August 22, 2014, 06:45:12 AM

Author Topic: Art Tool or Art Object?  (Read 1999 times)

distant.star

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1453
    • View Profile
    • Tracy's Shooting Gallery
Art Tool or Art Object?
« on: March 02, 2013, 11:51:25 AM »
.
A while back we briefly discussed a Wired article by Pete Brook:

Do We Love Cameras for Their Brains or Their Bodies?

http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2013/01/daniel-arsham-reach-ruin/

It was about an art exhibit in Philadelphia using camera sculptures. The exhibit seems to ask the question is a camera a tool to make art or a piece of art in itself. After some discussion with another person on this forum, I said I'd go see the exhibit and file a report. So, for what it's worth, here's my report:

http://deadreckoning1.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/reach-ruin-or-not/



Walter: Were you listening to The Dude's story? Donny: I was bowling. Walter: So you have no frame of reference here, Donny. You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know...

canon rumors FORUM

Art Tool or Art Object?
« on: March 02, 2013, 11:51:25 AM »

Quasimodo

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 864
  • Easily intrigued :)
    • View Profile
    • 500px.com
Re: Art Tool or Art Object?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2013, 12:45:57 PM »
Interesting, well written, thought provoking, and a welcomed perspective, I think your analogy to guns is acute to a certain extent. While both guns and cameras tries to stop action, only the former aims to kill or to injure, while the latter acts in a non-destructive manner.

Photography to me is art, a technical intellectual endeavour, at times a tideous task (when asked to shoot within strict parameters for money), intellectually stimulating, and finally an existencialistic journey. I feel your review touched much on the last, thus welcome.

If not already, I bet you would enjoy reading the French sociologist Bruno Latour. He is very much concerned with the essence of matters.

G
1Dx, 5DII w/grip, 3x600 EX RT, ST-E3
Canon: 8-15L, 16-35L II,  24-105L , 70-200L IS II, 17L TS, 135L, 100L, 2x III TC, 40 F2.8 STM, 50 F1.4. Sigma 35 F1.4 Art, Sigma 85 F1.4, Sigma 150-500.
www.500px.com/gerhard1972

distant.star

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1453
    • View Profile
    • Tracy's Shooting Gallery
Re: Art Tool or Art Object?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2013, 01:47:45 PM »
.
Thanks for the Latour tip, Quas. Looks interesting.

I'm stuck in the past with Jacques Ellul and "The Technological System" kind of thing.
Walter: Were you listening to The Dude's story? Donny: I was bowling. Walter: So you have no frame of reference here, Donny. You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know...

TheBadger

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 37
    • View Profile
Re: Art Tool or Art Object?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2013, 11:24:40 AM »
I've always said,  If it looks good, it will fly good.
"Qui audet adipiscitur"

rpt

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 2141
  • Could not wait for 7D2 so I got the 5D3
    • View Profile
Re: Art Tool or Art Object?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2013, 11:34:34 AM »
.
A while back we briefly discussed a Wired article by Pete Brook:

Do We Love Cameras for Their Brains or Their Bodies?

http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2013/01/daniel-arsham-reach-ruin/

It was about an art exhibit in Philadelphia using camera sculptures. The exhibit seems to ask the question is a camera a tool to make art or a piece of art in itself. After some discussion with another person on this forum, I said I'd go see the exhibit and file a report. So, for what it's worth, here's my report:

http://deadreckoning1.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/reach-ruin-or-not/

I like the poem.

agierke

  • 7D
  • *****
  • Posts: 346
    • View Profile
Re: Art Tool or Art Object?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2013, 09:12:14 PM »
nice article. it certainly looks like a fascinating show.

one thing you wrote did give me pause though...

Quote
One alters a physical object at distance while the other preserves that object in time

though on the surface this statement seems true, i would argue that both (gun and camera) can alter the object at a distance and you go on to illustrate how this phenomenon happens in photography with the reactions people have towards the prospect of being photographed.

 public awareness of the power of photography has caused your average person to near instantly "change" when confronted by a lens. whether that change is positive or negative is inconsequential as it is the change itself that is often unwelcome by the photographer. how difficult has it become to document the true state of human nature as compared to the times of say Dorthea Lange, Cartier-Bresson, or Alfred Stieglitz?

 what was also interesting to me is your dismissing of your own qualifications to consume, process, and understand art. whenever someone is so self defacing i feel the need to attempt to demystify the subject.

 if you go back and look at art throughout human history (from cave paintings to the renaissance to the latest modern movements) the common thread is simply an effort to communicate an idea or experience. it is truly that simple. too often a viewer assumes that an artwork is "above" them because they do not understand it but the truth can be any number of possibilities that include that individual not being a part of the intended audience or that the artist didn't effectively communicate the intended idea or that there is no attempt at communicating anything to the viewer at all. in this last case i would argue that the viewer is not actually looking at "art" but instead something trying to resemble art.

 when i studied the history of photography i found it very interesting that early in its adolescence, the medium shifted from a scientific curiosity to avent-garde art form as artists like Julia Margaret Cameron, Henry Fox Talbot, and Henry Peach Robinson employed it during the pictorialist movement. it wasn't until Stieglitz and Steichen championed photography's merits as an artform that the establishment started to take it seriously outside of a documentary role. it was argued that photography relied far too heavily on mechanisms and an "artist's hand" couldn't be present amongst such heavy reliance upon technique. 100 years later and i think it is clear that that is not the case.

 maybe the confusion comes from the waters being ever more muddied....anything is art regardless of the effort or intent. i refuse to accept this myself. there is plenty out there that is definitely NOT art but i think your average person (including yourself) is quite capable and naturally equipped to experience and discern what art is.

 i actually think your article proves your ability to know what art is as the show clearly communicated something to you with which you then shared with us.
5D3, 5D2, 5DC, s15mm Fish, 24mm TSE, 35mm F1.4L, 50mm F1.2L, 85mm F1.8, 100mm F2.8L, 24-70mm F2.8L, 70-200mm F2.8L, 580EX, 580EX2, 600EXRT

distant.star

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1453
    • View Profile
    • Tracy's Shooting Gallery
Re: Art Tool or Art Object?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 10:44:07 PM »
.
Thanks, agierke.

I appreciate your taking the time to write a thoughtful and interesting response.

Your "how difficult has it become to document the true state of human nature as compared to the times of say Dorthea Lange, Cartier-Bresson, or Alfred Stieglitz?" is something I think/wonder a lot about. Could people really have been that much different? I saw a picture yesterday of an Atlantic City beach scene in 1912. A photographer (big glass plate thing on a tripod with hood, etc.) taking portraits of people sitting on a donkey. There must be 100 people all looking at the photographer at work -- and yet not a single one looking at the photographer taking the picture I was looking at. That suggests something very different, even mystifying to me. But then I also wonder about the whole progression of "street photography." The old rules of only black & white, only candids, only in public, "decisive moment," etc. seem to be changing as color takes over more and more. And more fascinating to me is the posing and interaction, even storytelling that is accompanying a more emotional street photography today. That sure goes to your question about documenting the true state of human nature.

Thanks again. I really appreciate it.
Walter: Were you listening to The Dude's story? Donny: I was bowling. Walter: So you have no frame of reference here, Donny. You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know...

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Art Tool or Art Object?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 10:44:07 PM »

agierke

  • 7D
  • *****
  • Posts: 346
    • View Profile
Re: Art Tool or Art Object?
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2013, 12:15:00 AM »
its something i think about quite a bit as well even though i don't really do street photography per se.

another classic discussion that overlaps the above is whether photography is capable of truth or if every photo is a perception of the photographer. (i lean towards favoring the latter rather than the former) it sort of nullifies the idea that you could even capture "the true state of human nature" as every shot is both an interpreted "edit" by the photographer and an imposed reaction from the subject.

Dorthea Lange is an interesting one to study as she was known to sometimes heavily direct her subjects to achieve the end goal of telling the story she was assigned. whether her subjects adjusted their demeanor (or how much) in the presence of Lange's lens will never be known.

Lee Friedlander and Gary Winogrand are probably the most well known and accredited "street" photographers and likely more appropriate to use as an argument for capturing true nature. i remember hearing an anecdote about how Winogrand would shoot his rolls of film and then purposefully not label the roll and put aside for more than a year sometimes before developing it. his hope was that when he did finally develop the roll that he would have fresh eyes towards the subject matter and would be without any of the expectations and persuasions that carried over from being in the moment of shooting the subject. an interesting effort to attempt to remain true to the moment but eventually our perceptions enter into the process.

 i think the idea of "storytelling" is a more comfortable way of describing photography but the problem still remains of who is telling the story. the photographer or the subject? i know i become internally frustrated when my subject begins reacting in a way that i wasn't anticipating or in a fashion that is contrary to my preconceived notions. to put it bluntly....goofballing. maybe i should accept the subjects performance as a part of them regardless of how contrived it feels and just move on to the next subject. a subject who becomes irrationally self conscious is equally frustrating.

 these concerns ultimately seem frivolous as the true nature of these types of photographs tend not to reveal themselves until much time has passed. or to put in other terms...what seems mundane today may take on significance when viewed 20 or 30 years in the future.

 bottom line is i should probably think less about it and shoot more....let the photos sort themselves out in time!     
5D3, 5D2, 5DC, s15mm Fish, 24mm TSE, 35mm F1.4L, 50mm F1.2L, 85mm F1.8, 100mm F2.8L, 24-70mm F2.8L, 70-200mm F2.8L, 580EX, 580EX2, 600EXRT

Quasimodo

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 864
  • Easily intrigued :)
    • View Profile
    • 500px.com
Re: Art Tool or Art Object?
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2013, 05:12:41 AM »
.
Thanks for the Latour tip, Quas. Looks interesting.

I'm stuck in the past with Jacques Ellul and "The Technological System" kind of thing.

I briefly encountered him while I had my reading of several works on propaganda, but would not say that I know well of his works.
1Dx, 5DII w/grip, 3x600 EX RT, ST-E3
Canon: 8-15L, 16-35L II,  24-105L , 70-200L IS II, 17L TS, 135L, 100L, 2x III TC, 40 F2.8 STM, 50 F1.4. Sigma 35 F1.4 Art, Sigma 85 F1.4, Sigma 150-500.
www.500px.com/gerhard1972

FunPhotons

  • 7D
  • *****
  • Posts: 405
    • View Profile
Re: Art Tool or Art Object?
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2013, 06:50:48 AM »
Oh yes, for me. Photogs love to repeat "it's not the camera" but one reason I love photography is because of the equipment.

  • I'm a computer engineer by day, so when I need a break taking a mini-computer out into the world is an extension of that
  • I love the challenge of having just the right kit for a shooting situation
  • I enjoy using it, holding it, taking care of it all

There's nothing wrong with that at all, I also enjoy getting great shots (not enough of those)! I'm tired of some photographer who is proud of his beat up, scratched and dented camera, like it proves he works hard. That just proves he doesn't know how to take care of the equipment for his professional livelihood.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Art Tool or Art Object?
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2013, 06:50:48 AM »