Is it art?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by vic_., Jan 18, 2004.

  1. Herr Hans Beckert made some important points in another section of
    this forum (http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?
    msg_id=0074HY), and since a lot of you don’t venture outside the
    Leica section of photo.net I thought I’d put these up here. (Note:
    I’m not trying to ridicule Herr Beckert, he makes a very convincing
    argument.)
    <P>[Quoted material from Herr Beckert]
    <BR>Photography is absolutely NOT 'art'. A photograph is made by
    mechanical device: the lens. If you paint the light onto the film
    with your hand and a flashlight, then it is art.
    <P>To all who have not gotten the point
    <BR>[snip personal info]
    <BR>1. 'The hand': The point is that in photography, the image itself
    is CREATED BY A MECHANISM. Of course we have control of the
    mechanism, but that does not make it art.
    <BR>2. 'Uniqueness': No two painting or sculptures could ever be
    absolutely identical, whether made by the same artist or two
    different ones. Subtle differences are apparent in even the greatest
    copyists' work. Photographs CAN be absolutely identical, and if you
    put a motor drive on a still life, you can reel off 36 exposures that
    are for all practical purposes, identical. If my assistant pushes the
    shutter accidentally, his is indistinguishable from mine.
    <BR>I have no opposition to saying there are 'artistic elements' in
    photography that are shared with painting: composition, etc., but
    these do not make it 'art'.
    <BR>No doubt, no question: photography CANNOT be art!
    [End of selected quotes]
     
  2. [shrug] Okay, so it ain't "Art" according to Herr Hans. What's for lunch?
     
  3. Not even worthy of comment!
     
  4. m_.

    m_.

    doesn't matter. I still gotta go take pictures.
     
  5. Hey, it's snowing heavily here, and it's too cold to go out to make any art, so I was poking around the "forum."
     
  6. That thread has gone on for four days and it's nothing but how to name a procedure. I consider myself a 'fartiste'.
     
  7. I never was an artist..

    ANd I never let anyone trigger my shutter...
     
  8. Herr Hans, with his thoughts, went back more than 100 years ago i.e. the fight between painters and photographers. Amazing! he just woke up like Rip van Winkle.
     
  9. This thread belongs in the Philosophy of Photography Forum:

    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a.tcl?topic=Philosophy%20of%20Photography&topic_id=1941
     
  10. If Betsy the finger-painting chimpanzee can make art, I think photography is standing on solid ground:

    http://www.sunspot.net/entertainment/bal-li.family08jan08,0,6180112.story?coll=bal-live-headlines

    Or just Google for 'Baltimore Zoo chimpanzee art'.
     
  11. I guess if "important points" and "convincing arguments" consist of making up your own completely unfounded and outright silly definition of art, and then making a couple of tiresome and extremely obvious observations about how photography doesn't fit your bogus definition, then yeah.
     
  12. If Betsy the finger-painting chimpanzee can make art, I think photography is standing on solid ground:
    No, David, you don't get it. The chimp uses her fingers, so that's art. HCB and Ansel used a camera, so that's not.
     
  13. No, art must be made by hand. -Hans
    Since music except the purely vocal kind of song) is made with instruments, then music is clearly not an "art."
    Since sculpture is made by either casting metal, carving stone with a chisel, or with a potter's wheel -- all of which ae clearly machines. Sculpture is not "art".
    Since a brush or even a stick is a kind of tool, paintings made by any method other than daubing paint directly onto canvas paper or board , are most definitely not "art".
     
  14. Herr Beckert's assumption is (to utilize a phrase by Herr Barnack) "totally underexposed".
     
  15. Now that's funny, I would not have imagined anyone bringing up something like this in 2004. Hmm, what's next - how about claiming the earth is flat? They had very convincing points back then to proof this!
     
  16. Mark - sure hope you're kidding.
     
  17. Is it Art or art?

    I always thought art had more to do with creativity and idea than by how it was done. Silly me. Is literature art or does it have to be handwritten to be considered art?
     
  18. The guy must be into hand jobs.
     
  19. OK. Is this time for the killer smiley????
    0076Tn-16182184.JPG
     
  20. Harvey - yes, it's 'performance art'.
     
  21. I suppose 'uniqueness' (as summarised by Vic at the beginning of this thread) is
    related to 'orignality'. That means, had I been Ansel Adams' assistant and shot side by
    side with him with identical everything (that is, lens, film, composition, developement
    ...) and got a somewhat identical looking print, I would have compromised his
    masterpiece by relegating it non-art ? Far from it. In this regard, originality counts,
    it's just the nature of photography as an art-creating process that facilitates a close
    copy. Not with me ? Think of copying a piece of work that was awarded a Nobel Prize
    for Literature. What say you gentleman ?
     
  22. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Where’s the pancake on the rabbit?
     
  23. Herr Hans Beckert - My my - we're a little puffed up with
    ourselves aren't we?
     
  24. ... and what Harvey just did was simply begging the moderator to have this thread
    deleted.
     
  25. For God's sakes Vic, we just got Herr Beckert in his jammies and off to bed over at Philosophy of Photography and you go waking him up again!
     
  26. nice bokeh Harvey..
     
  27. Glad you asked
    0076UQ-16182384.jpg
     
  28. Tim, is that your rabbit? I thought it was Skully's.

    Harv, how about resizing (as in shrinking) that ugly bastard next time. I mean, you talk about MY photos being ugly. That thing is UGLY. ;) :(
     
  29. OK, any bigger that this and it's still ugly...
    0076W8-16182884.jpg
     
  30. http://homepage.mac.com/godders/.Pictures/
    Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2004-01-16%2020.28.47%20-0800/Image
    -5FA6C26248A511D8.jpg
    MUE - Sony DSC-U60

    Who is Herr Hand Beckert and why should his concept of art be of any interest to me?

    Godfrey
     
  31. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    as an unwillingly observer, my husband makes me look at this, you guys have too much free time on your hands and should all be slapped
    besides wheres the syrup for the pancake?

    Mark W.'s wife

    p.s. nice hand job harvey
     
  32. Ahhh man, now my wife is making me do the laundry. No fun. ;)
     
  33. Gee, Harvey - - I never knew you wore glasses!

    As for Herr Beckert - - as an unreconstructed philistine who flunked German, I could never master the grammar.. viz., "Throw the horse over the fence some hay" has confounded me since I was fourteen. His definition of Art confounds me the same way.
     
  34. I'm with Peter.

    Tom
     
  35. An ugly hand that's art:
    0076fs-16185484.jpg
     
  36. Two words: Paul Strand.
     
  37. As a famous politician once said, "You have to define what "art" (???) IS ".
     
  38. Let's all get back to court and let a high judge ponder on the definition.
     
  39. I think most "leica-style" photography can correctly be called "low art," if you're interested in making the division between fine arts and lower forms. I wouldn't go as far as Beckert in saying that photography CANNOT be art, but it certainly requires a different set of critical tools than, say, sculpture. I certainly don't think of myself as an artist as much as a documentarian.
     
  40. Didn't Steiglitz settle this about 100 years ago?

    Maybe you should learn more about the history of photography.
     
  41. Didn't Steiglitz settle this about 100 years ago?

    Maybe you should learn more about the history of photography.
     
  42. A photograph stands in a direct causal chain between the image and the object.

    Light rays bouncing off of the object are collected by the lens and these same rays form the image.

    'Art' does not. There is no direct causal chain between a 'picture' (the proper term for a drawn image) and the object.

    Images are not pictures. Pictures are not images.

    Photography CANNOT be art, any more than a plaster cast of a human body is a sculpture.

    A photograph is not 'art' because it is produced 'naturally', in accordance with physical laws (optics, chemistry, etc.).

    True art does not stand in a direct causal chain with the subject and is 'non-natural'. It is the product of a human being.
     
  43. Pam:

    The 'history of photography'? What the blazes does that have to do with the issue? It is a philosophical question, not an historical one.
     
  44. "Mark Ci , jan 18, 2004; 01:09 p.m.
    I guess if "important points" and "convincing arguments" consist of making up your own completely unfounded and outright silly definition of art, and then making a couple of tiresome and extremely obvious observations about how photography doesn't fit your bogus definition, then yeah."

    Consider:

    1. Mass-produced glassware (wine glasses, for instance) made from a mould, all of which are identical for all practical purposes.

    2. Hand-blown glass 'art objects', such as those made by Dale Chihuly:

    http://www.chihuly.com/

    What is the difference?

    1. Uniqueness
    2. Manual creation

    What else is there?
     
  45. true art has no concept of art
     
  46. Grant:

    Why is what Dale Chihuly makes 'art', but what the wine-glass factory makes not 'art'?
     
  47. Why is what Dale Chihuly makes 'art', but what the wine-glass factory makes not 'art'?

    who said either one is art, or not art?
    i didnt
     
  48. An Airplane with a Girl on it.
    0076ls-16186484.JPG
     
  49. this is rich - think I'll go band some hemorrhoids
     
  50. "Hans Beckert , jan 18, 2004; 10:51 p.m.
    Grant:

    Why is what Dale Chihuly makes 'art', but what the wine-glass factory makes not 'art'?

    Keith Merrill , jan 18, 2004; 11:00 p.m.
    Intent."


    Partly, but not entirely. What if I bought a wine glass and brought it to museum and said it was 'art', and asked $50,000 for it? My intent is for it to be accepted as 'art'. But that will not suffice, or am I mistaken?
     
  51. But that will not suffice, or am I mistaken?

    that depends, of course.
     
  52. Grant:

    I bring a $2 wine glass to the museum with the 'intent' that it be 'art'. Does that matter? Does it not matter what the object itself is, and how it was created?
     
  53. again, that all depends on who you ask. given that fact, wouldnt you say its all quite subjective?
     
  54. This is a boring 100 year old question that has been beaten to death by lowbrows, middlebrows and highbrows since the first daguerrotype. Susan Sonntag and Roland Barthes, among others, have books and essays on it that not only discuss the question "Is photography art?", but why the question gets asked, and what that all means. It is an excellent essay or group discussion topic for a Community Centre art class. But the marriage of machinery and art is about 90 years old now, and it's been a successful one. Whether they were putting handlebars and a bicycle seat together to make a bull, inserting newsprint onto canvasses, or, like Paul Strand (and others), making art with a camera, artists themselves have long ago proved that art can be made using any technology and any material.

    The word-game of "Art is_______. Photography is not_______. Therefore, photography is NOT art, TA-DA-BOOM!, is pedantic, pretentious and mostly serves to make the participant(s) feel like Great Intellectuals, and they will be recognised as such-- provided they keep their ideas confined to their high school cafeteria.
     
  55. John:

    "...like Paul Strand (and others), making art with a camera, artists themselves have long ago proved that art can be made using any technology and any material."

    You cannot 'prove' that photography is art by such means as you offer, It is entirely a philosophical one, not an historical one. Photography is not 'art' because it is not 'non-natural'. 'Art' has to be 'non-natural', if you get my point. It has to be 'artificial'.
     
  56. It has to be 'artificial'.

    says who?
     
  57. I do! Is the plaster cast of person's face the same as a scupture of that face? No.

    The plaster cast is made 'naturally': it is a mere impression. The image is related in a directly causal way to the object.

    The sculpture, on the other hand, is not related causally to the face: it is 'artificial', not causally linked to the face, and not a mere 'impression'.
     
  58. I do!

    in the same respect you have chosen to see 'art' the way you want, how are other people not allowed to do the same?
    some trees are tall. some are not. does that difference cease them from both being trees?
     
  59. Grant:

    We make intuitive distinctions between 'art' and 'non-art', do we not? I am explicating those intuitions into arguments.

    We do not consider floor mops to be 'art'. Why? (I know, but I am asking you.)
     
  60. We make intuitive distinctions between 'art' and 'non-art', do we not?

    that is for each one to decide, is it not?

    if you choose to, that is your choice. if i choose not to, that is mine. given the fact that WE have choices, you must also conclude that neither is correct nor incorrect, for each one is a choice, and not an absolute in nature.
    a floor mop could have considerable meaning to me, where you merely see it as a floor mop.
     
  61. Hans you completely missed my point. It is you who is trying to "prove" that photography is not art. I am telling you you are flogging a very, very, dead horse. As a countryman of yours once said: "We will cease to come up with foolish answers when we stop asking foolish questions." Your question on this subject had validity for about two hours in the late 19th century, perhaps extending 15 minutes into the 20th. When artists make art, however they do it, it is art. People who try to haul out calipers and dictionaries and quotes from Great Thinkers may be enjoying themselves with their toys, but the train has left without them. "Wovon mann nicht sprechen kann, daruber muss mann schweigen", as that wonderful old fag from Vienna said. Here's an image for you to "define" :
    0076nU-16187184.jpg
     
  62. Grant:

    I am going home now, so this is my last post.

    Do YOU consider some things to be 'art' and others to be 'non-art'? If so, WHY?

    Do you at least understand the distinction I have made between 'natural' and 'artificial'? The diffrence between an 'impression' and a 'sculpture', or between an optical-mechanical image and a painting?
     
  63. Hans, let us suppose that I spend a few hours contorting my face while looking in the mirror. When I feel confident that I have the perfect expression I apply the plaster to my face. Isn't the finished mask art? I was in full control, with my face perhaps, rather than my hands, but I was indeed the creator of the mask. By extension, the same could be said of a self portrait made with a camera. In the end what determines art is somebody's willingness to take out their checkbook and buy the dang thing.
     
  64. Didn't Picasso or Duchamp actually make an artwork out of an upside down floor mop?
     
  65. This thread was based upon my frustration with so-called 'fine-art photography', a ludicrous concept.

    There are some who agree.

    Can photographs be moving?

    Yes.

    Can photographs be beautiful?

    Yes.

    Can photographs be memorable?

    Yes.

    Can photographs be 'art'?

    No.
     
  66. Al:

    The 'art', if any, is not in the plaster cast, but in the face itself. Acting is an art form, and photography of acting (motion picture) captures and preserves that art, but is not in itself 'art'. The writing and acting are 'arts', but the photography is merely a vehicle for capturing and preserving those other things.
     
  67. Can Hans be a self important person envious of others with more talent?

    Most likely.

    Goodbye, Hans!
     
  68. Do YOU consider some things to be 'art' and others to be 'non-art'?

    no, i see no need. Do you at least understand the distinction I have made between 'natural' and 'artificial'? The diffrence between an 'impression' and a 'sculpture', or between an optical-mechanical image and a painting?

    i understand, and see no relevance.
    one needs no concept of love to know love.
    goodnight
     
  69. By the way that quote in German, which virtually exhausts my vocabulary in it, means: What you can't speak about, you must pass over in silence; generally taken to mean that there are some things, like art, love, religion, that lie outside our ability to categorise and define. Somehow my first draft got posted, rather than the finished one.
     
  70. Hans you completely missed my point. It is you who is trying to "prove" that photography is not art. I am telling you you are flogging a very, very, dead horse. As a countryman of yours once said: "We will cease to come up with foolish answers when we stop asking foolish questions." Your question on this subject had validity for about two hours in the late 19th century, perhaps extending 15 minutes into the 20th. When artists make art, however they do it, it is art. People who try to haul out calipers and dictionaries may be enjoying themselves with their toys, but the train has left without them. "Wovon mann nicht sprechen kann, daruber muss mann schweigen", as that wonderful old fag from Vienna said. (There's some stuff that's outside your ability to define, in the way that you would wish to.) Here's an image for you to "define" [This is what I wanted to come up]
     
  71. I like to believe that the art lies in the idea, not the process. The process is the skill or craft of the artist. These two things put together determine whether it is a good piece of art or a bad piece of art. This is of course completely subjective to the individual who is experiencing the art, so fairly meaningless, good or bad, it still is art. Now, if somebody wants to pay me $50,000.00 for the wine glass that I have in my cabinet, then I will call it art, great art. Hell, I even make it a limited edition. I'll spit in it for an extra 20k and for 100k, I don't think it proper to tell you what I will do in it.
     
  72. Grant-we're both saying the same thing. You in posts of about 20 words and me with 200. It's sorta like two scientists in different countries coming up with penicillin at the same time, or two artists coming up with Nancy n' Sluggo independently.....
     
  73. :D
    <p>
    <p>
    whatever works, eh?
     
  74. wait...

    if a fine photographer takes a picture of a person making faces(art), then he just did "fine art photography"!

    no?
     
  75. Impressionist painters were laughed at initially. Traditional painters thought that the impressionists must have been joking - surely. Nobody today doubts that the impressionist style is 'art'. How long before we stop flogging *this* dead horse (as John so nicely put it)?

    And how about, say, computerized 3D rendering? It's artificial but it's also 'mechanical'.

    I think this is a very interesting discussion. But for someone to seriously defend the notion that photography isn't art borders on irritating.
     
  76. Art, what is it other than a creative expression. How it is perceived or implemented is subjective to the individual.
     
  77. Who really cares what Herr Beckert's notion of art is... or anyone else's? It's all so
    claustrophobic and restrictive in nature. Some sort of attempt to "confine the mind".

    During the 50's and 60's Picasso made mass produced ceramics to put art in the
    hands of the many. You could buy them at the Grocery store. He said it was art, but
    his hands never touched them.

    Photography as art depends on who's hands the camera is held by, and the mind
    behind the viewfinder... not by the tool itself.

    One only need look at the influence photography has had on the world of art.. from
    the Camera Obscura to the Impressionists to Andy Warhol, to Chuck Close, and so on
    and so on. To ignore the actual history is to not understand the evolution of modern
    Art and the role the photographic process has played in that development.
     
  78. Hans :

    Painting : Tools required : Paint brush
    Human control : controlling paintbrush and media
    Physics : subtractive colour theory / physical properties of paint etc...
    Intention : belief one is painting art as opposed to a wall.

    Photography : Tools required : Lens / Pinhole
    Human control : controlling position of lens/media/subject etc...
    Physics : Additive colour theory / physical properties of lens
    etc...
    Intention : belief one is creating art as opposed to making
    insurance claim.

    So where's the distinction?
     
  79. I believe photography as an art lies in the fact that you need to "design" the framing,exposure, perspective,contents etc...and not the simple act of clicking the shutter.

    No 2 person can shoot alike bar on a tripod. Even then, air/light movements/shifts causes microscopic changes in exposure and hence leading t 2 different images.

    and yea, what the hell did I just say?
     
  80. The distinction? No chisel makes a statue. A camera forms the image.
     
  81. Funny, I don't remember any of my cameras making an image without my guidance. A camera is a tool to make images as surely as a hammer is a tool to build houses.
     
  82. http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_work_lg_22_5.html

    So if Brancusi had created "Bird in Space" with CAD/CAM and CNC tools it wouldn't be art?

    Piffle!
     
  83. The CAD is not causally related to its object. No art is. Yes, it is art.

    Cameras can be set up to operate automatically. The photographic image is causally related to the object. Art is NOT causally related to its object. In many cases, there is no 'object'. You have to answer this objection, people. You have not so far.
     
  84. You are all rather hard on Hans. I am not sure he necessarily thinks that photography is not art, but he asks you to tell him why he has to think it is. Much as you all tell him he is a fool, he is not, and he is right. The problem about art is that if everything is art when an artist says it is then everything is subjectively equal. There is no basis for taste. This bridging of the connection between the "already existing" and the "creation of the artist" is exactly the same point that Duchamp and the other Dadaists were making with their "objets trouves" (which is Art as it appears in art galleries).

    Hans is being an Aunt Sally and proposing that art should be defined as something that requires the more active participation of the artist than simply looking at a scene and pressing the shutter - something a million other people looking at the same scene can accomplish just as well. This question has not been resolved philosophically at all. It has been resolved in the popular imagination and in the minds of the art buying public - everything is art and art is everything - this is a fact of life., but is it actually right or "just"? That is what Hans is suggesting I think...
     
  85. "Art is NOT causally related to its object. In many cases, there is no 'object'."

    Then the eye's lens doesn't refract real light, and the retina doesn't sense those photons, and the brain's memory doesn't retain abstractions of "objects" which influence the creation of "art"?
     
  86. the photographic image is not casually related to the object UNLESS I make it form a relation. i.e if I take the picture the way I see it. And that is my expression, some call their "art".
     
  87. Robin, if I read you right, then a photographer who starts out with a bare room, arranges a background cloth draped just right, and then puts together a scene of perhaps several perfume bottles and boxes, a few pearl necklaces, and a single carefully chosen rose in a cut crystal vase, carefully lit, for a department store's Christmas catalog, has created art! Crass commercial photography but still art!
     
  88. AL, no, still not art as a camera was used in that case. If he set the scene up and then PAINT it, that's art.
     
  89. As art is such a vague definition, why try to prove or disprove whether Photography belongs to that vague definition, Hans???... A visual art form, yes, as are ALL visual art forms..Japanese wood-block prints, prints of originals, photos of paintings, abstract photos, popint and shoot photos, carefully composed artisitic photos, etchings, stained glass, hand made wine glasses, originals, of course and in any medium, etc.. They are ALL a form of the art, that is an art form. Same goes for music,.. Is it art? Too vague.. They are art forms, ballet, opera, Balinese or Masai instrumental music. We cannot say that music from a single stringed Masai instrument is art, but an art form.. Quad est demonstrandum.
     
  90. "The problem about art is that if everything is art when an artist says it is then everything is subjectively equal. There is no basis for taste."

    Robin,

    I don't see where anyone is contending there isn't good and bad art, however difficult it might be to nail those terms down. Certainly, zillions of refrigerators and the walls of mud huts are covered in art beloved only by the parents of the artistes in residence.

    Han's problem is picking a definition of "art" where it's possible to find reductions to absurdity within 30 seconds even without one's morning caffiene fix.
     
  91. Is a fossil art? No! Why? Because it occurs naturally, as a direct causal impression. A photograph is just like a fossil. It is an impression by light bouncing off of objects.

    You have to account for the difference between art and non-art in some way. The only fundamental difference is the presence or absence of direct causal connection.
     
  92. The distinction? No chisel makes a statue. A camera forms the image
    Hans, your basic premise is incorrect. Apparently you've never done any painting or sculpting, because if you had you'd know that. Please reread Duncan's comment about "physical properties of paint" etc.
    In fact a painter collaborates with his materials and tools. It's the dynamic of the interaction that creates the object. That the specifics of the interaction differ is irrelevant.
     
  93. "You have to account for the difference between art and non-art in some way."

    I don't have to unless I feel like it. However, lots of people here and elsewhere have done so in a far less restrictive way than your straitjacket, by mostly leading to what could be called "Intentional Creation", neatly avoiding fruitless arguments about how many photons can bounce off the head of a pin.

    A taxonomic system should have some purpose, some utility, some benefit to adopting it. Yours doesn't.
     
  94. Ray & Will:
    "<The distinction? No chisel makes a statue. A camera forms the image.>"

    "Hans, your basic premise is incorrect. Apparently you've never done any painting or sculpting, because if you had you'd know that. Please reread Duncan's comment about "physical properties of paint" etc."

    The sculptor's hands form something that is not causally related to anything. It may be something he has imagined, or it may be a likeness of a person. In any event, nothing physical causes the sculpture to exist as a mere impression.

    If we took a corpse and buried it in plaster, then removed the body and used the plaster as a mould, we could make a branze statue of the person whose body served as the original. Is that a work of art? I think you have to say 'No'. Why? Because it is just an impression.

    "In fact a painter collaborates with his materials and tools. It's the dynamic of the interaction that creates the object. That the specifics of the interaction differ is irrelevant."

    Not specific enough. A fossil is not a work of art: do you agree or not? If so, WHY is it not a work of art?
     
  95. Hans, you should rush out and buy a Lotto ticket. You have a much better chance of winning a huge pile of money than convincing the folks here of your beliefs. Actually, just go out for a walk; you have a better chance of finding that winning ticket just laying on the street.
     
  96. Al

    According to Hans I think that might be considered Art. I want no part of the discussion really, but he is right in a sense if we define Art as something that is worthy of "higher consideration", intellectual analysis, entry into text books and so on then how do we decide what goes in and what does not? "Found" photography ("I see a shot and I take it") is not as creative as "I see a view and I paint/sculpt it" by his analysis. Is he wrong? As far as I am concerned everything is art and de gustibus non disputandem est. This really does mean there is no "good" versus "bad" art. "High" and "low" art. Depressing really. I suspect this is what Hans is trying to work through in his mind.
     
  97. Robin:

    You have understood me. Whether something is art has nothing to do with 'degree of difficulty' or its 'profoundness' or 'quality. It has merely to do with whether it is man-made or not.

    Even the most profound work of Ansel Adams is not art, and the child's drawings with crayons (or with a mouse on a computer) are indeed art.
     
  98. The mind creates Art, perceives Art. Nothing else. The rest of the human body is merely a biological machine, which obeys the mind.

    The human mind can use any other machines to enhance its control over its environment, and express it's creativity.

    Art is not limited to certain mediums; it can express itself in any medium.

    All Art copies, perceives concepts in nature. The camera is merely a recording device, as is a pen, or paint brush.
     
  99. From Webster's: "Photography, the art or practice of producing images of objects upon a photosensitive surface by the use of chemical action of light or other radiant energy". "Art, The disposition or modification of things by human skill, to answer the purpose intended. In this sense, art stands opposed to nature." "Creative work generally, or its principles". Art is the physical embodiment of an individual's perspective designed to capture and communicate that perspective to others. BUT I see that Text book Definitions and Common Beliefs will not change anyones Opinion SO it is time for a TOTALLY stupid and FUTILE argument that leaves all Insulted! The National Gallery of ART says that it is ART so it must be ART! The Smithsonian Institution is a leading Art Institution in America, To Say that Photography isn't ART when they say it is ART is an INSULT! And when you INSULT the Smithsonian, You INSULT America! Are We Going to Take That! NO! So EVERYBODY get out your best ARTSY Pictures and Post them On the Nay-Sayers THREADS so that they never make it to the last post without seeing the LIGHT!
    00779p-16196884.JPG
     
  100. Brian:

    Yes, 'art' as opposed to 'nature'. That is exactly it. Cameras produce IMAGES in accordance with natural laws using lenses and film.

    Artists DRAW pictures.

    Two different things.

    Photographs are like fossils.

    Fossils are not art.
     
  101. The sculptor's hands form something that is not causally related to anything.
    This is not true. The sculptor is working from his memory and experience of the real world, and perhaps directly from photographs or a model. I don't think you're understanding that the materials are partially responsible for the result. Their physical properties have a central role in determining the outcome. A sculptor doesn't necessarily just imagine something in his head and execute it as he wishes, he has to deal with how the materials react to his intentions. With each move he makes the material speaks back to him, and so there becomes a dialogue between the two. He makes one physical movement to change the material and then examines how the material has responded to the move, then makes a decision from that what his next approach will be.
    The example of making a cast from a corpse does not equate to a "fine art" photographer making a photograph. The casting is a purely technical process. Making a photograph involves seeing, and the individual's ability to see things in a personal way. So even though the event is happening in the natural world, and a machine takes the impression of it, no two people are going to identify or frame the scene in the same way. It's called the art of seeing.
    Regardless of your way of thinking of it anyway, as you can see not too many people are agreeing with the way you've chosen to define it. So you can have your fine little theory, which is really an arbitrary one anyway, but what's the point? So you can go into a closet and share it with yourself? As has been said, there's been a general agreement for a hundred years or more that photography can be considered art. If you're wishing to change that consensus, this theory isn't it.
    I have a theory there are little green women with pony tails tied with pink ribbon living on Jupiter, want to join me?
     
  102. Yes, 'art' as opposed to 'nature'

    Then where does Art come from? Fairies in the sky? Life comes from nature, is a product of nature. At the very best Art can only emulate nature. Unless you believe that humanity has grown beyond nature? Suppose that's why we like killing each other, and destroying our environment. Sort of like shitting on the doorstep.
     
  103. Ray:

    Inadmissible, as irrelevant.

    The phograph is caused DIRECTLY by the object. Light rays bounce off the object and are focussed by the lens. Nothing analogous happens in sculpture. There is no 'object' which 'causes' the 'image'.

    The scupture has NOTHING to do with any object in a causal sequence.

    All the photographer does is control the equipment. He does not form the image. If you think he does, I challenge you to go get a sheet of film and make an image on it without your camera.
     
  104. "Cameras produce IMAGES in accordance with natural laws using lenses and film."

    And if so, and that's all there is to it, then sculptors produce objects in accordance with the natural laws of materials and the biochemical and biophysical laws governing their brains and bodies.

    Therefore, there is no such thing as "art" at all according to your criteria.
     
  105. You don't get it. Think what you want, or troll as you wish. Bye bye now.
     
  106. There is no ‘object’, which 'causes' the 'image'.

    Where does these mind images come from, could it from what they have seen? Just your their interpretation, same as a photographer puts their interpretation.
     
  107. Will:

    I defy you to distinguish two photographs of the same thing made by the same camera set up on a tripod, with the button pushed by me or Ansel Adams.

    On the other hand, anything made by hand is different because it is IMPOSSIBLE to make an exact duplicate by hand. In fact, the same artists cannot paint the same painting twice. Two photographs can be identical, as they are formed by natural causation. Two paintings or two sculptures CANNOT be identical. One would be merely a copy or fraud. Paintings and sculptures are not directly related to any other object in the universe by causation for their form. their form is entirely arbitrary and created by human beings as they wish, within the limits of time and money. No-one has yet made a sculpture as big as Jupiter, and I doubt it will ever happen. But my point stands: photographs are natural objects in their form. The exact form they assume is calculable by known scientific laws of physics, chemistry, and optics. Given the same camera, lens, and film, anyone can duplicate any photograph in principle. There is nothing unique about a photograph. Any other person can in principle have taken it. That is not true for art.
     
  108. Allen:

    I suppose I should bring up the 'Steveie Wonder' example.

    Stevie Wonder can pick up an auto-focus camera and take a picture of something and it will come out. He cannot do this with a sculpture. And if you say, could he not feel the face, and make a sculpture from that (I am sure this could be done) I would say: let him paint a landscape!

    I suppose thos people who pay millions for original artworks of the masters are crazy. Since these works cannot in principle be reporoduced, they have value.

    Photographs can be reproduced.

    If you doubt what I say, take out your cancelled cheques and look at your signatures. Try to find two identical ones. You will not be able to.

    HB
     
  109. Hans, you seem to me like a person sitting on a train which keeps going to the same station...sort of like a time warp. Either get off, or at least look out the window. With all due respect.
     
  110. Any piece of Art can be reproduced, over and over again, as it's been proven. Of course there's always an original, as in a photograph. Suppose poor Stevie never had any hands.....suppose he would never ever be an Artist.
     
  111. Hans says "Artists DRAW pictures." So the only possible artist is one who can draw? Pretty darn limited.


    Art is the manipulation of a media to express an idea. It has nothing to do with hands or uniqueness.

    Your argument regarding photography only deals with half of photography. You are forgetting post-exposure. If stevie wonder shot a picture he would have a piece of exposed film, so what. It's incomplete art.
     
  112. "Allen Herbert , jan 19, 2004; 06:36 p.m.
    Any piece of Art can be reproduced, over and over again, as it's been proven."

    Surely you jest. I would like to order a David, if you could help me with that.
     
  113. If myself and another photographer took photos of an object, we would put our own photographic interpretations on it. Each interpretation would be unique to the individual photographer. Hence we have that unique quality, which you like. A unique signature.

    Anyway, methinks folk are getting bored of this thread. So, thanks for the entertainment, and goodbye. Regards.
     
  114. Allen:

    Please understand: there is nothing in principle that distinguishes your photograph from any other made at the same time with the same camera and lens. If I set up a motorized camera on a tripod and we take turns pushing the button on a still-life, there is no difference in our pictures. Art is not like that. Not two artists CAN make the same work, and even ONE artist cannot make the same work twice!
     
  115. Im sold. Photography is indeed artless...but I still like it.;)

    Hans, what's the practical implications of your declaration if it's true? How will the "art" scene changes because of this new discovery? i.e photography is not art. How will man kind benefit or suffer? How will lens manufacturer adapt? How will......

    good day Hans.;)
     
  116. OK, let me try another way:

    Art is fiction.

    Photography is non-fiction.
     
  117. ART, n. This word has no definition. Its origin is related as follows by the ingenious Father Gassalasca Jape, S.J.


    One day a wag -- what would the wretch be at? --
    Shifted a letter of the cipher RAT,
    And said it was a god's name! Straight arose
    Fantastic priests and postulants (with shows,
    And mysteries, and mummeries, and hymns,
    And disputations dire that lamed their limbs)
    To serve his temple and maintain the fires,
    Expound the law, manipulate the wires.
    Amazed, the populace that rites attend,
    Believe whate'er they cannot comprehend,
    And, inly edified to learn that two
    Half-hairs joined so and so (as Art can do)
    Have sweeter values and a grace more fit
    Than Nature's hairs that never have been split,
    Bring cates and wines for sacrificial feasts,
    And sell their garments to support the priests.
     
  118. Guys, you all fell into the old trap -- Hans is obviously relaying on Roger Scruton's assumptions that photography is a mechanical process. But Scruton's theory checks only under his assumption that photography is not a representational art. And he says it is not a representation (and therefore art) because photographs are not intentional, they are snapshots, they are created without thinking (that's what makes them PHOTOGRAPHS in the first place). Any other kind of photography would be a manipulation of truth and therefore no longer photography. Catch 22 ... I did not read it his essay carefully enought but Scruton's take is very interesting. I don't agree on his conclusions, but I like his take on the topic. He also said that photography is inherently pornographic -- I think he meant it is a medium for voyeurs and I tend to agree with him here. I am quoting from my ole textbook but check out Scruton's essay called Photography and Representation.

    PS If Harvey posts that fat hairy finger again I'll commit suicide.
     
  119. Hans, as expected:

    No photos

    No paintings

    No sculpture

    No website
     
  120. Agent Scully -- that's sort of cruel.
     
  121. "m. v. szulc , jan 19, 2004; 08:36 p.m.
    Guys, you all fell into the old trap -- Hans is obviously relaying on Roger Scruton's assumptions that photography is a mechanical process."

    All art involves some 'mechanical' processes. Applying paint to a canvas is 'mchanical' if you want to get technical (though in a different sense), and artists who work in metal or glass use electric polishers, sanders, etc. But what sets photography apart from art is that it is an entirely mechanical process causally related to the existence of some other object. If it were not, we would not want to use it! Photography has no non-mechanical aspect at all. The film is exposed and it is all involuntary. The film WILL react. The light from the subject enters the lens and is refracted onto the film. The film is changed chemically by the light. Development is an entirely chemical (mechanical) process. Yes, we can influence the contrast or grain by altering the development, but is that not the very definition of 'mechanical'?

    If photography were not mechanical, we would have to apply the light to the film using light pointers.

    HB

    There has to be a better word than 'mechanical' to describe the difference between art and photography.
     
  122. any discussion makes sense only if we agree to listen to each other. why don't you read my post first (and perhaps Scruton's essay) before you start with the same argument over and over again?
     
  123. I had trouble foloowing your summation of Scruton's essay, which I have not seen. I have his book on Kant, though.
     
  124. The better word is NON-REPRESENTATIONAL. To follow him, you must assume that all art is representational -- it is conceived in an artist mind, it is a thought expressed in form. Then he tries to prove that photography, to be truthful to its medium, must reflect an objective reality and preclude creating reality. Which means that photography is not a representation. Therefore, it is not art. If I remember him correctly.
     
  125. That argument is absurd. Photography cannot be anything other than representational, or else it is not photography! You cannot make 'fictional' photographs. You cannot photograph what does not exist. The film records what is shone onto it, and if the image is fuzzy, that is an accurate representation of what the film received!

    And of course art can create objects that have no relationship to others at all, either as represenation or as effect.

    The trouble with calling photography 'art' is that it is strictly cause and effect. Art cannot be thus.

    The Professor
     
  126. Anywhere in philosophy of art, representation means an artistic representation of reality. Following Scruton, a painting 'represents' reality in a way the artist wants us to see it. That means a painting is a fiction, even most realistic painting, represents something that does not exist -- a painting, therefore, is a representation of reality (you made that argument before). While a photograph merely documents reality, captures what is/was/has been there. Photography is representative of reality while painting is an artistic representation of it. Feel free to declare victory cause I'm quitting, lol.
     
  127. "You cannot make 'fictional' photographs."

    Yeah, right.

    http://www.byllwilliams.com/b4b/03.jpg
     
  128. funny pic Will but note that it is still a photograph of something that was there. unless it is a photoshopped image -- which is no longer photography.
     
  129. If this is the most significant thing about what characterizes art then it's a cold dark world really.
     
  130. Hans, you are a very determined solipsist.
     
  131. Hans :"This thread was based upon my frustration with so-called 'fine-art photography', a ludicrous concept. "

    Why waste bandwidth on this fool. Hans joined our community on 11/13/03 and two months he's managed 1026 postings. Diahrea of the mouth. You know sometimes its alright to keep your thoughts to yourself.

    Here comes post 1027.....and so on.
     
  132. Oh, where do I begin? Is it worth it? Probably!

    Skully, that is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long while.

    Hans wrote: "Cameras can be set up to operate automatically."

    They sure *can* be. Cameras can be wonderful recording devices. Saves you having to draw.

    Hans wrote: "The phograph is caused DIRECTLY by the object. Light rays bounce off the object and are focussed by the lens. Nothing analogous happens in sculpture."

    Wow, you've discovered the main property of photography. And you've also discovered that there are different art media out there. It really is a big, wonderful world.

    Trying to stick to the point: the subject doesn't cause the photograph to be - the photographer does that bit. Unless the camera is set on automatic...

    Hans, if you think it a big deal that photography is reproducible, think about this for a sec.: no two photographers working on a negative in an enlarger will ever produce the same print if it involves more than trivial dodging, burning and exposure. But hey, this is not your main point, is it? No, I'm glad of that.

    Travis wrote: "No 2 person can shoot alike bar on a tripod. Even then, air/light movements/shifts causes microscopic changes in exposure and hence leading t 2 different images."

    And hey, even if Hans is right on that point, any two frames are going to be different as no two frames (of film, anyway - what, so a digital photo isn't art, now? Yes, it is, but only if there's noise!! Aaaarrgghh!!!!!) have the same silver halide distribution pattern. :)
     
  133. >I defy you to distinguish two photographs of the same thing made by the same camera set up on a tripod, with the button pushed by me or Ansel Adams.

    Hans, I would leave Ansel Adams out of this; even using your arbitrary, overly-narrowed and thus incorrect definition of Art, Ansel Adams prints were products of a master in the darkroom who was able to skillfully dodge and burn portions of the image using hand-tools much like a painter uses a paint-brush. His prints would be better than yours, much like a painting by a true master is superior to those that copy it.

    Science is the study of Nature. Photography, like painting and drawing, can be for science or for art depending on the intent of the person holding the camera, pencil, or paintbrush. Galileo used pencil and paper to render the best images possible with the available technology of what he saw through his telescope. His work was science. Open up any 18th century illustrated medical book. That is science.

    Cameras render nature; holograms record it. My duties in the lab include scientific and technical photography; as such it is my job to use the available technology to render the most accurate representation possible of what I am studying. When I use a camera for this work, I set it up to the best of its capability to faithfully reproduce the object in 2D. I have custom lenses designed to suit this purpose if they are not available off-the-shelf.

    The moment that a photographer adjusts the controls of their camera away from the optimal position which will reproduce a scene in nature as faithfully as possible to what they are observing with their eyes in order to communicate a human thought onto film it becomes art.

    Required annoying remark for Leica Forum members: Because it certainly is not Science!
     
  134. Skully McMulligan

    Your shot is in very poor taste. I hope you never a) have "retarded" children yourself, or b) show it someone who does. Clearly you are someone who has no sensitivity at all.
     
  135. Karim Damien Ghantous hat geschrieben:
    Travis wrote: "No 2 person can shoot alike bar on a tripod. Even then, air/light movements/shifts causes microscopic changes in exposure and hence leading t 2 different images."

    And hey, even if Hans is right on that point, any two frames are going to be different as no two frames (of film, anyway - what, so a digital photo isn't art, now? Yes, it is, but only if there's noise!! Aaaarrgghh!!!!!) have the same silver halide distribution pattern. :)"

    For all PRACTICAL purposes, they are identical: no two paintings made by hand will ever approach the uniformity of two successive frames of Tri-X.
     
  136. If one can draw a scene to look exactly like a photograph of that scene, what is it then? A photograph or art?
     
  137. Robin Smith
    You don't know anything about me or my children. Fortunately, I don't really care what you think.
    Poor in taste it may be, but, as they say, if the shoe fits...
     
  138. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Like many others I’m sure, I found it really funny. And brave. A lot of people quiver within the boundaries of Political Correctness. Thanks Skully. Not for the photo, but for hope.
     
  139. Skully,
    FWIW, I found it funny. My wife told me a joke that is exactly like you photo on our first date. Its not the only reason I married to her, but I found out right away that we have the same sort of humor.

    Robin,
    Jokes usually always poke fun at somebody, (hell, my wife is blond and a lawyer and I am from Irish, Polish, and I went to catholic school) it doesn't mean that the person telling it really believes it.

    That photo is still not art per Hans
     
  140. "Travis . , jan 20, 2004; 10:57 a.m.
    If one can draw a scene to look exactly like a photograph of that scene, what is it then? A photograph or art?"

    It cannot be done, actually....
     
  141. "Clearly you are someone who has no sensitivity at all."

    Did we get caught in a re-run of Thirtysomething?
     
  142. Actually, it has been done. I forget if it was modern or pop photo that did a full two-page spread of a fairly typical picture of a lake scene. It made the reader wonder why they published it. Then the last words of the story revealed that it was a painting. I have a series of scientific drawing pencils and tools designed for very detailed work measured in LP/mm. This would be the equivalent of an 11x14 enlargement in terms of resolution. Human beings are capable of more than you are giving them credit for.
     
  143. "And brave"

    Oh yes - let's poke fun at Down's syndrome people - how noble and clever.
     
  144. Brian:

    I suppose if someone worked from a photograph on a grid or something like that and airbrushes, but what I was talking about was brush-strokes made free-hand. Reality does not have brush-strokes.

    Working free-hand with brushes, no.
     
  145. Robin - "Oh yes - let's poke fun at Down's syndrome people - how noble and clever."

    Jokes are clever, rarely noble. Lighten up man. It's a joke. The picture is still not art.
     
  146. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Brave in regards to living without the confines of what others, especially strangers, think from ones actions. “They” have a done a great job at getting us to worry about what others think and feel about ones own self image. “Can’t do that, what will Status Quo Joe think!” So many of us wont say, wont wear, wont act, on what we truly want to do, for fear of reactions from others. There’s probably a good number of photographers here that wont take a photo on the street because of the awkward looks one may receive…from a stranger! Self policing at it greatest. Nice hat man.
     
  147. Oh yes - let's poke fun at Down's syndrome people - how noble and clever.
    1) Who's poking fun at "Down's syndrome people" (a sensitive epithet if I've ever heard one)? I'm poking fun at all this bullcrap. In the history of communication, intent has never meant anything at all. Perception is everything. If I say it's "art", or "Art", even, and someone else says it's "crap", or "Crap", even, then it's crap. Get that through your thick skulls. Stop talking about it and go outside or something. Yeah, I know. I don't have to look at this stuff. But I do, really. I'm comfortable with discomfort, and this deal makes me uncomfortable. I like to go to the mall the day after Thanksgiving, too. That's how I'm wired. If thy eye offend thee, prick it out and all that, blah blah blah, whatever.
    2) Who ever said I was noble or clever?
     
  148. Hans, all you've done is point out the differences between photography and painting. This is no bad thing. And to ask, "Is photography an art form?" is an interesting question and produces an interesting discussion.

    So the subject of a photograph has a causal relationship to the image. This is a matter of fact. That's photography for you.
     
  149. Karm:

    And that is the VERY THING that separates 'art' from 'non-art', fossils from sculptures or carvings or engravings, and photographs from paintings.
     
  150. Strand, Paul (1890-1976).
     
  151. I don't find Hans's argument convincing at all. I feel that he is distinguishing between art that requires both vision and skill and art that requires vision but little or no skill, and is saying that the former is art but the latter is not. OF COURSE IT IS! THEY BOTH ARE!

    Saying that a mechanism is involved in photography and it cannot, therefore, be art is ignoring the creative part of the process. Directing forces of nature or mechanical devices to achieve an artistic end is an art. Admittedly, the amount of skill involved in taking a snapshot varies according to the user-friendliness of the camera involved but it's never much of a challenge and one could probably train a chimp to take photos successfully; however, one could never educate it to take photos of any artistic merit.
     
  152. > suppose if someone worked from a photograph on a grid or something like that and airbrushes, but what I was talking about was brush-strokes made free-hand. Reality does not have brush-strokes.


    >Working free-hand with brushes, no.

    The fine motor skills of the standard human being equipped with a fine brush, pen, or pencil meet or exceed the requirements to produce more resolution on a 16x20 canvas than can an average camera. The hand-eye coordination required to control this inate capability requires a true master.

    But once created, are you saying that such an image that cannot be discerned from a photograph enlarged to the same size is no longer art?
     
  153. Whoops.
    0078DR-16228784.jpg
     
  154. Hans, Are you limiting your definition of art to include only free-hand paintings using broad-stroke brushes? When I think of that the term "Paint slopped onto Canvas" comes into mind.
    0078DS-16228884.jpg
     
  155. Hans, My photography is a study in nature; I pride myself on being able to take a slice of 4-D space and pasting it onto film. Whether it is chasing my daughter at the playgound, wildlife photography, or airshows. Using the Webster definition of Art and Science, my photographs are Studies in Nature, and thus are NOT art. I am NOT an artist. But the work of many of the contributers on this forum and in Photography in general are fine artist; going by the Webster definition of the words. You cannot change that. And They, the fine Artists, and I and others like me, the Scientists, resent being lumped together in one category!
    0078De-16228984.JPG
     
  156. Let's settle this once and for all.

    Art is anything one creates, regardless whether any tools, props or natural elements are used, and even if only one person admires the creation, including yourself, is ART.

    There, take it or leave it because I said so. End of discussion.
     
  157. Han's, hopefully after all these posting, you now have......
    0078FU-16229784.jpg
     
  158. Henry:

    What is 'non-art'? Is a fossil art?

    Is so, why?
     
  159. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Stop talking to him! There's twenty here that feel that green means go and red means stop. He does not. Just shake your head and move on...please.
     
  160. Me boss got the original photograph from the Navy Archive of the Fly-Over on Tokyo Bay. If you cannot tell if an image was made by hand or by a camera, what is it.
    0078Ko-16230984.JPG
     
  161. (sorry Eric) A fossil is natural art. Non Sequitur. Norman Correlate.
    0078Lh-16231084.JPG
     
  162. "I'm comfortable with discomfort, and this deal makes me uncomfortable. I like to go to the mall the day after Thanksgiving, too. That's how I'm wired."...

    Thanks for letting us all know how you're wired. But is Thanksgiving 'art'? What about all the other holidays?
     
  163. But is Thanksgiving 'art'?
    It depends. It can be, if you spend it with the right people. Like my son's mother's former employer (an underhanded used car salesman) and his senile Jewish-Italian parents.
    Christmas can only be art if you spend it alone and drunk. All day.
    New Year's Eve can be, if you drive down to Terminal Island to take in the apocolyptic industrial blight.
    Easter might be, if you dye your eggs in pastel madras patterns, or if you write obscenities on the eggs prior to dyeing, preferably in the same color as the dye to be used, so that there is a bonus discovery to be made once the egg itself has been found.
    p.s. Thanks for caring so much.
     
  164. I would like to apologize to all for going so "overboard" on this thread. The comment made about Ansel Adams really set me off.

    According to Webster's, a fossil is a person with an outmoded idea or way of doing things that stubbornly refuses to change.

    I am a fossil.
     
  165. And I would like to apologize for leaving the Fourth of July and Halloween off the list, for they can also be art, but only if you spend the Fourth working long into the night. Outside. In the rain.
    As for Halloween, I've got two words for that.
    1: West
    2: Hollywood
     
  166. 2 more cents worth of sheer drivel: before Renaissance times, painting and sculpture were thought of in the same context as Herr Beckert regards photography. They were used purely for the Recording of life and events. News photographers of their day.
    The Fine Arts consisted of Mathematics and Rhetoric. In which case, Herr Beckert is a master, equal to Leonardo.
    I have to things say:
    1.) Marcel Duchamp
    2.) I be damned if I allow some loud mouthed psuedo-philosopher with camera envy tell me what is or is not art. Who the hell died and made him the emporer. The emporer has No Clothes.
     
  167. I've just spent the last hour reading most of the threads on this forum, and my sides are splitting from laughter. Herr Beckert, I respectively hope that you can accept the fact that "art" is a personal and individual definition and no amount of argument can change this, as is evident by the vast majority of participants in this forum. However, have you ever considered a carreer in politics?
     

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