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Author Topic: Clarification....Fine Art  (Read 4672 times)

Heavyweight67

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Clarification....Fine Art
« on: July 06, 2013, 01:52:38 AM »
This may seem like a strange/uneducated question, What is Fine Art photography...

I have searched Google re definition, without a clear clarification of what it is or who decides what is or isn't fine art...

Was browsing through the Focus magazine, allot of what is featured is/or seems to be Large Format/Medium format Film (not digital) allot seems to pre-date digital....

From Landscape to nudes, still life to abstract...

As a forum of Photographers, what do you consider Fine Art photography?

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Clarification....Fine Art
« on: July 06, 2013, 01:52:38 AM »

Nitroman

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2013, 04:04:33 AM »
Interesting question ...!  ;)

I think the whole 'fine art photography' genre is open to interpretation, so I can't give a definitive answer to it but i have my own personal thoughts.

I think fine art photography is the high end of the creative craft. It's primarily non digital or at least has some connection with traditional photo skills - such as film, darkroom or alternative processes. Prints such as silver gelatine or especially platinum prints are also extremely archival and the latter last as long as the paper they are printed on - maybe 1000 years.

To me, digital photography is too easy, too clinical and somehow along the way digital photography loses it's soul. You really can't beat the tactile experience of developing a black and white negative in proper darkroom chemicals and watching the magic happen. It's almost like alchemy.

With all that said, I know art photographers who use digital cameras as a capture medium and then tweak the images to produce high end fine art too. A well done Giglee print on art paper also has an incredible tactile quality and the prints apparently last longer than traditional darkroom silver halide based materials.

Perhaps there is no definitive answer ... Some people might argue that Damien Hirst's sheep in formaldehyde isn't really art ... but somebody paid a lot of money for it so maybe it is !  ;D

zim

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2013, 06:24:35 AM »
something with a border round it  ;)

GaryJ

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2013, 06:45:28 AM »
This will bring the same views as when CDs started to usurp the analogue 33 1/3 world. When you look at those multi million $ images ,esp the one of the girl in the dress as well the Rhine one ,it seems the answer is ....whoever will pay for it can call it what they want.
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dinsy

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2013, 07:57:19 AM »
I'd say that Fine Art photography exhibits a certain aesthetic refinement. Of course, that's very general and subjective, but could it be a starting point for a definition?

hamada

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2013, 08:08:09 AM »
make it B&W....print it on expensive paper. sell it for lots of $.

if it´s a boring image... print it HUGE.
and if you have a name in the fine art scene you can even sell snapshots printed on baryta as fine art.

oh i forgot... when you make a youtube video about fine art prints,wear white cotton gloves!!




« Last Edit: July 06, 2013, 08:11:18 AM by hamada »

CharlieB

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2013, 10:25:28 AM »
As they say, "yes its art, but will it sell?"

I think with as with all art, fine art photography should be compelling.  It should be emotionally evocative for its own sake.... apart from social or political or popular statement.

Most "fine art" is not in that league, whether photography, or paint on canvas, or clay, or steel...  Much is just a social facade and patronage.


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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2013, 10:25:28 AM »

unfocused

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2013, 11:54:44 AM »
There is Fine Art Photography and then there are photographs that are fine art. Two very different things.

Fine Art Photography" generally refers to a subset of commercial photographs produced primarily to serve decorative purposes. Aesthetically, they are often attractive, but seldom compelling and unlikely to stand the test of time. At their worst, they may be overwrought HDR images blown up to massive sizes or they may be black and white images made in the "style" of photographers like Ansel Adams, but bring nothing to the table that Adams didn't say back in the 1930s.

It is much more difficult to define photographs that are fine art. The somewhat flip answer would be anything that art critics, curators, collectors and gallery owners say is art. And, there is certainly a lot of truth to that, going as far back as Alfred Stieglitz, who set the standards for what was considered photographic art for much of the first half of the 20th Century. When Stieglitz's tastes changed, the art world followed and artists rose or fell from grace according to his preferences. Fortunately, Stieglitz had good taste.

Generally, but not always, most photographs that are considered true art represent some type of innovation and clarity of vision that is unique to the photographer. Many images that we consider fine art today were never intended to be such when originally photographed, but they have endured because they speak to certain truths and display an aesthetic that is timeless.

The deceptively simple answer may be that art photography is the pursuit of photography as a means of personal expression. 

While it's popular to demean contemporary photographers who are considered to be artists, there are many that I find quite deserving of that term.  I am particularly fond of Ryan McGinley, Rineke Dijkstra, Andreas Gursky and Martin Parr. The subject of photography and art is an endless topic of debate and discussion and there are hundreds of excellent books that delve into the topic. One can easily spend a lifetime seeking the answer to your question.
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distant.star

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2013, 12:41:08 PM »
.
Commendations on asking the question. Most people are afraid of asking a question like this as they don't want to take the chance of looking like a rube. But this is a complex question that I've never been able to answer.

My flip answer is that if you have an MFA degree, any picture you create is "fine art." If you don't have the MFA, nothing you create is "fine art." Frankly, my experience so far suggests that's as good an answer as any. My sincere answer is that I have no damn idea.

If you're interested in linkage between genuine visual Art and photography, this video by Adam Marelli is a great fundamental beginning. I looked for something like this for years:


Bridging the Gap: Classical Art Designed for Photographers

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Chuck Alaimo

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2013, 12:50:58 PM »
I'd say the answer to this is highly subjective, nebluous, in the eye of the beholder.  Is it fine art because of the name of the person who shot it?  Or is it fine art only because of the price tag attached.  This is true for all fine art, not just photography. 

I do believe that you cross a point though, where name and status become more important than what the artist actually produces.  The Rhine II was brought up here.  If you or me were to have taken that shot it may not even have made the cut for our websites.  It's a really boring image.  But it was shot by Andreas Gursky, and anything shot by him is sought after by those wit way too much disposable income - $4.3 million.  And guess what, rhine II was taken throughdigital processing -- "Extraneous details such as dog-walkers and a factory building were removed by the artist via digital editing.[3] Justifying this manipulation of the image, Gursky said "Paradoxically, this view of the Rhine cannot be obtained in situ, a fictitious construction was required to provide an accurate image of a modern river." 

So in short -- just defining what is art is nebulous, subjective, eye of the beholder.   Defining Fine art is just as subjective, nebulous, and eye of the beholder, at least until your uber famous, then a doddle on a napkin is fine art worth multiple millions....
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woollybear

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2013, 01:33:11 PM »
Maybe the answer I got from wood turning helps...

If you turn a bowl and sell it, its worth X

If you turn a vessel and sell it, its worth 2X

If you turn a vessel and name if (e.g. serendipity) its fine art and its worth 4X

If you turn a vessel and name it, and are famous for turning bowls, its worth 8X

But in the end, its still just a wooden bowl

dougkerr

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2013, 01:33:58 PM »
Traditionally, "fine art(s)" was a term that served to distinguish such arts as sculpture, painting, and musical composition and performance from "practical" arts such as carpentry, furniture making, watchmaking, cuisine, and the practice of law. It often distinguished a division of a university devoted to somewhat that range of disciplines.

The term is perhaps best left to that usage.

If we were to agree what "fine art photography" was, what could we do with that wisdom? Perhaps know in what division of the State Fair we should try and enter our work? How to describe a print that was stolen to the insurance company?

Best regards,

Doug

yogi

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2013, 05:31:04 PM »
It is not so easy to define because the definition, or idea of fine art is always changing, just as cultures and societies and humans are always changing. On the one hand, one's idea of good art is very subjective. An artist can be a financial and popular success, but panned by the critics. and vice-versa, and both.I think Wikipedia gives a pretty good definition of what constitutes fine art, and fine art photography (at least in this period of time). Some countries give fine art a higher status than crafts, and some dont. Also, see wikipedia's opinion of avante-garde, keeping in mind that Wikipedia's definitions and ideas are those of various people, most(or all?) of whom are in the academic community. One idea i like is what is the photographer's intent for the images: marketing, recording of an event for historical records, purely for aesthetical reasons, to be used as an aid in creating canvas paintings, scientific study or records,etc., and sometimes those reasons cross over to produce a combination of results. The Hubble telescope was intended for scientific research, but i personally find the images of galaxies, nebulae,etc very pleasing to look at, and at the same time stimulate my curiosity about the mysteries of the universe and life. Would those images be considered fine visual art? I am tempted to say you know it when you see it, but that wont work as a definition either, since so many people have different ideas and reactions to art. In short, I believe there can be very generalized and constantly changing ideas of what fine art is, and the difinition cant be placed in a square box with  exact dimensions. The Impressionist painters were slow to be accepted in the academic world, but see how popular their art is now, and how much it sells for. When i was a young child and first saw images of Van Gogh's paintings in a magazine, my immediate reaction was WOW! I could not stop looking at them. What was the purpose of those photographic images of Van Gogh's art? I still sometimes get the same reaction today. At the same time, i like the phrase "variety is the spice of life". I would get bored with seeing the same old images or same old style of creativity all the time. Originality sometimes can be good.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2013, 06:02:56 PM by yogi »

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2013, 05:31:04 PM »

CharlieB

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2013, 10:02:34 PM »
we can just abbreviate fine art as fart, as in artsy-fartsy

Heavyweight67

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2013, 10:39:47 PM »
.
Commendations on asking the question. Most people are afraid of asking a question like this as they don't want to take the chance of looking like a rube. But this is a complex question that I've never been able to answer.

My flip answer is that if you have an MFA degree, any picture you create is "fine art." If you don't have the MFA, nothing you create is "fine art." Frankly, my experience so far suggests that's as good an answer as any. My sincere answer is that I have no damn idea.

If you're interested in linkage between genuine visual Art and photography, this video by Adam Marelli is a great fundamental beginning. I looked for something like this for years:


Bridging the Gap: Classical Art Designed for Photographers


I watched this a while back, have to admit some of it made sense, but then I will have to also admit that some of it made no sense ( to my mind at least)...

Seems all of the responses to my question gave me the answer....and that answer is Art is subjective, but also Art is Art or Fine Art when academics say so...

Guess it's one of those " Don't ask questions" or maybe "Don't question what is art"

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Re: Clarification....Fine Art
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2013, 10:39:47 PM »