Monday, July 12, 2010

Photography as Fine Art

It is gratifying to see the reactions to real fine art photography, to know that we really showed them the art in it. All of the submitted photos show great creativity. I think the caliber of the work enter this year far surpasses last years entries, even if the number was down.

Each and every piece showed that the artist really thought about it. These are not simply what they had on hand, but executed and mounted with this challenge in mind. And it was a difficult challenge for photographers, to feature and work with color complements.
But that is what art is all about, problem solving. We take the problem of how to express what we want, consider our medium and then work out our own particular solution.

This past Sunday we had our opening reception for the annual Fine Art Photography show. It is a great show. The artists who took up the challenge to work with color complements through photograhy showed great courage and creativity. The many solutions they came up with shows that it was not an impossible task.

Still, many photographers stuggle to be taken seriously as artists.

It can be disheartening when other artists denigrate photography as a medium. I know a few painters who feel that photographers should not be accorded the same respect as any other artist. That somehow, the very “ease” with which they create art somehow lowers it value as art. Even collage artists are accorded more respect.

Many art show do not accept photography in their show, or put it in another area and category. Yes, photography is the red-headed step child of the art world.

But it takes more than simply snapping the shutter to create a true work of art in photography. It takes vision, patience and hard work.

When I set up a still life for drawing or painting, I can play with the arrangement, colors and lighting on my canvas. I can fiddle with the background or eliminate it completely. But when I set up a still life in photography, I have to look it over very, very carefully. I have to look at it from all angles, see not just the objects, but how they fit together, and if anything else is in the picture that I might need to eliminate.

Then when the picture is take, the real work begins.

As has always been true, much of the artistry happens in the darkroom. Today, more and more photographers work in the virtual dark room, but the work still has to happen. Now, instead of chemical baths, we have software and filters and effects, but the artist still has to know which filter to apply, in what order and how much.

Then there is the output, the physical photograph. Today there are more choices here, and each effects the perception of the work. What are you going to print it on? Photographic paper? One of the newer art papers? Textured papers or even fabric? And then presentation. Matted and framed? Size of the mat, color, frame. Each choice effects how the work is viewed.

And these are not simply technical decisions, but the kind of choices all artist must make to make sure the work conveys the meaning the artist is trying to get across.

So for the most part, this show for me is a labor of love. Love of art and my fellow art photographers.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Did you enjoy this post? I would love to hear from you