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Thread: Is photography, Art?

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Is photography, Art?

    An interesting read about Peter Lik's $6.5M photo. But more interesting is the discourse on whether photography is Art, in general

    http://www.theguardian.com/artanddes...eyed-tasteless

    I can see the reporters point of view that photography is not necessarily Art, but then I wonder if someone approached him for a black and white of one of his iPad photos and offered him $1M, would he turn it down simply cause he does not see photography as Art, and that the value is not there?
    Last edited by ricktas; 12-12-2014 at 6:15am.
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I just read that article too, and I reckon the (co called) reporter responsible for the article could have easily used the voice recognition feature in his highly capable iPad to create the article.

    Does that make it journalism?

    I'd love to see some of the reporters iPad images for the purpose of clarity, that is, to see exactly what he is referring too when he says that the images are "gorgeous to look at"
    I'm sure they are as 'gorgeous' as Peter Lik's images.

    Not that I agree that a photograph is worth $6m .. but I think the point that it's one of Peter Lik's images is totally lost on this particular (so called) reporter.

    Are Van Gough's painting really worth $250m? ..
    Are some old Ferrari's really worth $5m

    Something is only worth what the last person was willing to pay .... (btw, that article is not something I'd pay for )

    Lik's photo has nothing to do with whether it's art or not.

    Had the (so called)journalist introduced any reasonable arguments as to why the photo is not considered art .. one would more likely have paid more attention to it(and dare say even be swayed if the argument had any merit) .. But this is a diatribe based solely on, what appears to be, dubious opinion.
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    I saw this yesterday and wondered if anyone would pick it up.

    For me the article quoted is nothing but a mindless rant of someone who could never earn so much. However I understand there is a point to be discussed.

    I have a couple of questions with regards to what has the purchaser actually bought and how that relates to Art?

    If you buy a VG as Arthur mentioned, you are getting a one of a kind, something unique, yes there will be similar pictures or sketches but nothing exactly the same. This is cannot be said for a photograph can it? I have no idea the origins of this particular photo, whether digital or film, but what is being sold here? The rights to the photo? A special print? A negative? For $6Mill I'd want to know no-one else could use or have that photo or at least it be very limited edition.

    I shall stick my neck out and say photography is ART but is it the same as a painting or a sculpture no, but neither is interpretive dance, opera or the ballet but they are still ART.

    Some people just want to belittle others, that is all I am seeing this "journalist" doing because instead of being something for the few photography is now an ART for the masses.
    Call me Roo......
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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    I think photography is art, but sometimes I question price tags, particularly ones which seem to relate more to the marketing than actual talent. The Rhein II is another photo that I think is overpriced. It's a good photo but is it worth $4.3 Million? Is it $4,299,000 better than some of the photos I've seen for $1000 which are mindblowing? Not as far as I am concerned, I think I have seen better photos out there and I don't look at this photo and say "wow, this is the most incredible thing I've seen" and I would expect to do that for a $6 million. I'm not saying that photographers shouldn't have the opportunity to make good money, but $6 million for a photo seems more than just a little ridiculous.

    At the end of the day, it looks like the photographer has created an artificial market for his talent and good on him for doing that.

    BTW, on the author and sour grapes, what was incredibly funny was people (in the comments section) linked to a previous article he wrote saying photography is art. Makes his entire article seem like a contradiction. Multiple personality disorder? Here is the previous article.

    http://www.theguardian.com/artanddes...rt-of-our-time
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    Lightbender Grant S's Avatar
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    Aside from obviously being slightly jealous of Peter Lik, the reporter appears to have a few roos loose in the top paddock. Of course photography is art the acceptance or otherwise has been established for some time. Even more so given the digital editing suites available where the very pixels that make up the image can be altered to suit the artists whim. Is it worth what the buyer paid, well only the buyer can answer that.

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    Member JJM's Avatar
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    Some people are actually question the validity of claimed sale amount and suggesting its just a marketing stunt to get more people through the gallery doors.....

    http://petapixel.com/2014/12/10/expe...rketing-stunt/

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    If someone requests a photograph of an animal I have for sale, I go out and take the best photo of the animal I can to make it look appealing. Do I consider that "art"? No, I don't.

    If I go in the first members competition for 2015 titled "Alone", will that be "art"? Yes, hopefully it will be an artwork

    Some photographs are not art, and were never intended to be. I don't know how many of you would consider your school photos to be a work of art But, other photographs are definitely "art" and personally I find those ones much more satisfying to create.

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    Art, or lack thereof, is always in the eye of the beholder........everyones opinion will differ, and for different reasons. Doesn't make anyone right or wrong, its just an opinion....i am entitlled to mine as much as any one else is to theirs, and there's nothing wrong with that. Same reason that most would probably not see the 6 million for this picture, yet obviously someone does.

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    Ausphotography Regular bcys1961's Avatar
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    Dictionary definition of "Art" according to the Oxford Dictionary:

    ""The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power"

    So using this definition I think for a photo to be elevated to "Art" there has to be application creative skill and imagination to create a work primarily appreciated for its beauty or emotional power. The emotional power could be positive or negative emotions. Of course there are some photos that generate tremendous emotional power ( like the napalmed girl running down the road during the Vietnam war) but I would not say they are art . There was no particular creative skill or imagination employed by the photographer other than being in the right place at the right time , and any competent photographer who had been there could get the shot. Kudos for being there though!



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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcys1961 View Post
    So using this definition I think for a photo to be elevated to "Art" there has to be application creative skill and imagination to create a work primarily appreciated for its beauty or emotional power. The emotional power could be positive or negative emotions. Of course there are some photos that generate tremendous emotional power ( like the napalmed girl running down the road during the Vietnam war) but I would not say they are art . There was no particular creative skill or imagination employed by the photographer other than being in the right place at the right time , and any competent photographer who had been there could get the shot. Kudos for being there though!
    I share that way of thinking. When a photographer is capturing the moment as in your example they probably never set out with the intention of creating an artwork. Much the same way that many of us are out and about capturing scenes, people, animals etc with no intention of creating a work of art.
    Then there are those who have an idea in mind, travel to a place where they can bring that idea to fruition and then use their vision to capture the image.
    They may spend hours, days or weeks getting the image that they have in mind and that to me becomes a work of art.
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I've been suspicious of Lik's 'claimed' prices .. ever since the first 'million dollar' photo.

    The buyer always seems to want to remain anonymous! .. etc, etc.
    (/sarcasmn/ .. could the anonymous buyer be Lik himself? /sarcasmff/)

    That image is referred too as 'One' by Lik, as it was a fleeting moment in time, and his (then) best image ever .. etc, etc..

    What a load of tripe (andother bowel contents).
    I've only been doing landscape photography for about 10 years now, and one thing I know is that moments like that are not that fleeting and are easily replicated time and time again if you're willing and capable of returning to the location.
    They generally tend to last at least a few minutes .. generally more like a minimum of 10 or more. The image wouldn't have looked all that much different ten minutes later!

    Lik is the master marketer, in photographer terms, and his appearance on early morning US chat shows is testament to this.
    Kudos to him for being so pro active .. as this is the most important aspect of being a (financially)successful photographer.
    (ps. there is no need to be jealous of Lik other than his ability to market himself! .. his photos aren't really worth so much on the open market)
    But he's building a 'future' for his name with these 'stunts'.

    The value of an artwork is all in the name behind the works .. not usually the work itself.

    Had any modern painter painted any of VG's painting now .. for sure they couldn't command hundreds of millions of dollars. They sell at auction for the prices they do because of the name behind them!

    This Age article is a more appropriate discourse on Lik's claims. What I didn't like about the article Rick linked too was the manner in which the blogger wrote it.

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    Member Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    An interesting discussion, what value could be put on a signed Apollo 8 Earthrise photograph taken by astronaut William Anders?
    Last edited by Nick Cliff; 13-12-2014 at 6:06am.

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    This article goes a little further than most. And the links in it are very interesting too.

    http://www.theage.com.au/entertainme...12-125f49.html

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Cliff View Post
    An interesting discussion, what value could be put on a signed Apollo 8 Earthrise photograph taken by astronaut William Anders?
    To me, that has far greater value/worth than anything Mr. Lik has produced. The Earthrise image is considered by many the greatest image ever shot and it's has been suggested that it kickstarted the conservation movement. But signed prints don't make them dramatically more valuable. The image was reproduced all over the world and there are probably lots of prints from the neg floating around, and probably mostly 8x10's too (at a guess, based on other such images I've seen).

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Good article jj .. but the link to Scott Reither's blog(s) are the 'killer' back story to the Lik news.

    I've now bookmarked Scott's blog and will keep an eye out for it too from now on.(he seems pretty reasonable).

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    Member Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    Well it might be time to sell the much loved jousting sticks and grab a signed Apollo 8 photo. For the serious Coke can collectors I noticed an empty sealed Coke can online for $25000, the old price vs value conundrum, go figure.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjphoto View Post
    This article goes a little further than most. And the links in it are very interesting too.

    http://www.theage.com.au/entertainme...12-125f49.html

    - - - Updated - - -..... The Earthrise image is considered by many the greatest image ever shot .....
    One of my favourite images of all time .. warts and all. (there's a major flaw on neg for that file which makes it even more interesting.
    I've downloaded a 4800x1600 version of it in jpg format(legal downloads available from a NASA site) .. in fact I have tons of space images saved to my PC.
    Hard to use as a background tho due to the dimensions, and cropping it seems to dilute the image.

    Some see it as a documentation of human existence and achievement(ref: the Megan Dick quote in the Age article jj linked too) .. I see it as art.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Cliff View Post
    ...... For the serious Coke can collectors I noticed an empty sealed Coke can online for $25000, the old price vs value conundrum, go figure.

    "Tell'im he's dreaming!"


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    Member Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    Thanks Arthur you just saved me a fortune, for our overseas members we are referring to lines from the Australian cult movie classic "The Castle".

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    No worries Nick, just got back in. Had to start the Camira, to get it out of the way of the Gemini, so I could move the Commodore, which was blocking access to the Kingswood!



    As for this notion that the original (so called)reporter's claim that photography isn't art .. again .. simple pleb dribble from a perspective of an ignoramus.

    Is literature a form or art .. or is it simply documentation?
    Most knowledgeable people seem to think it's both .. that is, we therefore have art literature. Poetry is just one example.

    But, documentation can also be art. An example of this would be something like the Magna Carta.
    It's a simple documentation of law and liberties created 800 years ago. I doubt that the authors/creators of the piece ever considered it to have such a high value especially for close to 1000 years, so much so that the surviving copies would be encased in glass and environmentally sealed ...

    sounds like the way you would handle a precious work of art to me.

    If it wasn't a work of art, why all the trouble to preserve it in this manner .. as opposed to the more common sense approach of simply preserving the content of the article in multiple forms in multiple locations?

    Me thinks the (so called)journalist at the heart of this topic is probably not as knowledgeable as he makes himself out to be.

    Irrespective of what we think of Lik's work .. it's art .. fine art photography. It's marketed and sold as such. It's purchased as such.
    If someone is willing to pay ludicrous prices for it(again which I'm personally suspicious of, unless it was to some overly intoxicated rich person, now too embarrassed to renege on the deal), then that's their right(or wrong, depending on your perspective of the situation! )

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    Member Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    I am unaware if the cameras used on the Apollo missions can be purchased. If available one would have thought their perceived value may a bit more than my jousting sticks (actually glorified Tomato stakes) and Arthur's Kingswood combined, what a dilemma! Certainly there is some very fine art photos of interest to me, particularly some of the early French artists that then moved into photography, particularly Nadar a fascinating pioneer in many fields.
    Last edited by Nick Cliff; 13-12-2014 at 10:54am.

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    Apollo 11 had various cameraw including a bunch of Hassleblads
    http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/missio...1/photography/
    Last edited by Kym; 13-12-2014 at 11:06am.
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