I guess I fall into I photograph for myself. I do shows. My last one was in Palo Alto, Calif and six prints went away. They weren't sold. I gave them to family who love the prints!. It made me feel happy.
I volunteer my camera and photographic skills to several organizations. All non profits. They love me for this and that makes me feel good.
I guess that rocks my boat.
I had an experience the other day that blew my mind. I think it really does speak to the commodification of images. I had someone approach me about my work that I had on display at a large art show here in DC. He said he really loved my work. We talked about it a little, he asked me about the price, I told him and he said it sounded in line with the work I was selling. Then came the jaw dropper when I asked him which piece (or pieces) he was interested in: "I'll have to shop the comparables". If that was a round-about backhanded way of saying the price is too high, just say, "I think your prices are high" or "I'm sorry but that's out of my budget". Or if it's a polite way of saying "I don't really like your work that much" then don't even engage me in conversation and don't waste both of our time. WTF is a "comparable" on original artwork? It's not like shopping for strawberries, or cars. I refrained from uttering what was really the appropriate response to that "comparables" remark - "go fuck yourself" - instead I just let it go.
My photo blog-
I guess people are being distracted into the question of what constitutes "fine art" photography vs other types of photography. My original point wasn't limited to fine art photography but was intended to apply to all forms of what is called fine art -- I used the example of painting and sculpture too. I just mentioned photography because this is a photographer's forum. It seems to me, in short, that we have two trends: "Low art" which tends to be banal, mass produced and mass consumed, mostly serving no function and having no meaning except as decor, which is easily substituted. Then there's "high art" of the sort you like stuffed sharks and such, which again has no real meaning but is judged successful to the extent it is prone to being hyped and celebrity-associated, regardless of content or merit (indeed, we no longer judge artistic merit anyway.) Like I said, the Expressionists are famous because they said something, specifically they rebelled against the pre-existing academic salon art, but today it seems that since everything can be judged to be "art" then there's nothing to rebel against and so it is all vacuous..
The exception is what is called political art, something that has been long marginalized because it isn't profitable especially for the exclusivist art world that caters to the rich who are part of the very establishment that political art seeks to challenge. Even Botero, an established and well-regarded painter whose work was widely shown, heard crickets when he came out with his torture series. I don't mean to sound too negative and I think there are some exceptions to this, of course -- for me there's Banksy who has taken a low-art medium of graffiti and done some really challenging and subversive stuff with it & gained a degree to mainstream "high art" respectability.
I thought my museum was safe, but I got innovated.
The police came and I filed a report.
Next day I read about it in the Arts section.
Apologies, just having fun... ;^)
I went to the museum and got innovated.
The police arrived and took me away.
Next day bail was met and I went home.
Jay, I don't really agree with your use of terms, because of the way people I was complaining about use them. And it was me who brought up the topic of innovation (as they seem to use it) and asked whether it was necessary. The boundary between creativity and innovation is much closer to creativity for you, and much closer to innovation for me. But with your definition, we don't disagree much.
We will certainly agree that creativity is required for all art forms--that's what makes it go beyond mere skill. Those are the choices made by the artist about how they will apply that skill. If you want to call that innovation, then fine. But it means I need to use a new word to describe the apparent primary objective by some young wannabes to do what has never been done before.
I never said, by the way, that amateur musicians are not creative. Quite the opposite! I did, however, say that they were not often interested in innovation or doing what has never been done before--most would be tickled pink to do what has been done by someone more masterful than they. The creative part is that they, in real time, assemble a musical concept that is coherent and meaningful, starting with just black spots on a piece of paper and a few instructions. Following those instructions is a matter of technique, but giving a musical phrase meaning and direction is something else. If it was innovative, they'd have to do that in a way nobody has done it before--on purpose. That's my stricter definition, but that's how I think those college art school students are using it.
Back to the original post. When I make a photograph, I choose where to place the camera, where to aim it, what lens and format to use, when to push the button, how long to keep open the shutter, what to put in focus and what to throw out of focus, and a host of other more minor decisions. All those choices require some creative execution and expression on my part, even if some are intertwined with technique. If that expressiveness survives my technique and evokes something in the viewer, it succeeds as art, perhaps. And there is an infinitude of choices that might be made. Maybe that's harder to do with pictures of rocks and trees. But I'm still moved by many photos of rocks and trees, so I'm not sure they've been used up quite yet, any more than we are completely done with Brahms.
Rick "not caring too much about semantics" Denney
That's why I referenced Coral Castle. It's one of those things that you look at and think to yourself, "wow!" That's a master work.
There is art work, which results in the production of an object, and then there is art. Art, as in "art of war," "art of the dance," "art of polemics," etc., is something that is produced by an ongoing action, and is independent of the formation of a physical object. When the musician ceases to play or the dancer no longer dances, then the art stops. It stops to exist. The "master Morse-code operator" was practicing the art of copying (and I'm sure at times sending) Morse code. (I used to hold an amateur radio operator's license, so I do understand the skill.) Just because the operator didn't produce something pretty doesn't mean that he wasn't practicing an art.Originally Posted by rdenney
"It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans
On the finer distinction of creativity and innovation -- According to some theorists, creativity ranges over a spectrum with interpretation at one end, and innovation at the other. The non-innovating musicians you describe sit squarely at the interpretation end of the spectrum, following the telegraph operator you described previously, who doesn't meet the creative criteria required to be included in the spectrum. I realize you didn't say explicitly that these musicians are not creative -- I meant that they are not creative relative to innovators, according to your description of them.
It's clear you have a strong reaction to people who claim to be innovators, or who confess to wanting to innovate, and in reading your posts in this thread I suspect that follows from your participation in and/or appreciation for orchestral music. I think this is self consciousness, and possibly a measure of inferiority complex. As a musician who undoubtedly has much respect for other musicians, it's understandable that you might get defensive when someone like me claims musical interpreters are lesser artists than musical innovators, even though you claim these musicians have no desire to innovate, and therefore cannot be called failures, and shouldn't be offended by the claim. It can't be denied that innovation is value added to interpretation. Jazz musicians are distinguished by their ability to slide interpretation towards innovation, and many, if not most great composers were also virtuoso musicians.
I think the word you're looking for to describe something never done before, is novelty. That word has several connotations that reflect the fact that being merely new, is not in itself a guarantor of quality.