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Thread: Language of Images, of Art, of human expression.

  1. #21
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Language of Images, of Art, of human expression.

    Humanity evolves. Within humanity, individuals evolve. For example, 70 years ago I enjoyed Huckleberry Finn and Treasure Island as great adventures. Now I can appreciate them as fine examples of the craft of storytelling, and in the case of Huckleberry Finn, a biting and enduring commentary on human character. We had no music education in school. However, shortly after WWII electricity and a hand-me-down radio came to my farm. In those days there was little profound music competing with popular ballads and country tunes, but it was enough to pique a na´ve kid's interest. While the available broadcasts satisfied the innate interest in music that most people had, the Bell Telephone Hour, the Firestone Hour, and the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts teased a few with a hint of something far richer. Photography offers an even greater dichotomy between family snapshots or Facebook selfies and the monumental portraits of Karsh. Pictures of friends, however poor technically, provide the comfort of the familiar. True art invites us into another World; perhaps intimidating, but infinite in its possibilities.

  2. #22
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    Re: Language of Images, of Art, of human expression.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lewin View Post
    Yes, we find Mr. Lik's work to be kitsch ...
    ??

    sorry to ask this but ..

    how is his work any different than anyone on this forum who has taken the same exact photograph
    ( whether it was in color, black and white or some exotic process ) ... besides he is well known
    and might have people who pay lots of $$ for the images he makes ..

  3. #23

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    Re: Language of Images, of Art, of human expression.

    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    ??

    sorry to ask this but ..

    how is his work any different than anyone on this forum who has taken the same exact photograph
    ( whether it was in color, black and white or some exotic process ) ... besides he is well known
    and might have people who pay lots of $$ for the images he makes ..
    John: From Wikipedia: "Kitsch (/ˈkɪtʃ/; loanword from German) is a low-brow style of mass-produced art or design using popular or cultural icons. Kitsch generally includes unsubstantial or gaudy works or decoration, or works that are calculated to have popular appeal."

    Mr. Lik's work, mass-produced and certainly calculated to have popular appeal, seems to fit that description. I would argue that precisely because so many people have made exactly the same image of Antelope Canyon, we could say that it is "using a popular or cultural icon," and at least in my opinion, the work is "gaudy" (over saturated Photoshop colors). The most debatable part of the definition would be "low-brow," and the general thrust of most of the posts in the various "Lik threads" is that the images are not original, "merely" pretty. So "kitsch" seemed to me an appropriate descriptor.

    I think the huge difference from the work on this forum is that when someone here posts a photograph of Antelope Canyon, or any of the Southwestern slot canyons, they aren't presenting it as high art, because they are usually aware of the hundreds (?) of similar images. They are posting it because they enjoyed the experience of making the image, and are pleased with the result. They are not mass-producing copies in various sizes and claiming them to be investment-grade art.

    Incidentally, I am hoping to see the new movie "Big Eyes" when it is released, because it is about the woman who painted those portraits of children with huge eyes which were popular in the 1960s, and are now considered stereotypical "kitsch." The reviews say that the film explores the relationship between commerce and art, precisely what the Lik threads are dealing with.

  4. #24

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    Re: Language of Images, of Art, of human expression.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lewin View Post
    John: From Wikipedia: "Kitsch (/ˈkɪtʃ/; loanword from German) is a low-brow style of mass-produced art or design using popular or cultural icons. Kitsch generally includes unsubstantial or gaudy works or decoration, or works that are calculated to have popular appeal."

    Mr. Lik's work, mass-produced and certainly calculated to have popular appeal, seems to fit that description. I would argue that precisely because so many people have made exactly the same image of Antelope Canyon, we could say that it is "using a popular or cultural icon," and at least in my opinion, the work is "gaudy" (over saturated Photoshop colors). The most debatable part of the definition would be "low-brow," and the general thrust of most of the posts in the various "Lik threads" is that the images are not original, "merely" pretty. So "kitsch" seemed to me an appropriate descriptor.

    I think the huge difference from the work on this forum is that when someone here posts a photograph of Antelope Canyon, or any of the Southwestern slot canyons, they aren't presenting it as high art, because they are usually aware of the hundreds (?) of similar images. They are posting it because they enjoyed the experience of making the image, and are pleased with the result. They are not mass-producing copies in various sizes and claiming them to be investment-grade art.

    Incidentally, I am hoping to see the new movie "Big Eyes" when it is released, because it is about the woman who painted those portraits of children with huge eyes which were popular in the 1960s, and are now considered stereotypical "kitsch." The reviews say that the film explores the relationship between commerce and art, precisely what the Lik threads are dealing with.
    Exactly when does an icon become kitsch? Many fine photographs would have to have crossed over at one time or another. Would it be when they are mass produced for market?
    Would Fine Art prints of, say Renoir or Degas there for be considered kitsch since they, like Kincaid's work, have been reproduced in considerable numbers?
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  5. #25

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    Re: Language of Images, of Art, of human expression.

    I guess that makes the whole of Renaissance art, which was almost invariably made on contract to fill empty spaces, be appropriately ostentatious, have popular appeal, and was done mostly by high-production workshops under the guidance of a master who rarely touched "his" work, "kitsch". Kinkade and Lik appear to be working in an honorable artistic tradition, then!
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  6. #26
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    Re: Language of Images, of Art, of human expression.

    I wanted to understand this thread. I really did. There were just too many words, though and I can't invest that kind of reading time. So... I've decided to buy a much shorter thread that had a really pretty sunset.

  7. #27

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    Re: Language of Images, of Art, of human expression.

    I really have to remember to send this thread to my daughter who is working on her Master's in Art Education. We have succeeded in equating the 1960's Big Eyed Waifs (since they meet the definition of kitsch) to all of Renaissance Art, and even to Renoir and Degas. I need to find out what her grad school art teachers feel about that proposition .

  8. #28

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    Re: Language of Images, of Art, of human expression.

    Remember: I didn't say the Renaissance was kitsch. I said it fit your definition. If she's bright, she'll tell you.to stop using Wikipedia. :-)
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  9. #29
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    Re: Language of Images, of Art, of human expression.

    I think Wikipedia's definition (as quoted, anyway) omits a crucial aspect of kitsch. The nature of kitsch's appeal (such as it is) is its cheap sentimentality. Thomas Kincaide, perfect example. Lik, I think not. His appeal is based on the cheap (aesthetically) spectacle of huge prints in gaudily over saturated colors, but I wouldn't call it sentimental. Bright colors are like loud sounds -- hard to ignore, and triggering a visceral reaction. Some find this thrilling, while others find it nauseating. it is of course a very old truism that there's no disputing taste. But artists don't merely reflect and respond to taste, they create and influence it.

  10. #30
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    Re: Language of Images, of Art, of human expression.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lewin View Post
    John: From Wikipedia: "Kitsch (/ˈkɪtʃ/; loanword from German) is a low-brow style of mass-produced art or design using popular or cultural icons. Kitsch generally includes unsubstantial or gaudy works or decoration, or works that are calculated to have popular appeal."

    Mr. Lik's work, mass-produced and certainly calculated to have popular appeal, seems to fit that description. I would argue that precisely because so many people have made exactly the same image of Antelope Canyon, we could say that it is "using a popular or cultural icon," and at least in my opinion, the work is "gaudy" (over saturated Photoshop colors). The most debatable part of the definition would be "low-brow," and the general thrust of most of the posts in the various "Lik threads" is that the images are not original, "merely" pretty. So "kitsch" seemed to me an appropriate descriptor.

    I think the huge difference from the work on this forum is that when someone here posts a photograph of Antelope Canyon, or any of the Southwestern slot canyons, they aren't presenting it as high art, because they are usually aware of the hundreds (?) of similar images. They are posting it because they enjoyed the experience of making the image, and are pleased with the result. They are not mass-producing copies in various sizes and claiming them to be investment-grade art.

    Incidentally, I am hoping to see the new movie "Big Eyes" when it is released, because it is about the woman who painted those portraits of children with huge eyes which were popular in the 1960s, and are now considered stereotypical "kitsch." The reviews say that the film explores the relationship between commerce and art, precisely what the Lik threads are dealing with.
    hi peter

    i know what the definition of kitch is ... i was going for the iconic-image sentimentality part of the definition.

    i still see no difference ... other than the fact that people seem to have sour grapes about mr lik thinking their work is so much better and has
    much more of an impact and they didn't sell out ...

    i know i am generalizing and there are plenty of people who are happy just making photographs for themselves and their work
    is beautiful ... but just the same ...
    if mr lik's work is considered kitch than pretty much everyone else who is photographing similar subjects should be considered kitch as well
    .. ( whether they are selling for hundreds of thousands / millions of dollars,
    or mass quantities as posters or "high end" ink jet prints or hand made prints out of their home / studio )

    ( again, i mean no disrespect to people who work i have described )

    i couldn't agree with john kasaian more ...
    Last edited by Ralph Barker; 26-Dec-2014 at 09:32. Reason: as requested by poster
    enjoy your coffee

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