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Author Topic: What is art?  (Read 7374 times)
PeterAit
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« on: August 31, 2013, 05:30:04 PM »
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A timely reminder to all the sharpness and technique fanatics on LuLa. Yes, just a refrigerator magnet, but the message is no less true.

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Peter
"Photographic technique is a means to an end, never the end itself."
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Peter Stacey
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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2013, 05:39:05 PM »
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Well this certainly produces an emotional response in me, but that doesn't make it art and it remains a huge waste of public money:



In photography, the quality of the print itself also has artistic value and the technical aspects most certainly can (and often do) contribute to the artistic value of the final result.

While (at risk of referencing and often used quote), a sharp image of a fuzzy concept is not good; a fuzzy image of a sharp concept can be just as disappointing.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 06:12:51 PM by Peter Stacey » Logged

HSakols
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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2013, 06:45:36 PM »
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Interesting medium

« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 06:48:08 PM by HSakols » Logged
Gulag
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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2013, 11:51:49 PM »
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Marcel Duchamp argued everything is work of art, not only ready-made objects, (for example, urinal) are art, even everyone's breathing is also art. On the other hand,  Andy Warhol stated, "making money is art and working is art."  The belief that only "artists" make art is so superannuated and we live in an age where art has ceased to exist in the traditional western intellectual definition.  

"This is the reason for this journey into hyperreality, in search of instances where the American imagination demands the real thing and, to attain it, must fabricate the absolute fake; where the boundaries between game and illusion are blurred, the art museum is contaminated by the freak show, and falsehood is enjoyed in a situation of “fullness,” of horror vacui."

— Unberto Eco. “Travels in Hyperreality.”
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“For art to be art it has to cure.”  - Alejandro Jodorowsky
Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2013, 03:44:00 AM »
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Well this certainly produces an emotional response in me, but that doesn't make it art and it remains a huge waste of public money:



In photography, the quality of the print itself also has artistic value and the technical aspects most certainly can (and often do) contribute to the artistic value of the final result.

While (at risk of referencing and often used quote), a sharp image of a fuzzy concept is not good; a fuzzy image of a sharp concept can be just as disappointing.



I'm not so sure; that photograph is a beautiful example of interesting subject and damnd nice framing and capture.

Rob C
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PeterAit
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2013, 08:40:54 AM »
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While (at risk of referencing and often used quote), a sharp image of a fuzzy concept is not good; a fuzzy image of a sharp concept can be just as disappointing.

I have nothing against sharpness per se and seek it out in most of my photos - but, I treat it as a necessary element of *some* good photographs, and not as an end in itself.
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Peter
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mezzoduomo
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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2013, 12:05:51 PM »
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A timely reminder to all the sharpness and technique fanatics on LuLa. Yes, just a refrigerator magnet, but the message is no less true.

This topic is bound to dissolve into semantics, sensibilities, and subjectivity. My wife often says, "If I can say 'I could have done that', it's not art". I disagree with her.

Is a urinal 'art'? If one thinks it's art when presented in a gallery, does it remain art when it's on the wall in the train station restroom?

If a person creates a concept (contemplative photo, abstract painting, upside-down bicycle fork mounted on a stool, modern dance piece, 21st century 'classical music'...whatever might challenge someones conventional definition of 'art') and then executes that concept intending for it to be perceived as art, then it's art.

The Mona Lisa, an Ansel Adams print, or a steaming pile of elephant dung on a silver platter becomes 'art' when it is conceived, executed and presented as art. Whether good or bad art is an entirely separate matter.
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Peter Stacey
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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2013, 05:18:39 PM »
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I'm not so sure; that photograph is a beautiful example of interesting subject and damnd nice framing and capture.

Rob C

I agree and admit my initial reply was a bit facetious.

I don't think any discussion of art used as a basis to criticise can be summarised in a 50 c fridge magnet. The whole basis of the thread to me is flawed.

A photograph, as in the physical thing itself, also has an artistic quality and to provide a 'timely reminder to the sharpness and technique fanatics on LuLa' is not the way to start a thread in my view, particularly in relation to photography where the craft is as intimately a part of the process as the 'vision' (for want of a better word).

In some cases, the execution of fine craftmanship can be the art.

To be honest, I don't think LuLa has a problem with fanatics that requires any sort of timely reminder.

So my reply was a bit facetious in relation to hundreds of thousands of dollars given to an artist to design a hot air balloon to commemorate the centenary anniversary of Australia's capital city. The end result bears no relationship to Canberra and without an explanation, it does nothing to represent the centenary in any way.

As a piece of art, it fails the fridge magnet test but is still widely regarded as a piece of art (and a waste of money by many other people in the city).

So either the fridge magnet message is wrong, or it simply isn't sufficiently detailed enough to be used to criticise anyone. My bet is it isn't detailed enough. Art is much deeper then that and in many cases (eg. centenary hot air balloons) explanation may well be needed.

At the same time I have seen many prints (and have a couple hanging on the walls of my house) where the print itself has been masterfully produced and is a thing of beauty on its own. It's thanks to fanatics that these prints exist.

For me personally, the perfect marriage of a fine concept with masterful execution is the ultimate goal in my photography. Both are required for certain works.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 05:35:24 PM by Peter Stacey » Logged

PeterAit
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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2013, 05:26:50 PM »
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I don't think any discussion of art can be summarised in a 50 c fridge magnet. The whole basis of the thread to me is flawed.


No offense, but - gimme a break! The bloody magnet - 4 dollars by the way - was meant only as a succinct expression of one of many possible approaches to the "what is art" question. There is (of course, DUH!) no answer to this question, but is does make for some interesting discussions!
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Peter
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Peter Stacey
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« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2013, 08:11:19 PM »
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No offense, but - gimme a break! The bloody magnet - 4 dollars by the way - was meant only as a succinct expression of one of many possible approaches to the "what is art" question. There is (of course, DUH!) no answer to this question, but is does make for some interesting discussions!

Sure it does. So why not open the thread that way, in the positive rather than the negative?

When trying to make a point about the value of art as an emotive medium, there's no need to criticise people who get involved in technical discussions. Both approaches are valid and really good photographic art often excels in meaning and execution.

There are some discussions where the technical aspects are extremely valid to achieving quality output. In some cases, the quality of the technique helps to focus attention on the meaning.

Technique and meaning don't sit on opposite sides of a divide. They compliment each other.
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2013, 07:24:00 AM »
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Quote
Is a urinal 'art'? If one thinks it's art when presented in a gallery, does it remain art when it's on the wall in the train station restroom?

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes...well...you know, that context thingy kind of changes things along with one's perception about it.

The art is in the fact the perception was changed without one's knowing about when and how. That's when the magic happens!
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 07:25:45 AM by Tim Lookingbill » Logged
PeterAit
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« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2013, 08:48:01 AM »
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Sure it does. So why not open the thread that way, in the positive rather than the negative?

When trying to make a point about the value of art as an emotive medium, there's no need to criticise people who get involved in technical discussions. Both approaches are valid and really good photographic art often excels in meaning and execution.

There are some discussions where the technical aspects are extremely valid to achieving quality output. In some cases, the quality of the technique helps to focus attention on the meaning.

Technique and meaning don't sit on opposite sides of a divide. They compliment each other.

Maybe if you read (and understood) my posts before replying....? Just a thought.
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Peter
"Photographic technique is a means to an end, never the end itself."
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Isaac
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« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2013, 11:08:07 AM »
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Maybe if your posts clearly expressed your understanding...?
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Manoli
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« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2013, 11:37:29 AM »
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Maybe if your posts clearly expressed your understanding...?

Isaac, you're a scream ... !
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Peter Stacey
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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2013, 01:52:09 PM »
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Maybe if you read (and understood) my posts before replying....? Just a thought.

What does 'a timely reminder to all the sharpness and technique fanatics' mean? Was that written as a compliment and I somehow missed it?
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 01:53:40 PM by Peter Stacey » Logged

Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2013, 05:33:46 AM »
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I basically agree with the fridge magnet, and with the idea of the emotion being more important than the substance.  Photography can be art, but most photographs are not 'art', and why should they be.  Because the emotional impact is the key thing, a piece of art will appeal to some and not others. Sometimes I think that for something to have value as art it needs to have as many detractors as devotees.

The message I take from the OP is that far too many photographers concentrate on the technical aspects of the medium and relegate the creative.  Possibly that is because while a challenge, the technical side is much easier to master than the creative - at least it is for me and most photographers I know! Personally I have no great urge to become an artist, I will just settle for being a good photographer.

Jim
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Manoli
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« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2013, 06:28:37 AM »
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Sometimes I think that for something to have value as art it needs to have as many detractors as devotees.

DaVinci ?
Picasso ?

.. the technical side is much easier to master than the creative - at least it is for me and most photographers I know!

British mathematician, Sir Erik Christopher Zeeman, once said, "Technical skill is mastery of complexity while creativity is mastery of simplicity."

Personally I have no great urge to become an artist, I will just settle for being a good photographer.

Couldn't agree more, +100
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Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2013, 09:13:04 AM »
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Whilst I tend to agre with Señor Pascoe on this, I also find that Manoli's quotation attributed to Sir Erik has hit the button too.

Simplicity is often the key to something impressive, much as a bloody nose also delivers an unmistakable, if simple, stark message.

Not much in favour of bloody noses (at least for myself) I am utterly convinced that simplicity is a massive part of art that works. Not only is this true of contemporary art works, but also in the commercial world of advertising, where complexity usually breeds confusion and not a lot more. Incidentally, the advertising and magazine photography of the 50s, 60s and 70s produced some memorable runs of quality themes, leading me to conclude that the better aspects of photographic imagery were then to be found within the commercial sphere. Admittedly, there wasn't much else going on then in the photo-world outwith the commercial sectors... today, there is, and I generally wonder why.

Anyway, you don't become an artist: you either are one or you are not. Again, as starkly true and painful news as that bloody nose.

Rob C
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PeterAit
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« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2013, 09:38:16 AM »
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What does 'a timely reminder to all the sharpness and technique fanatics' mean? Was that written as a compliment and I somehow missed it?

No, it was most definitely not a compliment. It was (I don't know why I have so say this over and over) an expression of my opinion that sharpness and technique are A MEANS TO AN END and not THE END ITSELF. If you don't understand this, there's really nothing more I can say.
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Peter
"Photographic technique is a means to an end, never the end itself."
View my photos at http://www.peteraitken.com
Rob C
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« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2013, 01:32:06 PM »
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No, it was most definitely not a compliment. It was (I don't know why I have so say this over and over) an expression of my opinion that sharpness and technique are A MEANS TO AN END and not THE END ITSELF. If you don't understand this, there's really nothing more I can say.


But I can: +1.

;-)

Rob C
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