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Thread started 10 Nov 2011 (Thursday) 23:54
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Dec 03, 2011 11:32 |  #121

jetcode wrote in post #13489009 (external link)
So we have those who understand a language (artists) developed over a great period of time by a great many who have contributed to the craft. That is one school. We also have the many who are not educated in this school who select art based on their own intuitive criteria. Do you qualify the uninitiated as not being qualified to discern a good piece of art from a bad piece of art or do you let each person have their unique appreciation no matter where they are in terms of understanding the craft? If the latter is applicable is it not safe to say that the journey of the artist and viewer is relative to their own knowledge? Look at the many trend setting artists over the years who broke new ground by applying a vision and craft that defies what has already been established. Is this not a relative movement in art?

Makes total sense.



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airfrogusmc
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Dec 03, 2011 11:32 |  #122

jetcode wrote in post #13489009 (external link)
So we have those who understand a language (artists) developed over a great period of time by a great many who have contributed to the craft. That is one school. We also have the many who are not educated in this school who select art based on their own intuitive criteria. They have creating and buying power equally with the artist but no command of the language. Do you qualify the uninitiated as not being qualified to discern a good piece of art from a bad piece of art or do you let each person have their unique appreciation no matter where they are in terms of understanding the craft? If the latter is applicable is it not safe to say that the journey of the artist and viewer is relative to their own knowledge? Look at the many trend setting artists over the years who broke new ground by applying a vision and craft that defies what has already been established. Is this not a relative movement in art?

Some come by it naturally of course. They naturally see things that make great work. Those are the truly gifted ones and rare indeed. You find them in all areas of creativity. Most are somewhere in between the gifted and the ones that aren't at all. Remember that there has to be some criteria to judge work or anything would be art and thats just not the case. Which many flooding in to photography today believe but its not the case.

I remember reading a comment by Adams saying that Weston was said not to know the zone system and Adams said he knows it, its in all of his work.

Whether anyone wants to believe this or not its real and its not new and if you are not one of the .000001% that it just come to naturally then this knowledge is going to make you more effective at visual communication. All the great work has it. Its in Sally Manns work. Its in Westons work. Its in Rothko work. Its there...

Joe its a journey. The more you work with it and look for it the more you see it and the more it shows up in your own work. I remember there were pieces when I first started my journey that i didn't understand thus dismissed. THe more I've learned over the years the more I started to see in some, not all of those pieces. Now some of those pieces and artists are my favorites because I see what I didn't see at one time because I didn't know. Most great work is not an easy read and works on many levels. And because its not easy we keep going back and finding more. Usually the pieces that you get immediate gratification from and are very easy reads are left behind quickly because you get it, no reason to look deeper. Again what we personally like or dislike is cool and it is very very subjective. But art isn't as suggestive as many think.

Isn't it nice to be able to look at a piece and see if all the elements are working to support the statement and then being able to articulate the real reason you think a piece works or not because of an objective approach instead of its crap or it sucks or because I say so?

Joe and subject matter is a lot about what you are talking about and in some cases, in real art, thats irrelevant. Some work is about color or maybe its only about line or maybe just texture. Even in the work of abstract expressionism in the successful pieces all the elements are still supporting the visual statement and thus the intent of the artist. I think Ross said it in another post but I agree that all great work has form.




  
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Dec 03, 2011 15:52 as a reply to  @ airfrogusmc's post |  #123

Art is, to an extent, subjective; and taste is not wholly divorced from the discussion of evaluating and defining art. For one thing, how our mind operates to perceive, ingest, and value aesthetic remains unclear, rendering any attempts at this stage to make absolute declarations futile.

Are there objective mathematical equations that can be applied to help define art, yes, or at least probably. And to this extent, this is where I agree, at least mostly, with Allen. However, art involves elements that engage visceral, spiritual, emotional, and other human elements of which, again, we have fully yet to understand (we're getting close, but we are not there yet).

RossJ, you can make your point with as much erudite phrasing and deplorable condescension as you want, but none of this proves that you possess the universal truth. In fact, it only proves, and unequivocally and immutably so, that your quite apt at being pretentious and rude. Still, despite these glaring character deficiencies (ones that I can share too), I'm not completely or automatically dismissing your point of view.

However, the linking of relativism with totalitarianism argument is one commonly used by those in the anti-modernist camp. At best, it's histrionic reasoning, and arguments over art should not be seen as a dangerous politico-ethical gateway to justifying the slitting of an innocent old lady's throat.

Getting back to art and the subjective/objective argument. Again, I do actually believe that when defining "art," there are objective elements, a grammar so to speak, that serve as a guideline, ones that transcend cultural and social differences. I'm not so relativistic as to allow any object (toaster, painting, back scratcher) to be defined as art, simply because one person proclaims such object to be so.

Yet, there is a level where subjectivity and, inevitably, as we are human and not Vulcans, taste come into play, leaving us with a degree of ambiguity. No better proof of this, as Jetcode noted, is that you can get five intellectual art historians/experts in the same room---all of them as self-assured and educated as RossJ---and yet disagreement will ensue, and I'm not simply referring to arguments based on whether one would want the goddamn debated piece on their wall or in their living room.

Now, does such disagreement prove that all is completely subjective, no, and nor should such disagreement overshadow the unmentioned consensus.

My point is that art appreciation, even in its most objective approach, does not course along a single narrative. Art is not a science project, and the injection of humanity will invariably add components of subjectivity into the issue. On the other hand, certain foundations exists that can be highly instructive when trying to approach art, whether as a creator or viewer. This is where I certainly agree with Allen.

As to specifying these guidelines, I cannot. For one thing, I haven't studied art (RossJ saying to himself, 'thanks for pointing out the obvious'). I don't have the parlance down, and I haven't memorized any debate points.

Yet, when I picked up on photography six years back, I quickly started analyzing photos that I found compelling. I often did not know who the photographers were beforehand, so it was not a case of giving credit simply based on name.

I've tried to dissect what components on the visual and emotional side lent to the success of the work. Before photography, I was very much (and still am to a lesser extent) into music, and I have attempted to parlay certain attitudes to my approach. I've also started looking more thoroughly at other mediums (paintings, sculptures, etc), pieces that I have long since admired but never really assessed, hoping that any insight attained would translate to better photography. More importantly, I've tried to view works that did not necessarily conform with my taste, but could nevertheless prove educational.

Some factors remain elusive, at least for little ol' brain addled me. For example, as I mentioned recently in another thread, I love a lot of the New Topographics material. When I first picked up a Stephen Shore book, I had not heard of him, and I certainly did not have any allegiance to his work. I could have easily put the book down and muttered, "Glorified snapshots." But instead, I found much of his work captivating. And earlier this year, I learned of Lewis Baltz after coming across an exhibition of his at one of DC's numerous museums. Again, some would claim 'snapshots,' but to me there is much more; and perhaps there are underlying objective elements of 'art' that elevate these photos to a higher level. If they exist, they are not overt, and this is why I consider this some of the most challenging photography.

Look, I realize we're a cynical lot, particularly in a culture where stupidity is increasingly profitable, if not deified (see RossJ, I can be arrogant too), so we are cautious not to be duped by what clothing the emperor is wearing. But Gursky (getting to the main topic, finally) did not enter the art community by being the hitherto unknown lead in a leaked sex tape or by being a contestant on some unfathomably idiotic reality TV show. And whether Gursky's "Rheine" photo appeals to one or not, Allen's advise to at least study, and not automatically toss aside, why it is valued artistically, not just monetarily, deserves consideration (There is also some socioeconomic questions that arise too, but I will restrain from any socialist-inspired ranting).

Personally, the Rheine photo did not hit me; I've seen other things by Gursky that I liked much better. This said, it has 'grown' on me, and why not? How many times have we heard a song one, two, or even five times before we started to even notice it, only for it to become one of our favorites.

At best, we can identify certain ligaments, but the imposition of absolute rules, well, I actually find this anathema to art, and the attempt to delineate rules and personal creativity is arguably where much of the debate and contradictions reside, especially since measured principles and individual expression are not exclusive of one another.

As for me, I'm just going to try to go out in take photos that make's my mother proud, or that will earn me a few million.


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Dec 03, 2011 21:04 |  #124

airfrogusmc wrote in post #13488914 (external link)
You are trying to make this simple like technique and its not simple. If the meter reads 18% gray at f/8 at 1/125th and its in exactly the same light as the subject and I expose the subject/scene at 1/125 at 5.6 it should be 1 stop under exposed.

I know it's not simple. I know there are countless variables. That's why I claim that it is not objective.

Dealing with these kinds of issues are not that simple but there is objective criteria when judging what is or isn't but its not just one thing and it really does take a lot of time to master. Usually in depth critiques, not about f/stops and apertures, but instead about how the color, the texture, the line and most important form are all working to support the artists intent are usually a great way to learn besides reading and studying it. Its not a simple paragraph or one page answer.

And I have yet to see a critique that does not rely on subjective emotion when describing a photo.

I know, I know simple is what you are looking for but if it were that simple everyone would be great at it thus this thread would not exist because everyone would just naturally understand why the Gursky piece is considered by those fluent in the language consider the piece important. Is it worth 4.3 million. Must be, it got it.

I was at a Star Trek convention once where I saw someone pay $300 for a piece of styrofoam that got stuck to one of the actors when he came out on stage. I hve seen first hand that people will pay insane amounts of money for things.


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Dec 03, 2011 21:15 |  #125

It's waaaaaay better than "Rhein I".


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Dec 05, 2011 05:35 as a reply to  @ Cygnusx1's post |  #126

Whether you liked him or not Einstein was brilliant. Like or dislike because it is suggestive is irrelevant .

What one like or dislikes is subjective.

When trying to evaluate art this subjective like or dislike should not be in the process but there are objective tools that can be used to help one determine what is or isn't. When one is using like or dislike (taste) when evaluating art, that is a suggestive way to evaluate but that is exactly what you should suppress when evaluating art because what you like or dislike doesn't determine what or isn't art, It just determines what one likes or dislikes. And there is nothing wrong with.

If I dislike Einstein, he was/is still brilliant. I dislike most of Witkins photography but it is still art.

There are objective ways to help you determining what is or isn't art. Its a language not totally unlike verbal language in the fact that the more fluent you become with it the more you understand and the easier it becomes to understand what is or isn't.

Some of these tools are things like color theory, line, shape, texture and how all of these things can work together to help one understand the language. Think of these things like you would nouns, verbs, sentences etc.

These things are not easy to learn for some and can take years to master and to some it comes very easy. Those that are extremely creative usually have it in them. They see and speak it fluently with little effort. Others it takes effort and it can take years to learn and to become fluent with it.

Because its not about hard rules and those that need hard rules have a much harder time with it. But there are objective ways to determine what is or what isn't good. But like any language, the more you learn, the more fluent you become with it, the more you begin to understand. That doesn't mean you wind up liking say Witkin or Gursky. It just means you understand. I still don't really much care for Witkin but I do think over the years, once I got past the like dislike or the suggestive I think I now understand, and what I like or dislike (suggestive) is irrelevant when judging the work as valid or not but using things that are objective I can objectively form a determination.


Whether I like or dislike Einstein he is still brilliant.

Whether I like or dislike a piece it can still be art. ;)




  
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Dec 05, 2011 05:49 |  #127

airfrogusmc wrote in post #13496923 (external link)
What one like or dislikes is subjective.

When trying to evaluate art this subjective like or dislike should not be in the process but there are objective tools that can be used to help one determine what is or isn't. When one is using like or dislike (taste) when evaluating art, that is a suggestive way to evaluate but that is exactly what you should suppress when evaluating art because what you like or dislike doesn't determine what or isn't art, It just determines what one likes or dislikes. And there is nothing wrong with.

If I dislike Einstein, he was/is still brilliant. I dislike most of Witkins photography but it is still art.

I'm not denying that it is art. I'm saying that there are no objective guidelines for GOOD art.

it is impossible, I think, to be able to honestly say, "Every single person who has ever, or will ever, see this piece of art thinks it is very bad, but it is still good art."


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airfrogusmc
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Dec 05, 2011 08:06 |  #128

Tiberius47 wrote in post #13496948 (external link)
I'm not denying that it is art. I'm saying that there are no objective guidelines for GOOD art.

it is impossible, I think, to be able to honestly say, "Every single person who has ever, or will ever, see this piece of art thinks it is very bad, but it is still good art."

And you are wrong. What you are describing is what one likes or dislikes and again that is suggestive. Did you read the link I supplied? Most who think the piece in question is BAD that have posted here, which btw has not been everyone (again if you read), has used like or dislike to describe why they think its bad. I suggest you go back and read my review of why I think it works and then using the language I have used objectively tell us why its not working. And if one can't objectively talk about art, how come I did it? But first you might want to at least try and understand the language you will be attempting to communicate in because its the one that those who curate museums use, the ones that curate galleries use, the ones the anyone that uses an objective approach uses to evaluate and yes there are classes you can take, books you can read and ways to learn this and its the most important part of the entire process but the most difficult to master. We all seem to put everything into f/stops and shutter speeds because those are easy to learn and require no free thought but not many want to put the effort as we can clearly see here into the difficult part. Most don't even want to fully read posts on the web:lol::lol::lol:

I'll say this again, knowledge is the cure for ignorance. But to become knowledgeable you have to want to become that.

Heres what you seem to keep missing its not one thing and its elements that can be the almost exact in two separate pieces but one works and one doesn't but the objective things you can learn are all part of the language and knowing that language can help you understand the objective meanings. Its not like if I shoot at f/8 at 1/125 or I shoot at f/11 at 1/60 its the same exposure. Being fluent in the language will help you understand and evaluate the work in an objective way and the more fluent you become the easier the understanding also becomes.




  
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Dec 05, 2011 10:43 as a reply to  @ airfrogusmc's post |  #129

I'm going to re write my thoughts on the piece using this objective approach. I have already done this but it will be fun doing it again. :lol::lol:

I'm going to do what you say can't be done AGAIN.

I want to first say that I have not seen this piece and scale is also an element to consider.

Starting with very basic elements of two dimensional design I will start with the image is shot horizontal. So why is this a horizontal? Because if you want something to look really wide one visual element you can use is framing and a horizontal crop will help with that statement. A vertical crop gives an image lift or height.

Then add the very strong straight bold horizontal lines which even further put emphasis on the width. Also strong horizontal lines are peaceful. And then add a true monochromatic color scheme (in the true meaning of the term not the way its used in the digital world)with really only one color green (color theory) a peaceful color you have framing, line, and color all supporting the visual statement. How many landscapes do you see that have no strong vertical lines? Not many. And in this image there are no strong vertical lines thus nothing fighting the statement. There are no jagged lines or other colors that would break this support. Jagged lines or a strong warm color would fight the statement causing tension which s not what this piece is about.

Now add scale which at over 6 ft high and 10 ft wide you have another visual aspect that supports this very simple but effective use of space, color and line and the fact it fits with his other work thus making this part of a larger whole. All of these things are why this piece works and is effective. These are all objective reasons why it is considered art.
And the fact that I like or dislike this piece is irrelevant in this evaluation. For the record I do like this piece which only makes it a bonus. I am not trying to say in any way you should like this piece. These are all objective reasons why this piece is effective.




  
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Dec 06, 2011 06:13 |  #130

I like the photo, but 4.3 mil? I really can't say that's worth it.


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Dec 06, 2011 07:03 |  #131

380k :

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO

Chris Giles Photography

  
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Dec 06, 2011 07:28 |  #132

airfrogusmc wrote in post #13497906 (external link)
I'm going to re write my thoughts on the piece using this objective approach. I have already done this but it will be fun doing it again. :lol::lol:

I'm going to do what you say can't be done AGAIN.

I want to first say that I have not seen this piece and scale is also an element to consider.

Starting with very basic elements of two dimensional design I will start with the image is shot horizontal. So why is this a horizontal? Because if you want something to look really wide one visual element you can use is framing and a horizontal crop will help with that statement. A vertical crop gives an image lift or height.

Then add the very strong straight bold horizontal lines which even further put emphasis on the width. Also strong horizontal lines are peaceful. And then add a true monochromatic color scheme (in the true meaning of the term not the way its used in the digital world)with really only one color green (color theory) a peaceful color you have framing, line, and color all supporting the visual statement. How many landscapes do you see that have no strong vertical lines? Not many. And in this image there are no strong vertical lines thus nothing fighting the statement. There are no jagged lines or other colors that would break this support. Jagged lines or a strong warm color would fight the statement causing tension which s not what this piece is about.

Now add scale which at over 6 ft high and 10 ft wide you have another visual aspect that supports this very simple but effective use of space, color and line and the fact it fits with his other work thus making this part of a larger whole. All of these things are why this piece works and is effective. These are all objective reasons why it is considered art.
And the fact that I like or dislike this piece is irrelevant in this evaluation. For the record I do like this piece which only makes it a bonus. I am not trying to say in any way you should like this piece. These are all objective reasons why this piece is effective.

I see why you call this art, thanks for clearing that out. I have no problem with this picture, and people should pay what they will for art. But even afther youre great explanation, i find the picture boring....

What I don't understand is that so many photographs get so provoked by statements like... "oh I have deleted thousand of pictures like this". Can't you see, that for 99% of the people in this world, this is not looking like art, it is a boring looking picture, worth millions becouse this guy has a name? And to say this is not to be disrespectful, this is how most people think.

I am following several forums, english, german and norwegian. And in all of them the thread looks identical as this. A bounch of photographs makeing jokes about the picture, and a couple of artist feeling offended by the jokes. And starting to taking it personal, and often also turning the debate into a "you will never understand art" cind of argument.

There is a problem with modern art. Most of the stuff shown in galleries is beeing looked at as trash or a joke in ordinary peoples eyes. This means, the artist is NOT communicating anything to people outside of the small group of people that have an university education in art history. And the picture discussed here fit perfectly into the nonsens cind of art that galleries are filled with. Art that says nothing to the ordinary man... The picture is not relevant for the majority of the society. And it is realy not looking that special for most people, therefore all the jokes.

The problem is that modern art is totaly into their own bubble of impressing each other, and not about beauty.

I wish there was more artists making art for the society. Artists that was actually interested in communicating things for ordinary people. Instead of producing thechnical perfection for art history classes. And if an artist would try to do that, they will be given names, threated like enemies of art, painters that produce kitch. Like Nerdrum (external link), wich is calling his art "kitch" and is proud about it. (and hated by most of the cultural elite of his generation).

I think that professionals would gain more if they started to listen to what most people think about art, instead of using some cind of academical terminology to build up a wall against the ignorant masses.

If art is only to be understood by a small intellectual elite, then art has ended its value in the society.


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Dec 06, 2011 07:41 |  #133

kent andersen wrote in post #13502666 (external link)
I think that professionals would gain more if they started to listen to what most people think about art, instead of using some cind of academical terminology to build up a wall against the ignorant masses.

If art is only to be understood by a small intellectual elite, then art has ended its value in the society.

That's a really great point. No need to detract from this piece, but there is a need to bolster available art for the Area Sales Manager, Electrical Engineer, Homemaker, Auto Mechanic, and the guy who delivers your Chinese food.


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Dec 06, 2011 08:44 |  #134

kent andersen wrote in post #13502666 (external link)
If art is only to be understood by a small intellectual elite, then art has ended its value in the society.

This is what really bothers my about our society today is no one wants to learn all they can about their craft and the sad part I find is that at one time its wasn't so easy to get knowledge but with the way the world is today its never been easier and anyone can learn because knowledge is not elitist but lack of it because it so easy today can is a lot of things with LAZY being one. No one today wants to work for anything. Some can't even take the time to read.

I grew up in a very rough neighborhood and I put myself through college because my family couldn't and I have been working full time in photography since graduating. Four years in the Marines taught me I could take anything life could dish out. Four years of college taught me I no longer had to.

But what you create in a commercial or professional setting is a different conversation from what is or what isn't art. And again we as photographers should be very happy that finally photography is fetching prices that were once only be fetched by paintings and sculpture. And in a free open market it gets exactly what its worth.

So enough of the cry baby I don't know this and those that do are elitists blooo hooo hooo. If theres stuff you don't know, learn it. Its never been easier.

And back to commercial photography, though its rarely art, the better paying commercial jobs require working with people that also know these things that photographers and visual professionals as well as artist should know not just ELITISTS. If they don't see these things in your work you ain't gett'n the jobs period.

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NorthWestDork
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Dec 06, 2011 08:59 |  #135

Its too bad the media spun this story as just a "photo". It doesnt help that the Christies website doesnt have any pictures of the work as a "whole" showing how its printed/mounted and that its a huge piece of art. If I could afford a house big enough to display something of this size, odds are $4 million is the least of my worries.


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Photography-on-the.net Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.