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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Is Photography "Fine Art"?
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02/18/2007 10:34:37 AM · #1
I know that the digital age has made it possible to do what ever an artist wants with an image.

"Art" is anything. It's dynamic. It's fluid. It's straight out of the camera, or it can be straight from the final edit.

But, is photography considered "Fine Art"?

If so, then it has to have certain properties.

One property that comes to mind is the intention of the image has to be more than the content of the image itself such as using film instead of digital.

Others way argue that a "Fine Art" photo image should be only black and white.

Yet, others may also argue that a "Fine Art" photo image should be only of candids and never be set up in studio.

So, again, the question is given....

....IS PHOTOGRAPHY FINE ART?
02/18/2007 10:38:31 AM · #2
I think so, because it's something you create, and anything created is ART!
02/18/2007 10:39:35 AM · #3
I'd say Photography CAN be fine art - it can also be fine crap and many stages in between. It depends on the intention of the photographer, the sucess of the photographer to implement his intention AND the attitude and opinions of the viewer. When these things come together one way - its art, another way - its crap or something else.

I don't consider my portrait work to be "art", but I promise you, my clients do!

There is no perfect answer to that question. But you knew that. ;)

Edit poor typing

Message edited by author 2007-02-18 10:40:13.
02/18/2007 10:48:05 AM · #4
I had a long discussion last week over this question and I came to the conclusion. No. Well, maybe? The key word being "fine". Define the word "fine" as it pertains to this topic.

The three painters that I spoke with see no "fine" elements to what most of us do. There's, composition, coloring, burning and dodging...layers etc things that are associated with art but NOTHING fine according to them.

I do think that photography is or can be art...just not fine art, necessarily.

If you are seriously manipulating an image in a highly skilled way that requires time and some sort of education to attain, I would say then yes...your getting closer to fine art.

Message edited by author 2007-02-18 11:45:14.
02/18/2007 10:48:37 AM · #5
Sure it is, but first you usually have to take a photo of basically nothing, shoot it poorly, then charge $1,000 for the print. Then it somehow becomes "fine art".
02/18/2007 10:55:58 AM · #6
It is, of course, a matter of definition. Here's a few to choose from:

Definitions of fine art on the Web:

* Art created for purely aesthetic expression, communication, or contemplation. Painting and sculpture are the best known of the fine arts.
//www.ackland.org/tours/classes/glossary.html

* art that is created for its own aesthetic purpose rather than for a practical, utility purpose. "Art for art's sake.
//www.worldimages.com/art_glossary.php

* works made to be enjoyed, not functional, and judged by the theories of art
//www.ket.org/artstoolkit/varts/glossary.htm

* usually refers to the traditional, Western European notion of the `high arts' (eg painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, music)
en.wikibooks.org/wiki/SA_NCS_Visual_Arts:Glossary

* Those referred to by scholars as being chiefly concerned with the mind and imagination. In short, art for art's sake. Not created for decorative, illustrative or commercial purposes.
1001resources.com/hosting/users/AT/IslandArts/paTerms%20and%20materials.html

* art: the products of human creativity; works of art collectively; "an art exhibition"; "a fine collection of art"
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

* The term "fine art" was coined in 1767 in reference to the arts that were "concerned with beauty or which appealed to taste" (S.O.E.D 1991). The term has been used to refer to a limited number of visual art forms, including painting, sculpture, and printmaking, and is still used by schools, institutes, and other organizations to indicate a traditional perspective on the visual arts, often implying an association with classic or academic art.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine_art
02/18/2007 11:06:27 AM · #7
If you concider art to be a form of commication of a feeling or a mood or even just a life situation, photography is a medium to express these as much as paint or marble.

I dont concider myself to be an artist but I most cirtainly believe that my work is a means of commincating my feelings and thoughts.

Art can be in any colour not just black and white. Art is how you percieve it as an artist or as you see it as a viewer of art..

It can not be judged on its quality olny its popularity.

Bruce
02/18/2007 11:08:50 AM · #8
Previous debates on this website haven't even resolved whether photography is art at all, much less "fine art".
02/18/2007 11:13:39 AM · #9
I dont think that you have to play around with an image for hours and hours for it to concidered fine at and only then be fine art.

I put a great deal of my energy into my pictures at the time of shooting and often in the preparation of the shoot.

I think the world fine is stemmed from REFINE, as in refining your work perhaps..

Its up for debate but again art is as I said before not for judging just valuing for its popularity to the viewers.

The viewer of art makes its value not the artist.

The viewer is some times an ASS.

People buy art because it has a value that can be measured in $,,

I dont believe you can value art in this way..

The medium that an artist chooses to express him slf is uniportant just what he or she produces with it.

Message edited by author 2007-02-18 11:15:52.
02/18/2007 11:27:39 AM · #10
Originally posted by BruceSmith:

I dont think that you have to play around with an image for hours and hours for it to considered fine at and only then be fine art.


If you were referring to my "playing around" comment, I changed it to get nearer to what I mean. ("manipulating an image in a highly skilled way that requires time and some sort of education to attain") Is that better?

I see the question as a definition question, about drawing lines. Most of us would agree that it's art...I assume but the OP threw out the words Fine Art.

Any monkey can throw paint on a canvas and any monkey can snap a picture. Literally and figuratively. Would we call it art...or fine art?

Now when do we move from art into the zone of Fine Art. My few previous discussions led me to the point where skill set is difficult and not something anyone can just do. That I personally can't or won't try to define but this about those that do.

I've seen many people (some here on DPC)...beginners pick up a camera and take images that could easily be sold as Fine Art Photography. Maybe not consistently...but it's being done. Where it would take them years to even copy a Vermeer...or simply play a piece by Bach.

That might be where some people would draw the line.

Message edited by author 2007-02-18 12:42:46.
02/18/2007 11:30:53 AM · #11
Fine is a qualifier to separate different 'types' of art (for example: crafts, glass blowing, pottery, sword making, sculpture, watercolor, etc.)

Once you can define art, call me. I'd be interested to know... Poetry can be art and yet you can't touch it. Music can be art yet you can't see it. Stained glass can be art yet it is also functional.

I disagree that it is the viewers that define art as there would be no definition. How many viewers would have to agree before something is 'named' as art? Viewers can disagree on aesthetic value but nothing more (just because I call it a rose doesn't make it a rose. It could be a dog).
02/18/2007 11:54:51 AM · #12
I can't define art, but I know it when I see it.

FWIW, I don't buy art because it has monetary value, I buy it because it speaks to me.
02/18/2007 12:01:51 PM · #13
Bottom line is, historically speaking "fine arts" is a term that was coined to separate certain types of arts from others. There is, for example, the "art of bonsai" or the "art of pottery", but I don't think anyone has ever called these "fine arts" seriously.

It's like in the hierarchies created by people that define things (and I'm not one of these), there are "crafts", "applied arts", "commercial art", and "fine art". It's all definition-driven. It has no meaning to me.

R.
02/18/2007 12:05:35 PM · #14
Fine art is defined when some jackass with too much money is willing to pay a ton for a photo, painting, etc to hang in his personal gallery :-)

Seriously, I see fine art as a definition made by the aristocracy as a means of putting worth to what they like. Hence, fine art is considered high brow while pop art and other genres are considered low brow.

Rich folk like to ponder the meaning of an art piece (even if none exist). :-D
02/18/2007 12:07:55 PM · #15
Photography can definitely be a fine art. A while back I started another thread about the difference between an art and a non-art photograph. I still think that the criterion, presented in that post, is the best I have seen so far.

Message edited by author 2007-02-18 12:08:35.
02/18/2007 12:11:43 PM · #16
Originally posted by agenkin:

Photography can definitely be a fine art. A while back I started another thread about the difference between an art and a non-art photograph. I still think that the criterion, presented in that post, is the best I have seen so far.


That's excellent as far as trying to identify when a "photograph" crosses the line and becomes "art", but it doesn't have much relevance to the issue of whether photography-as-art can be considered a "fine art".

Anyway, as I said before, and as Leroy is pointing out also, "fine art" is a meaningless distinction, and mostly class-driven.

R.
02/18/2007 12:11:45 PM · #17
Originally posted by pawdrix:

Any monkey can throw paint on a canvas and any monkey can snap a picture. Literally and figuratively. Would we call it art?

Many do, and pay money for it. Obviously, they consider monkey splatter "art".

I think what this suggests is that art doesn't exist in a vacuum. There can't be any universally accepted definition of what art is. You need an audience, and the audience decides whether or not art is "art". There's certainly an audience for photography that is not commercial, and in that sense, because it has an audience, some photography can be considered fine art.
02/18/2007 12:28:26 PM · #18
I wonder why these threads come up so often. Are we that insecure in what we do? Do we need to be defined?

Message edited by author 2007-02-18 12:29:01.
02/18/2007 12:32:53 PM · #19
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

I wonder why these threads come up so often. Are we that insecure in what we do? Do we need to be defined?


There are those that say the single trait that most defines us as humans is our need to name things, and to define them, and to categorize them.

For whatever that's worth ;-)

R.
02/18/2007 12:33:04 PM · #20
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

I wonder why these threads come up so often. Are we that insecure in what we do? Do we need to be defined?


I think some people have such a strong need for order that it is just too distressing for something to not fit neatly inside a box.
02/18/2007 12:33:43 PM · #21
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

I wonder why these threads come up so often. Are we that insecure in what we do? Do we need to be defined?


There are those that say the single trait that most defines us as humans is our need to name things, and to define them, and to categorize them.

For whatever that's worth ;-)

R.


Does that make me sub-human?
02/18/2007 12:36:13 PM · #22
Originally posted by Spazmo99:


Does that make me sub-human?


Or perhaps evolved ... but there we go classifying again :-)
02/18/2007 03:37:31 PM · #23
Originally posted by American_Horse:

But, is photography considered "Fine Art"?

By many it can be, yes.

Originally posted by American_Horse:

If so, then it has to have certain properties.

One property that comes to mind is the intention of the image has to be more than the content of the image itself such as using film instead of digital.


I disagree. Not completely, but I do.

Originally posted by American_Horse:

Others way argue that a "Fine Art" photo image should be only black and white.


Because all other fine art is black and white, of course. Nevermind those pesky painters.

Originally posted by American_Horse:

Yet, others may also argue that a "Fine Art" photo image should be only of candids and never be set up in studio.


Again, all those pesky painters, sculpters, musicians... if it wasn't for all their street art how would we know what do do? ;) Seriously... prior to photography, name any "fine art" that was done without a _whole lot_ of planning. It took most artists days, weeks, or even years to create their masterpieces. What about architecture? Many people consider some pieces of architecture to be fine art.
02/18/2007 04:14:58 PM · #24
465165.jpg

Fine Art?
02/18/2007 04:20:57 PM · #25
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

465165.jpg

Fine Art?


Fine Art Roflmao. A whole different genre in itself.
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