Fine art photography

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by anthonymarsh, Feb 2, 2021.

  1. If anyone has the book cover for daybook ll California (hardcover) and feels up to it, I would greatly appreciate a good photo of the entire cover that I could print. Mine is missing. Thanks.
  2. I would put Weston on the list of art, not fine art. For reasons given before.
    Cum suis means what it means. Stieglitz nor Weston were the only ones that took their position v. what a photograph should 'be'. Weston changed sides, had reasons to do that. And he joined others on that side.

    Fine art has no subject. It is not a statement or expression of a position re anything. The subject matter, whatever it may be, is not the subject matter of fine art. The way it is rendered is. That the diversity of subject matter seen in fine art works therefor makes it hard to classify fine art is no surprise. You cannot, based on subject matter.

    What those things are doesn't matter, as mentioned, it is what those things are there for does. In short: if the only reason is being pretty, it is fine art.

    What do you want to say quoting Weston's daybook?
  3. Add this to the list of declarations I tend to ignore.
  4. It's a description, Sam.
  5. "In short: if the only reason is being pretty, it is fine art."
    Ok then. simple. except a common agreement on pretty... that opens a strange door for me. "Art produced or intended primarily for beauty rather than utility." Since pretty or beauty is all over the map I cannot see it coming to rest on such a limited tidy perspective. Also 'utility' opens a door that fails to restrict the boundaries. I don't really care much for the label but for conversation I accept & appreciate the need. I am glad for the evolution & common usage of the term.
  6. Perhaps. If so, an eccentric and limited one that has no historical foundation.
  7. On the contrary, Sam.
    It is not stuck in an early 20th century definition of what art and fine art are, and how the two (not) differ.
    It's historical foundation is what happened since.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2021
  8. And there you have another declaration. Examples, quotations, citations, references, and actual arguments for a position are non-declarative.
  9. Dustin McAmera

    Dustin McAmera Yorkshire

    I think when the OP said 'fine art' photography he just meant photographs taken for their own sake; he's not planning to photograph people's dogs and babies for money, or houses for sale, or advertising, journalism, etc. He's planning to take the pictures because he likes them.

    The Ilford B&W films are pretty good, and widely available. I'd start with FP4 for daylight, and I'd stick with that until you're used to it.
    If you want to do handheld stuff in bad light, or get some grain for the effect, try some HP5. If you want to print really big, you can use a fine-grain film like Pan F. Another moderate-speed film I like is Adox CHS100.
    I wouldn't bother with filters more than a UV filter (reduces haze in the distance) and maybe a yellow to begin with. It darkens the blue in a sky slightly, and shows more detail of any clouds; it will also change the relative brightnesses of other coloured things in your view. Some people use a yellow-green instead for landscapes, to brighten foliage. Use a lens hood too.
  10. q.g. I have no idea where you are getting the idea that "if the only reason is being pretty, it is fine art." Why only? Can't you at least entertain the idea that if the primary reason is to create beauty... otherwise it seems a pretty useless label. Even then it seems very restrictive imo... until i expand the meaning of beauty to include much more than pretty. which it does for me. As for intent, as in the intent to only create beauty, well I don't see intent working in the sort of vacuum that there can only be one to qualify as fine art.

    My quoting Weston from the daybook was because I think maybe what he saw in the pepper was 'beauty' to him and that is what he wanted to capture. he wanted to present not a pepper but a place or state of mind of beauty. My initial response to it can coat-tail to his excitement and his description.
    as with,
    "I have been photographing our toilet, that glossy enameled receptacle of extraordinary beauty. Here was every sensuous curve of the human figure divine but minus the imperfections. Never did the Greeks reach a more significant consummation to their culture, and it somehow reminded me, in the glory of its chaste convulsions and in its swelling, sweeping, forward movement of finely progressing contours, of the Victory of Samothrace." EW daybook
    Excusado & likely The [Winged] Victory of Samothrace were intended to be beautiful but there was added intent. One was to show the beauty of a ordinary object the other likely to commemorate an event and deity.
  11. The "art is the idea." The pepper was a great idea. Couple that with an artist's sensibility (which includes execution) and you have a work of art.
  12. I think the question under discussion at the moment is the meaning of "fine art," not art. "Fine art" does not exclude ideas, of course, but is there something that distinguishes "fine art" from "art?"

    My understanding is that in some contexts "fine art" is used interchangeably with "art," especially when it's meant to distinguish something from "commercial art" or "craft." And, sometimes "fine art" is used as a subset of "art." I understand the phrase by its usage, not by various restrictive definitions. I've heard people use "fine art" to emphasize the craft, such as "fine art" prints. I don't think that usage supplies a complete definition of "fine art," but I understand why they'd use the phrase in that context. Just as I understand why certain photos are placed in the "fine art" category of PN, even photos born of an idea.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2021
  13. I don't think the answer lies in linguistic nit-picking. I use the term art" interchangeably with "fine art." And I use the term "crap" for much of the rest of it.
  14. Those contexts, Sam, are the old ones, using fine art in an obsolete sense and meaning. Things have evolved. What they then called fine art (and some still do) has grown to be known as just art. I understand the confusion caused by (mainly) institutions still clinging to that old name, that at one time was used to distinguish 'decoration' as a form of expression from what it was before: the mere adornment of something else.
    You have heard about what fine art, as the thing distinct from art, is: an undertaking focussed on the craft. The result is there to illustrate the craft. That has become, historically, what 'fine art' is.

    The term 'crap', Arthur, is indeed apt for quite a lot of what claims or pretends to be art. The term art has been discredited so much that we may need another one.
  15. QG, as you have yet to supply one or two examples (I'm not asking for a list) of fine art, your conception of it (unique to you) seems merely theoretical and to have no real-world application or consequence. Also, some examples of people, theorists, critics, artists, or curators who use the term as you claim (falsely) it's evolved would be helpful to figuring out what you're talking about.
  16. Just as some art can be deemed to be crap, so can some judgments on or opinions about it. As a matter of fact, I'd give most artists a leg up on most opinionators. At least the artists, even those accused of making crap, have had the guts to take paint to canvas, eye to camera, or chisels to marble. The opinionators, on the other hand, are often armchair quarterbacks gaining weight while they eat chips and guacamole watching others play the game.

    I think labelling most art "crap" is simply a belch of cynicism and little more.
    I agree. But it would be shallow thinking and a very outsider view not to recognize the difference between nitpicking and nuancing. To the outsider and the person of limited understanding, someone spending hours in the darkroom nuancing a print is simply wasting their time and nitpicking away. A photographer who does so, on the other hand, knows that he is finessing and nuancing his print to express the finest details as well as the full voice of what he wants to show with the print. The same is true of discussing the uses of "art" and "fine art." I do it not to nitpick, but to refine my own thoughts on the matter which eventually help inspire my viewing of art and my making of it.

    I happen to agree that "fine art" and "art" are often used interchangeably, but also think "fine art" is used, importantly, as a subset of "art" to convey a more nuanced understanding of the works being referred to as such.

    Internet dismissals such as "nitpicking" are too easy a way out of more engaging discussions. Better to just stay out of these discussions than try to foreclose on them by such muting tactics.
  17. Sam, are you suggesting I "just stay out of these discussions? At best, "Fine Art" is an obsolete category, at least for anything made in the last 200years. But you can nitpick about that all you want.
  18. No, I'm suggesting you not accuse others of nitpicking.
  19. I keep asking for citations, references, or examples and get none. So, unless there's some supporting rationale offered for the obsoleteness of the term "fine art" or for the claim that it just means something along the lines of "pretty decoration," I consider these simply eccentric understandings of "fine art" by individual posters here.
  20. Goose and gander, Sam.

    Re crap. Who said "most" art?
    Yes, at least we can admire the intent and effort. But intent and effort alone are not enough. I don't think anyone could argue otherwise.
    Yes, i know... people do anyway. Here on PNet too we had people declaring themselves to be artist, on no ther ground that they say so. Literally claiming that because of that alone, everything they produce must be art. And even if it would be a valid claim (which most certainly it is not), it says nothing about the quality and value (culturally, not monetary) of their art.
    Taking paint to canvas, Sam, is not sufficient to be valued. It alone does not make people who do any better than opinionators, etc.

    I have come across artists who really think that they contribute something valuable by showing genitals in their work, because (as one explained) that is a novel and shocking thing to do. Now if the pictures themselves at least showed any sign of more than average skill, it could at least be fine art.
    But it is just rubbish. Stupid, as in uneducated and disconnected from cultural discourse, past and present. The word Arthur chose is a fitting one. Despite intent and effort.

    Or, in short, not all good intent and hard work results in something worthwhile.

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