Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 51

Thread: Master or journeyman

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,550

    Master or journeyman

    In mediaval times, the trades were controlled by guilds, which classified tradesmen as either apprentices, journeymen or masters. To gain admission to the guild as a master, tradesmen had to submit a piece of work -- a "masterpiece" -- which showed that they had achieved the level of formal, technical skill and knowledge to be considered a master. These were usually standarized items too. For example to be admitted to the guild of woodworkers, candidates were perhaps all expected to design and build fancy and creative tool cabinets.

    I know that a comparison of tradesmen with artists may be imprecise, but I often wonder how this would apply to artists in general and photographers in particular. Unfortunately I am not sufficiently familiar with the development of the works of famous photographers over the course of their careers to be able to determine when they were judged to have crossed that line between journeymen and masters, but I suspect for example that in the case of Mapplethorpe, his flowers were his masterpiece even though he is better known for his erotic photography.

    If anyone can provide some insights on the works of other famous photographers, which are considered to mark that time in their career when they were deemed to have become masters rather than journeymen, I would appreciate it. Or, how about yourself and your own work?

  2. #2

    Re: Master or journeyman

    And what would you do when you get to fields like portraiture, journalism, forensic, biological, wedding, architecture, legal medical, catalog, stage, aerial, mapping, etc?

    Not every professional was in the same area of photography.

    Karsh was every bit as much of a Master as Adams, but their work is very much different, as was Eisenstat's or Bourke-White vs Ulesmann.

    When you include "standarized" into an art form it doesn't work.

    A cabinet maker is a craftsman and if he is really good he could be an artist at his craft but can he build a house? Or want to? or want to be tested on how well he builds bookcases when he wants to build desks?

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,550

    Re: Master or journeyman

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon - HP Marketing View Post
    Karsh was every bit as much of a Master as Adams, but their work is very much different, as was Eisenstat's or Bourke-White vs Ulesmann.
    Very true but nevertheless, at some point in each of their specific careers, there came a time that they cross the line, as photographers producing photographs, from journeymen to masters. It would be interesting to be able to identify that time for each. I do realize that the analogy between a craftsman and an artist is weak. I'm not trying to compare Eisenstat to Ansel, but early Eisenstat the journeyman to later Eistenstate the master. When and how did that happen

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    South Texas
    Posts
    820

    Re: Master or journeyman

    I really don't think many "cross a line". It's more like climbing a mountain and then working hard to avoid being shove off. For the very lucky and talented that climb takes less time and effort than others.

  5. #5
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Everett, WA
    Posts
    2,961

    Re: Master or journeyman

    The marker is when a person derives full-time income from photographic production.

    What dramatically separates Stephen Shore from any of us?
    What dramatically separates William Eggleston from any of us?
    What dramatically separates Alec Soth from any of us?

    It isn't obvious mastery of the art form. Adams' photographs demonstrated freakin' mastery. Ulesmann's photographs demonstrated mastery. Just from looking at the pictures, would you immediately and definitively proclaim that Shore, Eggleston, or Soth are masters of photography?

    Since you can't tell by looking at the photograph, the only thing to go on is income.
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Seattle, Washington
    Posts
    3,022

    Re: Master or journeyman

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian C. Miller View Post
    The marker is when a person derives full-time income from photographic production.

    What dramatically separates Stephen Shore from any of us?
    What dramatically separates William Eggleston from any of us?
    What dramatically separates Alec Soth from any of us?

    It isn't obvious mastery of the art form. Adams' photographs demonstrated freakin' mastery. Ulesmann's photographs demonstrated mastery. Just from looking at the pictures, would you immediately and definitively proclaim that Shore, Eggleston, or Soth are masters of photography?

    Since you can't tell by looking at the photograph, the only thing to go on is income.
    Because income is the most obvious (to some) difference should in no way imply it's the definitive one. Your premise relies on your inability to see more substantial differences, but that hardly makes for a strong argument.

    It should be noted that there were artist's guilds in addition to craftsmen's guilds, so the comparison is valid. The workshops of Campin and van Eyck more closely resembled those of tradesmen mass producing goods than the romantic ideal of a lone artist in his studio, obsessing over a single great work in a shaft of golden window light. The tradition of apprenticing, or assisting, as it's known today, is very much alive and well. A photographer assisting a more established one doesn't need the certification of his "master" to be admitted to a guild, but good references never hurt a budding photographer, and might indeed open doors leading to the establishment of an independent career. This model obviously doesn't apply to all, or even most photographers, but it does maintain the link to the old artist's workshop/ guild system.

  7. #7

    Re: Master or journeyman

    "Because income is the most obvious (to some) difference should in no way imply it's the definitive one. "

    Income is directly related to marketing and PR skils of the photographer. Witness Peter Lik. Seems like very few admire his work here but who here would not like to have his income?

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Humboldt County, CA
    Posts
    5,302

    Re: Master or journeyman

    Quote Originally Posted by cyrus View Post
    If anyone can provide some insights on the works of other famous photographers, which are considered to mark that time in their career when they were deemed to have become masters rather than journeymen, I would appreciate it. Or, how about yourself and your own work?
    Instead of a single piece being one's "masterpiece", I would think that a body of work shown in a known gallery would be the mark of becoming a "master". In AA's case, showing at 291 would be his "masters work". Plenty of exceptions, of course.

    A killer website, lots of comments on Flicker or self-published books are not.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    South Texas
    Posts
    820

    Re: Master or journeyman

    First of all, had I a name like "Peter Lik" that's the first thing I'd change!!

    Secondly, that guy has made many images that are probably better than I ever made.

  10. #10
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Everett, WA
    Posts
    2,961

    Re: Master or journeyman

    With the Dada "movement," all artistic standards went out the window. Straight out. Some standards hit the sidewalk. Some hit the trash bin. Some standards are begging in the street.

    Is Andreas Gursky a master photographer? Yes or no? According to the standards, the only measure is money. He is a master photographer because a print sold for $4.3 million dollars.
    Is Peter Lik a master photographer? Yes or no?

    There are guilds that still exist. One of them is the Piano Tuners Guild. If you ever have time, go and attend one of their meetings. These people care about quality like nothing else. Craftsmanship and excellence are everything. Tuning and maintaining a piano requires skill and craftsmanship. These people care, and will help each other out like I've never seen before. Quality is more than "job one," it's more like a way of being.

    So what to do when there is no definition of quality? Art has no standards. None. Constructing a real chair has standards. Constructing a real instrument has standards. Constructing a skyscraper has standards. But art?

    Why should Lik, Gursky, Shore, Eggleston, or Soth, be considered master photographers? What is the absolute measure of their mastery? How do you precisely differentiate between a novice Shore and a mature Shore? Was Duchamp a master artist?

    With no standards, what does mastery mean?

    It's not like the (shrinking) physical standard for the meter in Paris. Want to know how long a meter is? Go and measure the meter rod.

    But what to do for art?
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

Similar Threads

  1. Kardan Master GTL, Cambo Master, Horseman LX which one..?
    By redu in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 3-Jul-2011, 08:41
  2. Cambo Master PC
    By Cindy_4701 in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 11-Dec-2010, 10:57
  3. Help with my master thesis
    By MaryChiara in forum Business
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 7-Jul-2010, 07:05

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
  •