Author Topic: Photography as Art  (Read 1850 times)

keithsnell

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Photography as Art
« on: February 02, 2008, 04:25:27 PM »
Alain Briot is one of my favorite contemporary authors when it comes to discussing "photography as art."  Although his most recent article on Luminous Landscape is titled "Introduction to Composition," he goes into great detail to discuss his philosophy on photography as "art" versus photography as "record keeping." 

Take a look at the link:  http://luminous-landscape.com/columns/Composition_Intro.shtml and let me know what you think.

Keith
« Last Edit: February 02, 2008, 05:05:09 PM by keithsnell »

Jimfc

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Re: Photography as Art
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2008, 09:14:33 AM »
Hi Keith,
  I'm quite familiar with Alain and his beautiful southwest images.  This same topic has come up many times in the digital photography classes that I teach and here is my philosophy:  If the image is representative of an event for news or scientific purposes that documents an event or subject, then no alteration other than color correction, cropping, and sharpening should be applied.  However, if the event or subject is representative of the way the photographer feels about a subject or the way the photographer sees the subject, then there are no rules and the artist should be free to manipulate the image any way he or she chooses.  The manipulation can even include adding or removing elements to the image.

  However, don't manipulate an image and then attempt to pass it off as a documentation! That is simply unethical.

Jim Caldwell

keithsnell

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Re: Photography as Art
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2008, 09:32:15 AM »
Jim,

Your philosophy is very similar to mine.  However, I know many photographers that feel conflicted about this issue.  What makes this difficult is that many times we don't know what the "end use" will be for the image.  If I submit an image for stock, I don't know if it will be used for "art" or for "documentary" purposes.  And some end users (advertising) "photoshop" reality as a matter of course.  The "book" answer is that photographers should truthfully label their images as "digitally altered" if we have significantly altered the image.  Unfortunately the general public seems to view an "altered" image as a fake.  We need to educate them to understand that it is art.  My stock agent will gladly accept a photograph of artwork that depicts the artists interpretation of reality, but they are reluctant to accept an "altered" photograph.  And yet they know that many of their clients will use the photograph in a "composite" for advertising.  (For example, placing an image of a cruise ship in the foreground of a beautiful image of the harbor.)  I think part of the problem is the "dual use" nature of photography, and the difficulty the public has in understanding when a photograph is intended to be "art" vs. documentary.

Keith

Jimfc

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Re: Photography as Art
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2008, 08:15:32 PM »
Hi Keith!
  You bring up a very good point!

  What I do is clearly label what changes have been made and try to avoid the term "digitally altered".  One of my agencies actually has a box to check for images that have had modifications, which is really a good idea for the agencies!  I would say that 99.9% of my images have no alterations other than sharpening, etc.

  Actually, if we really think about it, all images, even snapshots, are manipulations.  As a photographer, we decide what to include in the frame, and as importantly, what not to include!  We decide when to trip the shutter and which images to keep and which to share (or sell).  So, really all images are simply a representation of reality.

Your friend,
Jim C.

  Many of the debates I have encountered haven't really been "manipulation" vs documentation, but rather purity vs "cheating".  I have had students who believe that only those images that have been shot and displayed full frame without any kind of image alteration are worthwhile images and everything else is not worthy of consideration.  This same debate has had roots in painting vs photography, color vs B&W, film vs digital, and so on!

naomi

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Re: Photography as Art
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2008, 07:21:38 AM »
I would have to say that I do process my photos to make them look better...some more than others. So I would consider myself an artist more than a historian.
Here's a bit of "artwork" that I've been working on recently titled " Dead Pan Ladies". I created it to make the viewer think...excite the senses so to speak.

keithsnell

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Re: Photography as Art
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2008, 07:43:18 AM »
Definitely thought provoking.  :)

Keith