November 24, 2014, 07:55:05 PM

Author Topic: World's priciest Photograph... bland  (Read 13866 times)

Edwin Herdman

  • Canon 7D MK II
  • *****
  • Posts: 543
    • View Profile
Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2011, 10:44:16 PM »
The bit that c-law and others are missing is that there is something of a gold-bug angle to pricing "fine arts" as well:  Why is it expensive?  It's expensive because investors see it as a store of value!

As to the rest of the argument, I think I hold some common ground with Orion in saying that we can distinguish different reasons for holding a piece of artwork to be valuable than somebody else - and we can judge them superior to others (though I would suggest avoiding this, as I will explain at the end).  Perhaps part of the answer why "modern art" values are so disjoint from "common sense" artistic sense is the result of the modern (i.e., post-Revolutionary France) dislocation from and an apparent destruction of notions of value - i.e. the notion of absolute bases for morals (dead along with God, according to one worldview), or the worth of traditional subjects for fine art to commemorate or extol the virtues of the benefactor (Papist or Medici; elector or local clergy); this follows Hans Sedylmayr's 1948 work "Art In Crisis," which seems better described by its original title "Loss of the Center," speaking of Germans and name-dropping).

It would be disingenuous to say that modern art is all characterized by the attitudes of pernicious territoriality, or that artists are unconcerned with content (it would be fair to say, however, that it is characterized by the tension between content and form, e.g. the poet's attention to sound and pattern on the one hand, and on promoting their ideas on the other - and the only time it seems warranted to denounce an artist's particular balance is when they have put their art in service of something we dislike, which of course is an argument unrelated to the form and content).  Just as Sedylmayr finds that there is a "loss of the center," from the time he examined right up to the present one also finds reason to be critical of authority figures.  In its simplest form, the question becomes:  If I am sending a message through my work, whose will it be?  So phenomena like the "Rape Tunnel" and the proliferation of content-free images are probably less myopic and navel-gazing, in one sense, than they seem.

On the other hand, I think it is definitely fair game to turn the question around:  By declaring war on all content, how do many artists and their modern heralds admit that the extremes of morals-expunged or morals-laden works have anything left to do with art?

Oscar Wilde's "The Decay of Lying" provides multiple answers to the questions, but chief amongst these is that life imitates art (it might help to think of this in the sense of things attempting to become perfect, or to approximate a Platonic ideal, although I do not want to get Plato into this beyond his notion of an ideal plane of existance, which Art most closely approximates), and that Art exists for its own sake.

In putting content-free, or morality-laden, artworks up as the ideal, artists and their owners (not a typo) have essentially returned to nature, creating dim, warped images of nature, rather than pure ideals which go farther than nature.

Although Wilde's piece is not clearly wholly serious, I think even he would nod in consternation at how far the market for artworks has diminished the position of artistic content.

For the chief value of an expensive photograph, or a painting, coin, or hand of dirt or anything, is its market value, so we are told and constantly reminded by the endless printing of headlines heralding a "new record set at auction."  The wealthy investor-buyer of an artwork (who, it should be noted, is partly to blame for the increasing prices of "classic" artworks which most of us would consider simply invaluable) does not need to care an iota about the content, but rather is trying to predict the whims of the market.  A particularly scathing piece about the vacuousness of a certain photographer's works might end up merely furthering the notoriety of that piece.  The fine arts market is in a classic bubble, but it does not appear to be a bubble because so far the wealthy have not been asked or forced to put priority in creating a broad base of wealth, nor have any of the other typical restraints worked to deflate a market whose chief value is its very impracticality.  To the ideal of equality, the wealthy pay lip service; in practice, they seek ever more unassailable and intangible constructions of wealth, and pack their cherished collections off into vaults never to be seen again.  Ironically, more practically invested this money would have a tangible salutary effect on the wealthy as well as on everyone else, but jealousy prevents them from seeing the potential to lift everyone together.

The corrupting effect this mentality has on society takes many, and surprising forms, but of the true and unchanging value of artworks - the persistence and survival of a superior idea or ideal - is something that is not reflected in a balance ledger.  You either "get" an argument or an artwork, or you do not.

As the Bible recommends us to remember, silver tarnishes and tapestries become moth-eaten.  Even so, some people who profess themselves ardent Christians still promote a return to the Gold Standard, in the idea that - rather like the clueless art buyer at auction - gold itself has some inherent monetary value.  What is the inherent value of gold?  Its inherent value is its value, apparently.

For the wealthy, inflation is a chief evil; for the poor, unemployment is.  (See William Jennings Bryan and his "Cross of Gold" speech - just the synopsis will explain it).  Do not be fooled into thinking that the "value" at auction of an artwork as a wealthy man's hedge against inflation is at all related to its utility or durability as a popular meme or a useful idea.  Somebody might try to trademark or get wealthy off other peoples' pictures of dogs with funny hats on their heads, or cats asking if they can haz cheezburgers, but the real value is not money - it's that common element.  It doesn't matter if Socrates or Aristotle didn't have as good a hedge for their earnings as somebody else - we still remember them after more than two thousand years.

OK, so what IS a good reason for valuing an artwork?  Indeed, the context matters for some people.  But the context of a dead-ended intellectual dating game is meaningless for anybody not in on that little secret, as well.  Ultimately, I think that what we value in an artwork is what we value as rational human beings:  The ability of a work to espouse the ideals we subscribe to.  For the superrich, that may be context-free photographs of alternating blue and green stripes, which are as unable to evoke sympathy for the poor as they are unable to condemn the misappropriation of our public debate over the proper role of government.  For everyone else, that may be the hard-fought distinction to be somehow remembered after one's death without the benefit of public trusts in your name.

(Of course, you might notice that I've somewhat sidestepped c-law's central point, which is that there is a monolithic school of thought on photography - nonense.  If some people calling themselves Germans have been bowed over by the wishes of wealthy investors or institutions, that does not diminish the very public role of contrarian viewpoints in shaping the public acceptance of photographs - for every esoteric mention of one school or another, one properly positioned book or article might turn the discussion in a different direction - like here, for instance.  As far as I can distinguish it, the argument that the Düsseldorf school seems to promote is that fame can be arbitrary - which of course is either an abandonment of Art's potential for content, or it is an implicit attack on the idea of merit by means other than worth - since the members of the Düsseldorf school will happily take your money, no matter where you come from; therefore it is suddenly Art which is left without a defender.  Both readings smell strongly of apathy to me; that might agree with Wilde's piece above, but please consider where his political apathy got him.)
« Last Edit: November 13, 2011, 10:53:40 PM by Edwin Herdman »

canon rumors FORUM

Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2011, 10:44:16 PM »

Isaac

  • Guest
Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2011, 05:26:25 AM »
Could someone please explain why this photograph is worthy of $4.3m ?

ianhar

  • Guest
Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2011, 07:32:12 AM »
Could someone please explain why this photograph is worthy of $4.3m ?

Did you even read any of the above comments before posting a reply?

aiman

  • Guest
Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2011, 11:13:29 AM »
I "think" this is not a photograph. It is "art". It is like when yo walk in an art museum and find an abstract work; simple, few lines, even some color splashes and you think "anyone" can do that. Just like Mark Ruthko work. But I "believe" you have to go through many stages in your artistic life to reach such simplicity, yet meaningful expression.

It takes time though to understand it (if only you want to off course), and appreciate it.

As for the price tag, it is all what is it for the beholder. Some brush strokes on a medium size canvas been sold for hundreds of millions. it is all about what is inside the frame, and what life story behind every stroke/click.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 11:22:53 AM by aiman »

Tokswang

  • Guest
Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2011, 05:32:27 PM »
I already have a crap picture like this in my portfolio. He's ripping me off. Should I sue? ;)

Orion

  • Guest
Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2011, 10:02:30 PM »
This image, which is very simple and no other work done to it, other than pressing the shutter button, speaks to me about this world. It conveys to me a sense of belonging, in that although our heads may be full of 'noise' and confusion ( leaves and branches 'melting' together), if we take the time to take our heads out of the clouds with our noses in the air, we will see that the world is really more simple and clear (tree trunks).

Ok who wants to pay me couple million for this image! Ok, what if I make it cleaner and remove the houses from the bgackground. . . May I then ask for 4.3 million? Please? What if I use a film camera, and take multiple shots and then cut the images and use the selected parts to form a newer, cleaner image without the houses there? Who wants to pay me some nice cash for this?

Ok what If I take my film and digital camera and take a few nice shots of the Rhine? Then I will either cut the film and make a new image with clean lines and simple composition, or edit in post using PS, instead of the fiom darkroom. . . . who knows maybe I will make more money doing that . . maybe millions!!! Thing is, nobody knows me . . I am not a name in the fine art world. . . . If only I was well known, such an image might fetch some nice cash, I bet.

Can I get maybe $200 for my photo . . I'll make it a signed limited edition.

Tell you what! I'll redo the whole thing and instead, take a couple months and work on the image, using different parts of the sdame scene . . the 2 months' time work on the image may make it more meaningful, once I clean it up and come up with a new scene from this old one. Yeah . . . . I think I can make the fine art world . . . .

--------

Hey what about my dead flower image!!!

Bet I can get in teh fine art world with that some day soon!

PLEASE HELP STARVING ARTIST! Can I be famous too! I want to be artist, then!

(*insert cheesy grin here)

« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 10:12:18 PM by Orion »

Flake

  • Guest
Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #36 on: November 15, 2011, 03:14:34 AM »
If you want to make a lot of money then bland uninteresting images are the ones to shoot, this particular one commanded the second highest licence ever paid, via the stock agency Corbis.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2060695/Microsoft-XP-background-How-California-view-planets-viewed-vista.html

canon rumors FORUM

Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #36 on: November 15, 2011, 03:14:34 AM »

torger

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 221
    • View Profile
Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #37 on: November 15, 2011, 03:51:35 AM »
I like the photograph, it is a good minimalist photograph, and as far as I can see made with good workmanship and a good large print, and shooting on film always raises the interest some. If I had shot it myself I would proud of it and I would put it on the wall. Is it worth 4.3 million? Well, a little bit pricey I think :-), but the man has a brand and a career. The same picture taken by a "nobody" like myself would not sell for the same price of course. Art price is quite little about what the actual piece of art looks like, it is about the whole context, who made it, in what way, what history the artist has, how unique the item is etc. And of course what the current fashion in the art circles are currently.

If you are into fine art you'll learn what is considered fine taste and what is not :-), for example I don't think a HDR-processed grunge digital picture would gain much interest.

I would not say that his photo is super-easy to do either. I don't know of a place around where I live when I can get that clean a view, you got to find the place and wait for the suitable dull weather, in this case with some horizontal bands in the clouds to echo what's on the ground, the image would be totally wrong with a dramatic sky. Minimalist photographs are quite hard to do, not because of the shooting process (it is easy), but because it is hard to find those clean views and make a good composition. Minimalist photos are less forgiving concerning composition.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2011, 04:12:53 AM by torger »

NormanBates

  • Canon 7D MK II
  • *****
  • Posts: 489
  • www.similaar.com
    • View Profile
    • www.similaar.com
Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #38 on: November 15, 2011, 05:30:17 AM »
if somebody gave me a copy of this photograph, I wouldn't hang it
I would probably throw it away or use the nice, thick paper as expensive cardboard for some DIY project

there's art people like (e.g. I downloaded an image of a Bansky from http://www.banksy.co.uk/shop/index.html, printed it, and have it hanging on my hall), and art whose only value is that it carries a silly price (like this picture)

Sunnystate

  • Rebel SL1
  • ***
  • Posts: 97
    • View Profile
Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2011, 08:03:16 AM »
Almost 30 years in professional art and art photography circles, 5 years of art school is probably enough to have some idea of art market to be the biggest scum of them all. If you think of diamonds and jewelry in general as the most overpriced and corrupted markets on earth you are probably right, but right after the art market.
All the gut feelings you have when you hear stories like the above how ridiculous this is are true in 99.9% of the cases, but people are afraid to speak up the truth just to not look ignorant.
In the age of internet when people do educate them self and are not shy to say what they really like and think, it is much harder to keep selling all those "Skys" "Bergs" and "Stins" for millions of dollars, but they desperately keep trying anyway... In the end this is just another way to invest money in something totally "abstract", ridiculous and useless, but good for the name recognition and status.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2011, 01:20:25 PM by Sunnystate »

CowGummy

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 168
    • View Profile
    • www.smrphotoart.com
Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #40 on: November 15, 2011, 08:52:39 AM »
4.3million? Bargain - I'll take two!
5DmkII   |  50 f/1.4  |  24-105L f/4  |  135L f/2  |  70-200L f/2.8 IS II  |  430exII

CatfishSoupFTW

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 74
    • View Profile
Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #41 on: November 15, 2011, 11:16:08 AM »
the symmetry is nice. the lines are perfect. but the colors and/or the scene isnt BEAUTIFUL. i feel that if I took this exact same S___, i wouldnt have the same attention. Probably because this guy has made a huge name for himself. 
5DmrkII, 40D, 24-105 F4L, 50mm 1.8, 17-85, 70-300

htjunkie

  • Guest
Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #42 on: November 15, 2011, 12:26:47 PM »
This really makes me sick. That picture has absolutely nothing to it. There is no light. I would have deleted right after downloading it. Is it supposed to be the equivalent of a Rothko in photography?

There are so many amazing photographers out there, hiking miles in hostile environments, to catch breathtaking landscapes that no one would see otherwise, or photojournalists risking their life to grab an iconic war picture, or wildlife photographers taking a tack sharp picture of a rare animal in its natural habitat, after waiting for days on end to capture just the right instant, sports photographers catching a athlete mid air all the while being rained on by torrential rain, wedding photographers capturing the love and the story of a magical day in one picture...and then you get this crap, that shows zero skill or even compositional research, this crap that sells for $4.3 million.

It would be like giving the Nobel Prize of Physics to a guy who figured how to break a window by throwing a rock at it. I'm sorry, I just don't wanna hear that it deserves any attention, let alone millions of dollars.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #42 on: November 15, 2011, 12:26:47 PM »

obsoletepower

  • Guest
Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #43 on: November 15, 2011, 01:30:31 PM »
Why did anyone pay $4.3m for this...? it's nice... but whats so great about it.

Experts... please make me see the light.

http://gizmodo.com/5858107/worlds-priciest-picture-is-as-bland-as-it-is-expensive

My grandma has taken better photographs than this and she just learned how to use the shutter button on a camera. It has no depth, no message, colors are bland and has the horizon dead-smack in the center which is bad form. I wouldn't even pay $1 for this.

iaind

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 313
    • View Profile
Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #44 on: November 15, 2011, 02:48:58 PM »
Surely the price quoted was in Zimbabwean dollars.

The phrase a fool and his money........... come to mind
5DIII + BGE11 / 5DII + BGE6 / 40D + BGE2N /8-15 4L / 17-35 2.8L / 24 3.5L TS-E /24-70 2.8II L / 24-105 4L IS /Zuiko 50 1.4/ 100 2.8L Macro IS / 70-200 2.8L /180 3.5L/ 300 4L / 100-400L

canon rumors FORUM

Re: World's priciest Photograph... bland
« Reply #44 on: November 15, 2011, 02:48:58 PM »