maandag 31 januari 2011

is photography art?

To be honest I don’t know. I have been thinking about this because of a discussion I had recently about photography with another photographer. He insisted that I studied the work of some older photographers (I am familiar with the work of the well known photographers but not with every single on of them.)
His approach to photography is completely different then mine, he tries to be influenced by photographers and I just try to take the best photo I am capable of. (I am probably influenced by other photographer but I don’t try to be influenced by them)

And I think there is a difference in how we think about photography. He considers it art, while I consider it photography. I truly don’t think that photography is a pure form of art. It is artistic, but it is just too real. Everyone can take a perfectly good photograph his compact camera and get a great result. Especially if you know just a little about photography. I also think that photography mainly is about how you use your equipment and your equipment. I can not place something extra in the photo, I can’t influence how a deer behaves or how a landscape looks like. How can I make it mine, my scene. Of course I can use filters, different perspectives etc. but the credits for creating the scene, the surrounding, the inhabitants of this world go to mother nature. You can’t wave with your lens over a scene and create something which only you could see, only in your imagination.

I also couldn’t help noticing that all the images he showed me he considered art were taken on film a long time ago. Most of them showing light leaks, unsharpness, and with a lot of blacks and whites. We both agreed that they are nice photos, and I think that these images come very close to art. And this is where this article really is about.
Digital (and late film) photography has become too good, too sharp, too true. There is no more room for errors. Everyone is buying expensive lenses with ED elements, for optimum sharpness and minimum flares, ghosts etc. I think modern technology has perfected photography to such an extend that it is nowhere near art anymore.

What I also noticed was that since I noticed this, I have been using one of my lenses which is more prone to flare and ghosts and is not sharp at all wide open. I always took this lens for granted, there’s oil on the aperture blades and it hasn’t a good IQ. But now I have been looking for less quality it hasn’t left my camera. Unfortunately the sun hasn’t shown it’s face yet, so I can get some low-contrast-flared-low-quality-images, but if I get some I will post them in this article.  

But I also do think that there is a place for the modern photography. I do want to have sharp photographs from my friends etc. or when there is a beautiful sunset. But I think that there is a place for low quality lenses in photography and that that place is forgotten. Not only by me but by almost every photographer.

This was my rant for today :P please take a look at my review of the metz 36 AF-5. Especially the last part about whether I should keep the flash.

3 opmerkingen:

  1. 1. I am influenced by the old-fashion B&W photography, I try to make pictures like they did if the opportunity is there.
    2. I also agree that modern technology can make a picture so perfect, that you can call it either "exactly like nature" or "fake" but not art anymore. You can imitate Jacob Olie in a photo using a modern advanced Nikon , but Jacob Olie worked with the technology of those days, and you have to fine-tune the buttons and menues of the Nikon or the Photoshop-program to get the Jacob Olie-effect.

    There's only one exemption: if you see a piece of reality such as e.g. a part of a construction, a special combination of ight and shadow and/or colors, you can identify it as an appealing picture, and make a photograph of it. That's what you did with your macro-pictures on Flickr, and that's what I did with e.g. the shadow on the wall of the office building in my village. Combined with the shapes of the windows, the reeds, and the colors, it gives a piece of reality you can define and/or identify as art if you consider it as a "crop" out of its real-world surroundings.

    3. I agree that photography needs lesser-quality lenses and other equipment to become a form of art (again). That's also why I like analog photography. There are a number of analog-photographers on Flickr who work like this, unconsciously they create art in my view. One of them pictures only streets and town views, but in a very subtle way he creates a certain atmosphere throughout his whole work.

  2. I was still thinking about it, and I found a second exemption in which photography can be art. And that is portrait-photography or photography of people in situations or activities they are doing.
    Art, because and if the photos are expressing something that evokes an emotion within the watcher, purely or mainly caused by the way the photograph has been taken, so "ordinary" snapshots of people on holidays are in most instances not art. Some candid pictures meet that condition, some studio-portraits do (if they are not too "sophisticated" and also spontaneous portraits.
    I was also thinking about landscapes and city/town views, this can be assigned to the first exemption I mentioned above.

  3. What is art?
    Wikipedia describes art like this.
    "Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author's imaginative or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power."
    For what I'm concerned, that could very well be the definition of photographing as well...yes, I think photography is a form of art, but not all photographs are art.
    More to read here: