, though, and I don't mean to imply that there is "no" difficulty or skill level that needs to be gained in photography, far from it. The best photographers need to develop complex lighting skills, an innate perspective and capturing skills, as well as a degree of post-processing skills that most people will never even fathom. But my own original point was, that it's still easier to create "art" with a camera and Photoshop than with a blank canvas, colors, and a brush. And the very fact that a top photographer will come back from his photo shoot with hundreds
(or even thousands
) of images ... while a painter will still be working on the very first
piece of work he started with ... is pretty much proof positive of which form of art is "easier" to create.
But trying to compare the difficulty of two art mediums seems a pointless discussion, as the visual results are what counts and not how long it took to create or how long it took to acquire the skills to create. To be considered an artist probably only requires some viewers appreciate your work as an art form. certainly there are different levels of that appreciation, and some may worry about "legitimizing" themselves as artists ... in fact most photographers are frustrated because it seems the "art world" in general doesn't consider photography a legitimate art.
I am not sure if it's a pointless discussion, Wayne, precisely because you just finished saying that the art world in general doesn't consider photography a legitmate art form. Why do you think that is Wayne? Could it be that this "general view" makes
my point, rather than makes what I said pointless
? The very fact that there has been an inherent lack of respect for a photographer's "finger push" to create his work ... when compared to the time, effort, and skill a painter must employ ... is
the point, I would think.
And yet, having said this, let me argue the other side of the coin ... for, as a developing photographer myself, I also
understand that there is a whole lot more to taking a good photo than what the Average Joe understands. For this reason, I completely disagree that photography is "not" an art, I am quite well aware that photography is an art
(at least in some cases), an art that I personally enjoy, love, and have quite a bit of fondness for. But a form of art that, while there are
skill levels that need to be mastered, is still easier to master than painting.
Funny, because if an "artist" takes a lousy picture of some place, then paints the scene (a great many artists paint from photographs, some even tracing outlines via projection), adding anything they want and removing anything they want they may create a beautiful painting and because it's a painting, it's art. If I make the effort to take a beautiful photograph of the same place and then enhance it so it is visually stunning using post-processing tools, I'm a cheat, and I'm not an artist.
Interesting points, Wayne.
Let me respond with a couple of beliefs:
1. I think it is perfectly okay for a painter to use a photograph for reference, but IMO any painter who "traces lines" from that photograph is a no-talent cheat IMO. (Why? His skill
did not create the image.);
2. Because of the above, I don't think "post-processing a photo" as an art-form can be held in the same regard as creating a work of art, from scratch, by hand. (In point of fact, you basically just admitted that it is not
held in as high a regard by the general art community.);
And yet I still think photography is both a legitimate and worthy form of artistic expression ... for those who can't paint
Don't get me wrong, I love
photography, and I respect every photographer who has more experience than I do and who has learned his craft well. I also love looking at other people's photos and creative vision, because they inspire my own. And I realize that I have a long way to go to being able to achieve all of the results I want to achieve in my own efforts. And yet, despite these sincere feelings and convictions on behalf of photography, no "great photograph" will ever
earn my deepest respect and admiration in the way that a great painting
In other words, if we can step back from the trees so that we can see the forest, Ansel Adams (as popular as he may be to other photographers) will never
command the level of overall respect and admiration from the public as DaVinci, Picasso, Michelangelo, etc. Never in a million years. Why? Because the average person "with a good camera" knows he can come a lot closer
to taking photos like Ansel Adams ... than the average person "with a brush and a canvas" knows he will ever
get to painting works of art like Michelangelo, Picasso, and DaVinci, that's why. This is an innate knowledge that people simply have.
In fact, our forum moderator Michael previously scoffed at the a priori
aspect of it all, but I believe this truth is a priori
! Again, this is why, if you ask the average person about Ansel Adams ... 95% of them will say, "Ansel who?
" ... while pretty much every literate person on the face of this earth knows who Michelangelo is. There simply is an innate respect for the Master Painter that the "master photographer" will never have ...
IMO, denial of this fact isn't rebuttal; it is only denial.
Back to my point, as to whether it is harder to paint than it is take a picture, that seems sort of an irrelevant discussion (no disrespect, I do see where you might be coming from).
Well, I certainly don't mean any disrespect to you either Wayne (or any other photographer, including my own aspiring self). I merely wanted to make a quick comment to DChew about what he said, regarding a matter that I thought was pretty self-evident, but apparently it has hurt a lot of sensitive feelings on this subject. Sometimes that's the way it goes though ...
I think there are a couple of things being muddied here, namely the appreciation for beauty
and the skill it required to capture that beauty
If I take a beautiful photograph, I think I can rightfully appreciate the beauty of the image. And if the shot took some skills to acquire & process (that the average person might not be able to appreciate), I think my peers will appreciate both the beauty as well as the skills it took to take the shot. But maybe my lack of post-processing didn't allow the shot to be all it could be.Case in point
: I recently took a pretty cool and well-composed photo of an old truck ... but my post-processing skills (and artistic vision) were severely limited and so the image I posted was quite ordinary "as is." However, three of the members here liked my basic image and, with their own post-processing knowledge and artistic vision
, transformed my original shot into 3 different "works of art," each of which had a totally different look and feel to it, all off of the same original image. And I truly did enjoy all 3 "artistic interpretations" of my original core image ... all of which were rendered by the 3 members in a FAR better manner than I could render them myself ... and I completely understand and respect the fact that all 3 of these fellows expressed better artistic vision than I had, as well as possessed more post-processing skills to realize their vision than I had.
And yet I still
don't think any of these men "moving sliders" and "applying layers" to the original image, through Lightroom and Photoshop, could compare skill-wise to the ability to actually draw/paint the image, from scratch
, by hand
. They are simply two totally-different levels of talent and difficulty.
But to gain the skill to excel at photography at the highest level, which takes considerable practice and mastery of several areas of a craft is no easy task, and indeed I see many try that don't do very well. I also know many people that can "paint", but I wouldn't call them artists. There is an inherent creative spark that is required to elevate ones work to that level ... images that inspire awe and amazement in viewers, be it with a brush or with a camera.
I agree with this, and I personally enjoy all forms of creative expression, nature photography in particular, and I am always trying to do better and learn more in my own abilities as a photographer. Hell, I don't even think about painting most of the time, I am simply obsessed with photography and enjoy looking at (mostly nature) photos immensely.
I just wanted to make a little comment here ... but, unwittingly, I wound-up opening a Pandora's Box of feelings and beliefs on what appears to be a very touchy subject ... for photographers