Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 20

Thread: Who is this Ansel Adams guy anyway?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Posts
    76

    Who is this Ansel Adams guy anyway?

    I was wondering does anyone else get the impression that photography is not see as one of the serious art forms? It seems the only people who have an y respect for fine art photography are those directly involved. Example flip through almost any book on modern art and you begin to wonder if th e editors have even heard of photography.(Actually you might see a cindy sherman at the end but that does not count.)My local museum has a modern art section an d then a print and photography section (which by the way is usually closed).The fact that they separate photography from the other art says it right there. As m atter of fact looking back on a visit to the met it was the same. Even more infu riating is when they hang paintings by know frauds or will hang inferiour work b y big names.(most museums will show just about anything picasso touched) To me t his a tired argument that should have died with the horse and buggy. Would like to here the opinions of other photographers? Josh

  2. #2

    Who is this Ansel Adams guy anyway?

    Josh, I think a lot of it has to do with the publics perception of photography. That is anyone can pick up a camera and take a picture. Real art takes years to learn. This is reinforced by the fact that all people have also attempted to draw or paint in their lives with little success. They immediately see how difficult it is. Now as you know most people with a modern camera experience a successful picture on the first roll. Now most photographers might look at that roll and cringe but that's beside the point. To the average snapshooter they have successfully photographed something. I believe that due to this phenomena people don't take photography as serious as other arts. You can also add to this the fact that within photography there is also many types of photography that aren't even considered art such as newspaper photography and other types of photojournalism. These draw an even more distinct line between photography and art.Just some thoughts to consider. Good light to all Chris

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 1998
    Posts
    1,973

    Who is this Ansel Adams guy anyway?

    Chris,

    Nice answer but I challenge your contention that "real art takes years to learn." I also challenge the implied contention that Cindy Sherman's work isn't important. I don't particularly like it either but it is important work on the nature of identity and stereotyping of people through the political and culture shaping mechanism of art. A little too political of an answer for you? Sorry that it is not the politically correct flavor that appeals to you, and that is also part of the point. Much of Ansel Adam's landscape work was extremely revolutionary in it's time ny it's promotion of a political idea: that nature is worth preserving for it's value to the human soul, not just exploiting for short term gain for it's value to the comfort and pocketbook. I am lucky to live in a city (Houston, Texas) that has a museum (the Houston Museum of Fine Arts) which has a curator (Anne Tucker) who immensely values photography as an art, including the work of both A. Adams and C.Sherman. We also have, every two years, the glorious Fotofest. A month that celebrates photography.

  4. #4

    Who is this Ansel Adams guy anyway?

    I certainly agree to a large extent with he proposition in the question. The position of photography within the visual art is frequently precarious to this day. When I open books about modern art, I often see photography represented only in Andy Warhol's portraits of Marilyn Monroe, as parts of the collages of the Dadaists and Robert Rauschenberg, and maybe as a sequence of pictures of some happening (for instance, the artist building a pyramid of some rough stones near the pyramids of Gizeh). I suspect that this is indeed due to the diverse nature of the photographic medium (the most common method of visual documentation and expression of any sort), and, among other reasons, to the images of high street photographers. But another reason is surely the historical developement of the meaning of the modern term "art": the term "l'art pour l'art" implies that art should be devoid of any other purpose than serving itself, and this view caused in this century very often an ardent quest for anything new, hitherto not seen or not presented under the label of "art". It is interesting that the invention and the spread of photography has influenced painting to a large extent, as shown in the excellent book by Aaron Scharf, "art and photography". Generally spoken, photography has released painting from its purpose of representing rerality (whatever this term means), but the way the world is seen through the lens has also influenced the vision of the painter. In my view, however, the new freedom of art (it is really a thing of this century) has proven to be a mixed blessing. "Art" takes place nowadays mostly quite far away from the general public, is pushed by a small community of collectors and curators, and leaves 99% of the artists without a source of income, and without perspective. But this situation in the art market accounts for the relative disregard of photography. By the way, I disagree with the contention that Ansel Adam's work was revolutionary: he used common categories of aesthetics, and the notion of the beauty of the landscape is certainly older than photography. The ideas of the group f64 were surely avant garde, but I would not call them revolutionary. Adams excelled through his remarkable craftmanship (like other printers before and after him, witness Demachy and Evans) which again renders him, according to contemporary notions of "art", dangerously close to an artisan. Lukas Werth

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Posts
    76

    Who is this Ansel Adams guy anyway?

    Lets face it cindy sherman is not sucessful because she is a good photographer shes successful because her images are shocking and hip. Same thing with mapplethorp he did not get famous for his flower pictures. Where is cindy`s love for the medium for, light, or subject.She uses the camera as her whore to communicate her high socio-polical ideals.When I look at photographs I am either left confused,disgusted or both. Wheres her passion? Her work gives off the stench of contrived boredom. I look at Edward Weston`s prints and sends shivers down my spine. That was a man with love for subject and craft. To include cindy sherman and exclude E.Weston and others is an atrocity I cannot forgive. If both were included it would be different. On to Ansel Adams some of his work is amazing (fozen lake, moonrise hernandez etc) some of his other stuff I don`t care for I would consinder him revolutionary not based solely on his photographs but on his contribution to photography. He revolutionized the way it was taught and to a small extent the way it was percieved as an art form. One other question, I read Ansel Adams autobio and he talked about the days when he and Beumont Newhall were in new york rallying photography. Apparently Newhall lost his job as the photo dept director at moma and stiechen took over. Adams did not like steichen and talked about the family of man as being a lousy representation of photography. Does any else think steichen could have negative influence? I also read his auto and he had alot big talk but not alot images or ideas to back it up.Josh

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 1998
    Posts
    1,973

    Who is this Ansel Adams guy anyway?

    Gee Josh, I forgot what is like to be young and snotty. What a refreshing burst of passion. How to address your points? As an antidote to the sugar coated version of the Ansel Adams story read Mary Street Alinder's posthumous biography. A far better (i.e. more honest) tale. Yes Art should rank up withthe other fixed visual media but it is stuck somewhere between painting and cinema. Perhaps the advent of digital photography will awaken more curators and liberate more photographers to the power of a still image made with technologies basically refined by 1960 (arbitrary date, BTW). in the end the thing that makes photography or any art viable is the vision of a particular artist. I too find Cindy Sherman's work barely decipherable but deeply felt work. And I don't find it shocking at all, but somewhat enigmatic and mysterious: "Just what is going on in her photos? Just what am I seeing?" I find myself asking myself. If you judge her work purely by a set of aestheitc criteria the artist doesn't subscribe to then I think you miss the point. And her photographs are extremely well crafted by the way. I think you just don't like the way they look. Robert Mapplethorpe is a weird case because as good and strong and clasicly crafted as his vision is-- (the only thing revolutionary or shocking about RM's work (for me, IMO) is his straightforward unflinching gaze at sexualities and then death, every other photographic quality of his work is the sort of craft that a good commercial studio turns out on a daily basis)--it is mixed up with the marketing of his work (I can see queens all over Manhattan saying to each other, "Ewww isn't that shocking! let's buy it!" And the dealers telling the more reluctant consumers "He is a veryhot artist right now, the value of the piece is sure to continue to rise dramatically.") and the Jesse Helms controversy.

    So are there young artists out there as powerful as Adams and yes Steichen and before him, Stieglitz. In the political sense maybe only Annie Leibovitz and Herb Ritts, but only in the sense that they influence other artists and art directors and their styles dominate American/Euro pop culture. But they aren't putting down their cameras to preach, which is what Adams, et.al. did. Are there photographic artists doing passionate and significant work? Absolutely: Nicholas Nixon, Eugene Richards, Keith Carter, Jack Dykinga, John Sexton, Sebastian Salgado, April Rapier, Nan Goldin, Sally Mann, and Jodi Cobb just to name a few.

    My point is to start to change the art's world view of photography you have to be in that world rather than railing about it from the outside. And if you are not going to become a curator, then do your work and get out there as much as possible. Apeing artists of the past. Build on their vision, your own vision.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Mar 1998
    Posts
    1,973

    Who is this Ansel Adams guy anyway?

    Errata: this phrase "Yes Art should rank up withthe other fixed visual media" should read "Yes photography should rank up with the other fixed visual media." Sorry for the confusion.

  8. #8

    Who is this Ansel Adams guy anyway?

    Sorry to pervert your forum Tuan but CINDY SHERMAN SUCKS! The only reason why she's as 'renowned' as she doesn't deserve to be is because there are few 'art' photographers who are women. She is indicative of of an art establishment willing to suspend its critical criteria just to genuflect to political hipness and correctness. What is Cindy Sherman trying to say that cannot and has not been more eloquently said. I find her 'works' facile and shallow. Josh makes an apt description of the camera in her hands: it is her whore. Those who are bold enough to call Sherman's bluff will find that she has been mocking those who have taken her seriously all this while. And perhaps therein lies the greatest value of her 'works'. Boy, don't even get me started on Nan Goldin.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Mar 1998
    Posts
    1,973

    Who is this Ansel Adams guy anyway?

    Rene, while you are certainly entitled to your opinion about certain photographers, you are very wrongwhen you say "there are few 'art' photographers who are women. She is indicative of of an art establishment willing to suspend its critical criteria just to genuflect to political hipness and correctness." Most of the truly interesting work being done in photography these days, in art photography and in documentary photography, is being produced by women. there is a lot of bad art being produced by women as well.

    You are the one suffering from politically correct myopia because these peoples vision of the world doesn't coincide with your own political dogma of what is acceptable as "fine art". Six more examples of terrific female photographic artists with strong vision working today: Mary Ellen Mark, Debbie Fleming Caffery, Maggie Steber, Sissie Brimburg, Diane Walker, Sally Gall.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Posts
    76

    Who is this Ansel Adams guy anyway?

    In my second post I did not mean to imply that Mapplethorp was a bad photographer. (I throughly enjoy the flower photographs) The point was he did not get famous for his flowers photos he got famous for the homo erotic stuff. Which only represents a small portion of Mapplethorp`s work but unfortunetly it all most people know. There must be balance if work by sherman is to be shown then work by other photographers should be included. It is very depressing to go to a book store look under photography see cindy sherman,Mapplethorp, goldin, ritts ,and then some books wtih a bunch of pictures of celebrities. These are all important parts of the whole but they only represent a small portion of photography. Unfortunetly I have never even heard of alot of the photographers Ellis mentioned becuase I cannot find their work. Suprisingly the net has been the only place I can find contemporary photography. Oh and Yes Ellis is very right about the auto by Adams it is incredibly sugar coated but did have interesting anicdotes.Josh

Similar Threads

  1. Ansel Adams Fakes
    By Jim_5508 in forum Announcements
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: 29-May-2005, 21:16
  2. ansel adams
    By james norman in forum On Photography
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 23-Dec-2004, 22:38
  3. Ansel Adams at 100
    By Michael Pry in forum Announcements
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 6-May-2002, 05:26
  4. "Ansel Adams at 100" exhibit in SF
    By Kevin M Bourque in forum On Photography
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 3-Dec-2001, 23:09
  5. Ansel Adams
    By dan nguyen in forum On Photography
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 27-Aug-2000, 03:59

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •