When does Photography become Art?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by John Ortt, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. John Ortt

    John Ortt Guest

    I have been following the In-Camera or Post-Camera thread for some time now
    and the main bone of contention seems to be the level of alteration the
    original photograph undergoes.

    At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?

    Ever since the dawn of photography people have dramatically altered their
    photographs by applying special effects in the dark-room (even splicing or
    overlaying two photographs).

    It always strikes me that these adjustments were seen as far more acceptable
    to the community than the current techniques using computer software.

    Is that because it is too easy these daysand hence too prolific? Is it
    because it is too effective and people can often pass off a digitally
    manipulated work as an original?

    At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?

    What do you all think?

    Thanks for your time,

    John

    (P.S. I can't crosspost to alt.photography or.slr-systems so if someone
    else wants to do so for me on their reply that would be fine as it might get
    a better debate going.)
    John Ortt, Jun 8, 2007
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. John Ortt

    Pet Parker Guest

    "John Ortt" <> wrote in message
    news:46692d58$...
    >I have been following the In-Camera or Post-Camera thread for some time now
    >and the main bone of contention seems to be the level of alteration the
    >original photograph undergoes.
    >
    > At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?
    >
    > Ever since the dawn of photography people have dramatically altered their
    > photographs by applying special effects in the dark-room (even splicing or
    > overlaying two photographs).
    >
    > It always strikes me that these adjustments were seen as far more
    > acceptable to the community than the current techniques using computer
    > software.
    >
    > Is that because it is too easy these daysand hence too prolific? Is it
    > because it is too effective and people can often pass off a digitally
    > manipulated work as an original?
    >
    > At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?
    >
    > What do you all think?
    >
    > Thanks for your time,
    >
    > John
    >
    > (P.S. I can't crosspost to alt.photography or.slr-systems so if someone
    > else wants to do so for me on their reply that would be fine as it might
    > get a better debate going.)
    >
    >
    >


    http://library.thinkquest.org/C0117285/

    when its a book
    Pet Parker, Jun 8, 2007
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. John wrote on Fri, 8 Jun 2007 11:34:47 +0100:

    JO> At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?

    JO> Ever since the dawn of photography people have dramatically
    JO> altered their photographs by applying special effects in
    JO> the dark-room (even splicing or overlaying two
    JO> photographs).

    JO> It always strikes me that these adjustments were seen as
    JO> far more acceptable to the community than the current
    JO> techniques using computer software.

    JO> Is that because it is too easy these daysand hence too
    JO> prolific? Is it because it is too effective and people can
    JO> often pass off a digitally manipulated work as an original?

    JO> At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?

    JO> What do you all think?

    JO> Thanks for your time,

    I used to to enjoy the level of artistic selection and printing
    in exhibitions by professional photographers and I still do but
    often a spectacular color picture causes the thought
    "Photoshop!" I'm not sure that I consider a much modified or
    combined picture to be *photographic* art and, if I said
    "Photoshop" aloud at a show I'd probably get thrown out!

    James Silverton
    Potomac, Maryland

    E-mail, with obvious alterations:
    not.jim.silverton.at.verizon.not
    James Silverton, Jun 8, 2007
    #3
  4. Strictly speaking, photography doesn't "become art" at all.

    Photography is a means of recording an image. Recording something by
    pressing a button is not art, no matter how appealing the image may be. Many
    people confuse beauty with art, but one does not necessarily have anything
    to do with the other. For example a sunset may be gorgeous but it isn't art,
    and recording it isn't art either.

    If the image is altered in some way by human intervention it may then be
    art, but the art is in the alteration and not in the photographic process
    itself. Simply making choices about viewpoint, focal length, exposure,
    filtration etc. may all have to do with one's expertise as a photographer
    but they do not make the photograph "art" either.

    At what point does alteration of an image become "art"? It's impossible to
    draw a line that everyone will agree with. I remember seeing the efforts of
    a photographer who took ordinary, rather blah photographs, made deep
    scratches in the emulsion of the negatives and then printed them. An
    enthusiastic critic wrote admiringly about that photographer's "work" as
    though it conveyed some serious and important message. As far as I'm
    concerned it was sheer nonsense, but to a large degree "art" is in the eye
    of the beholder.

    Neil
    Neil Harrington, Jun 8, 2007
    #4
  5. John Ortt

    Mark Guest

    "Neil Harrington" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > Strictly speaking, photography doesn't "become art" at all.
    >
    > Photography is a means of recording an image. Recording something by
    > pressing a button is not art, no matter how appealing the image may be.
    > Many people confuse beauty with art, but one does not necessarily have
    > anything to do with the other. For example a sunset may be gorgeous but it
    > isn't art, and recording it isn't art either.
    >


    You seem intent on not recognizing the art of composition (viewpoint????).
    Yes, expertise with photography is an art. So is manipulation of a photo to
    create an even more unique work. Have you looked at some of the links
    provided by photographers in this newsgroup?? The "manipulation", if any,
    doesn't create the art--the photographs stand alone--all the manipulation in
    the world won't turn a blah photo to a work of art--the magic is in the
    composition and the knowledge of lighting, exposure, etc. As I said, look at
    many of the offerings in this newsgroup.


    >but to a large degree "art" is in the eye of the beholder.


    Art 'interpretation' is shared by the eye of the photographer.......

    Mark




    >
    > Neil
    >
    Mark, Jun 8, 2007
    #5
  6. In article <46692d58$>,
    John Ortt <> wrote:
    >At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?
    >
    >What do you all think?


    My thoughts are: why do you care?

    When a photograph is used to illustrate a piece of journalism or when it is
    used as evidence, it is important to know to what extent the photo has
    been altered, or what the photographer left out of the image.

    When it comes to art, it is IMHO important what the artist is trying to say
    and how he manages to affect the viewer.

    Of course it nice to be able to label works, but to its value as a work of
    art it should be irrelevant.


    --
    That was it. Done. The faulty Monk was turned out into the desert where it
    could believe what it liked, including the idea that it had been hard done
    by. It was allowed to keep its horse, since horses were so cheap to make.
    -- Douglas Adams in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
    Philip Homburg, Jun 8, 2007
    #6
  7. John Ortt

    Aaron Guest

    And lo, John Ortt <> emerged from
    the ether and spake thus:
    > I have been following the In-Camera or Post-Camera thread for some time now
    > and the main bone of contention seems to be the level of alteration the
    > original photograph undergoes.
    >
    > At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?
    >
    > Ever since the dawn of photography people have dramatically altered their
    > photographs by applying special effects in the dark-room (even splicing or
    > overlaying two photographs).
    >
    > It always strikes me that these adjustments were seen as far more acceptable
    > to the community than the current techniques using computer software.
    >
    > Is that because it is too easy these daysand hence too prolific? Is it
    > because it is too effective and people can often pass off a digitally
    > manipulated work as an original?
    >
    > At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?
    >
    > What do you all think?
    >
    > Thanks for your time,
    >
    > John
    >
    > (P.S. I can't crosspost to alt.photography or.slr-systems so if someone
    > else wants to do so for me on their reply that would be fine as it might get
    > a better debate going.)


    I am writing a very in-depth article about this right now, so I won't
    ruin the surprise, but I have some theories I will share.

    First of all, my belief is that the first question is purely semantic
    and serves no ultimate purpose but to keep a lot of people mad at one
    another. What is the precise goal of debating the meaning of the word
    "photograph?"

    That said, I also believe that photography can be fundamentally
    artistic, and anyone who says otherwise probably doesn't belong in
    this newsgroup. Photographs taken with editorial or documentary intent
    may not qualify, but the field of art dictates that art is conceived
    purely through intent. If you believe that something you have created
    is art, then that is so. Others may debate its *merit* on those
    grounds, but intent is all that is required to get the ball rolling.

    So the question then is whether some amount of modification to an
    image suddenly changes it from "photographic art" into something else,
    some other type of art, some free-form art, perhaps purely digital
    art. Philosophically, I am most curious about why this is happening
    now and didn't happen 20 years ago.

    What is it about dodging and burning, sandwiching slides together,
    using exotic chemicals, and so forth, that qualifies them as
    nondestructive to the integrity of a photograph? Why is it that
    Photoshop can strip away that integrity?

    It's these questions I will explore in my upcoming article, which I'll
    post on my singleservingphoto.com site and probably link from here
    because I think everyone in this group has something to offer to the
    discussion.

    --
    Aaron
    http://www.fisheyegallery.com
    http://www.singleservingphoto.com
    Aaron, Jun 8, 2007
    #7
  8. "Neil Harrington" <> wrote:
    >Strictly speaking, photography doesn't "become art" at all.


    It can't become art. It is art by definition, the
    instant it is created. (It isn't necessarily *good* art!)

    >Photography is a means of recording an image. Recording something by
    >pressing a button is not art, no matter how appealing the image may be. Many
    >people confuse beauty with art, but one does not necessarily have anything
    >to do with the other. For example a sunset may be gorgeous but it isn't art,


    All true.

    >and recording it isn't art either.


    There are in excess of 1 billion ways to record any
    given sunset, all different than the in excess of 1
    billion ways to record the next sunset. Choosing which
    way to record any given sunset necessarily makes the
    result an art, simply because the results are not
    predefined. Each "record" is different. The difficulty
    of doing exactly the same twice in a row demonstrates
    the fact.

    art n.
    1. The employment of means to accomplish some desired end;
    the adaptation of things in the natural world to the uses
    of life; the application of knowledge or power to
    practical purposes.

    2. A system of rules serving to facilitate the performance of
    certain actions; a system of principles and rules for
    attaining a desired end; method of doing well some special
    work; -- often contradistinguished from science or
    speculative principles; as, the art of building or
    engraving; the art of war; the art of navigation.

    3. The systematic application of knowledge or skill in
    effecting a desired result. Also, an occupation or
    business requiring such knowledge or skill.

    4. The application of skill to the production of the
    beautiful by imitation or design, or an occupation in
    which skill is so employed, as in painting and sculpture;
    one of the fine arts; as, he prefers art to literature.

    Take your pick, they all apply! Obviously 4 is the most
    suitable to this discussion.

    >If the image is altered in some way by human intervention it may then be
    >art, but the art is in the alteration and not in the photographic process


    Except that the "image" is *necessarily* altered by
    human intervention by the very nature of how it is
    produced. That camera may be a black box to you or to
    others, but some human sat down and made decisions that
    were *not* arbitrary (and not science either) in
    deciding *exactly* how the camera would process image
    data. Indeed, which sensor is used was not an arbitrary
    decision either! Those decisions are all based on how
    the final product is expected to look, and what appeal
    it will have to others. That is art.

    There has been considerable artistic knowledge and skill
    applied to everything that happens when a photographer
    releases the shutter, even when the photographer is the
    least skilled/artistic.

    >itself. Simply making choices about viewpoint, focal length, exposure,
    >filtration etc. may all have to do with one's expertise as a photographer
    >but they do not make the photograph "art" either.


    Those are indeed the basics of the art in a photograph.
    Any one of them can make or break the artistic appeal
    produced by the final result.

    Not one of them is an automatic decision, a guaranteed
    known, or in any way invariant between different
    photographers.

    >At what point does alteration of an image become "art"? It's impossible to
    >draw a line that everyone will agree with. I remember seeing the efforts of
    >a photographer who took ordinary, rather blah photographs, made deep
    >scratches in the emulsion of the negatives and then printed them. An
    >enthusiastic critic wrote admiringly about that photographer's "work" as
    >though it conveyed some serious and important message. As far as I'm
    >concerned it was sheer nonsense, but to a large degree "art" is in the eye
    >of the beholder.


    Your last sentence is exactly correct!

    --
    Floyd L. Davidson http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson
    Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
    Floyd Davidson, Jun 8, 2007
    #8
  9. Ï "Aaron" <> Ýãñáøå óôï ìÞíõìá
    news:...
    > And lo, John Ortt <> emerged

    from
    > the ether and spake thus:
    > > I have been following the In-Camera or Post-Camera thread for some time

    now
    > > and the main bone of contention seems to be the level of alteration the
    > > original photograph undergoes.
    > >
    > > At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?
    > >
    > > Ever since the dawn of photography people have dramatically altered

    their
    > > photographs by applying special effects in the dark-room (even splicing

    or
    > > overlaying two photographs).
    > >
    > > It always strikes me that these adjustments were seen as far more

    acceptable
    > > to the community than the current techniques using computer software.
    > >
    > > Is that because it is too easy these daysand hence too prolific? Is it
    > > because it is too effective and people can often pass off a digitally
    > > manipulated work as an original?
    > >
    > > At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?
    > >
    > > What do you all think?
    > >
    > > Thanks for your time,
    > >
    > > John
    > >
    > > (P.S. I can't crosspost to alt.photography or.slr-systems so if someone
    > > else wants to do so for me on their reply that would be fine as it might

    get
    > > a better debate going.)

    >
    > I am writing a very in-depth article about this right now, so I won't
    > ruin the surprise, but I have some theories I will share.
    >
    > First of all, my belief is that the first question is purely semantic
    > and serves no ultimate purpose but to keep a lot of people mad at one
    > another. What is the precise goal of debating the meaning of the word
    > "photograph?"
    >

    Photograph comes from the greek words "Phos"(light)and grapho(sketch,write,
    paint).So photograph means Painting with light or maybe just record with
    light.Yes, it's an art, because I have chosen one of hundreds of possible
    cameras,thousands of possible scenes, millions of possible points of view,
    billions of different perspectives and maybe took my camera with me the very
    day, and it happened we went to the country where some very pretty orchideas
    were blooming and a handsome chestnut horse was there, too.
    www.esnips.com/web/dimtzortzsPhotos


    > That said, I also believe that photography can be fundamentally
    > artistic, and anyone who says otherwise probably doesn't belong in
    > this newsgroup. Photographs taken with editorial or documentary intent
    > may not qualify, but the field of art dictates that art is conceived
    > purely through intent. If you believe that something you have created
    > is art, then that is so. Others may debate its *merit* on those
    > grounds, but intent is all that is required to get the ball rolling.
    >
    > So the question then is whether some amount of modification to an
    > image suddenly changes it from "photographic art" into something else,
    > some other type of art, some free-form art, perhaps purely digital
    > art. Philosophically, I am most curious about why this is happening
    > now and didn't happen 20 years ago.
    >
    > What is it about dodging and burning, sandwiching slides together,
    > using exotic chemicals, and so forth, that qualifies them as
    > nondestructive to the integrity of a photograph? Why is it that
    > Photoshop can strip away that integrity?
    >
    > It's these questions I will explore in my upcoming article, which I'll
    > post on my singleservingphoto.com site and probably link from here
    > because I think everyone in this group has something to offer to the
    > discussion.
    >
    > --


    --
    Tzortzakakis Dimitrios
    major in electrical engineering
    mechanized infantry reservist
    dimtzort AT otenet DOT gr
    Tzortzakakis Dimitrios, Jun 8, 2007
    #9
  10. Aaron <> wrote:
    >First of all, my belief is that the first question is purely semantic
    >and serves no ultimate purpose but to keep a lot of people mad at one
    >another. What is the precise goal of debating the meaning of the word
    >"photograph?"


    It's just jockeying for position. Same with "debating"
    the definition of "art". (And worse yet, most of those
    trying to gain position are not actually "debating",
    they are trying to *redefine* those terms!)

    >That said, I also believe that photography can be fundamentally
    >artistic, and anyone who says otherwise probably doesn't belong in


    I don't think "can be" is correct. It *necessarily* must be.

    >this newsgroup. Photographs taken with editorial or documentary intent
    >may not qualify, but the field of art dictates that art is conceived


    Editorial/documentary photography is not art???

    Boooooo. ;-)

    >purely through intent. If you believe that something you have created
    >is art, then that is so. Others may debate its *merit* on those
    >grounds, but intent is all that is required to get the ball rolling.
    >
    >So the question then is whether some amount of modification to an
    >image suddenly changes it from "photographic art" into something else,
    >some other type of art, some free-form art, perhaps purely digital
    >art. Philosophically, I am most curious about why this is happening
    >now and didn't happen 20 years ago.


    It *was* happening 20 years (and 40 years) ago! The
    only change is in what is easily available to everyone,
    which is what current discussion obviously will center
    on. It is really hard to get a heated debate going
    about a technique that only a few are able to use.
    Hence in 1987 there wasn't much discussion of the art of
    digital image processing, and there is now.

    But auto focus lenses were being discussed.

    And when I first bought a 35mm SLR *that* was in itself
    a topic of discussion, given that larger formats had
    traditionally been what "all" photography was done with.

    "Photography" with 35mm film just wasn't really "art"...
    some said, and wasn't even photography to others.

    (Look how things have changed! Now every camera's
    lenses have to be equated to the focal length of a 35mm
    format, or nobody can relate to what it is!)

    >What is it about dodging and burning, sandwiching slides together,
    >using exotic chemicals, and so forth, that qualifies them as
    >nondestructive to the integrity of a photograph? Why is it that
    >Photoshop can strip away that integrity?


    How many people ever actually did their own darkroom
    work in a wet darkroom? Percentage wise it was very
    very small. Hence no discussion.

    Everybody and their freaking little brother can use
    Photoshop! Hence heated discussion.

    It isn't any change in philosophy or a different value
    system, and should not be mistaken for such.

    As to if manipulation is acceptable, and whether
    documentation is art... let me tell a story.

    I once handed a lawyer half a dozen 8x10 glossies; he
    became, well, ecstatic!

    In court, one expert witness (a police officer) and one
    prosecutor reacted with wild bewilderment. Their jaws
    hit the floor, and they literally stammered!

    The images were *pure art*! And manipulation was
    *exactly* the point. Nobody questioned that fact.

    I was asked by the judge if the pair of images
    introduced as evidence were a true and accurate
    _representation_, and my answer was "Yes." Nobody
    suggested they were the only reality, or that they
    actually *were* reality. It was just one perspective of
    many available...

    I had used perspective and the angle of view to very
    deliberately manipulate the appearance of a sidewalk and
    intersection to make it look different than the
    description provided by the police officer. To take the
    pictures I used a wide angle lense and walked across the
    road from where the officer had been located (and
    eventually would testify to). The angle of view I chose
    as *my* way to manipulate perspective demonstrated that
    *her* very true and accurate description of what she had
    seen was *not* *sufficient* to define what the prosecutor
    was claiming it did.

    The case was dismissed. But the police officer was not
    accused of lying, and neither was I. Yet we clearly
    described something diametrically opposite. She just
    happened to come across her observation, while I very
    deliberately set about to manipulate mine. That didn't
    make her's any more a correct representation of reality
    than mine. We each looked at the same location and
    saw a *different* reality.

    My record of reality was a wonderfully useful bit of art!

    --
    Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
    Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
    Floyd L. Davidson, Jun 8, 2007
    #10
  11. John Ortt

    Eatmorepies Guest

    "John Ortt" <> wrote in message
    news:46692d58$...
    >I have been following the In-Camera or Post-Camera thread for some time now
    >and the main bone of contention seems to be the level of alteration the
    >original photograph undergoes.
    >
    > >

    > At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?


    If one sort of art is an image that inspires spirtually then an undoctored
    photograph can be art. Daily I look at a photograph of a small section of
    hawthorn tree bark and find it inspirational (it's above my toothbrush) it's
    not been messed with and I call it art - thus it is art.

    I also have one of my colour pictures near my telephone table, I adjusted
    the colour, the levels and probably several other parameters - I am inspired
    by it and call it art - thus it is art.

    So an image that is a photograph is often also art.

    John
    Eatmorepies, Jun 8, 2007
    #11
  12. John Ortt

    Colin_D Guest

    John Ortt wrote:
    > I have been following the In-Camera or Post-Camera thread for some time now
    > and the main bone of contention seems to be the level of alteration the
    > original photograph undergoes.
    >
    > At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?
    >
    > Ever since the dawn of photography people have dramatically altered their
    > photographs by applying special effects in the dark-room (even splicing or
    > overlaying two photographs).
    >
    > It always strikes me that these adjustments were seen as far more acceptable
    > to the community than the current techniques using computer software.
    >
    > Is that because it is too easy these daysand hence too prolific? Is it
    > because it is too effective and people can often pass off a digitally
    > manipulated work as an original?
    >
    > At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?
    >
    > What do you all think?
    >
    > Thanks for your time,
    >
    > John
    >
    > (P.S. I can't crosspost to alt.photography or.slr-systems so if someone
    > else wants to do so for me on their reply that would be fine as it might get
    > a better debate going.)
    >

    A photograph is always a photograph, just as a painting is always a
    painting. And, just like some paintings are a waste of paint and
    canvas, some photographs are a waste of silver/ink/film/paper.

    But, some photographs, whether photoshopped, darkroom manipulated, or
    neither, envelope the viewer in an experience of delight or sadness,
    evoking memories or new feelings, producing an awareness of one's
    reactions that can be breathtaking, way beyond the literal content of
    the image. One can feel that something ethereal has been learned, an
    insight that will never be forgotten. One can actually forget that one
    is contemplating a photographic image, seeing only the implications,
    feeling the mind's response to the connections made with one's own
    experiences.

    Such images are art.


    Colin D.

    --
    Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
    Colin_D, Jun 9, 2007
    #12
  13. John Ortt

    Aaron Guest

    And lo, Colin_D <> emerged from the ether
    and spake thus:
    > John Ortt wrote:
    >> I have been following the In-Camera or Post-Camera thread for some time now
    >> and the main bone of contention seems to be the level of alteration the
    >> original photograph undergoes.
    >>
    >> At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?
    >>
    >> Ever since the dawn of photography people have dramatically altered their
    >> photographs by applying special effects in the dark-room (even splicing or
    >> overlaying two photographs).
    >>
    >> It always strikes me that these adjustments were seen as far more acceptable
    >> to the community than the current techniques using computer software.
    >>
    >> Is that because it is too easy these daysand hence too prolific? Is it
    >> because it is too effective and people can often pass off a digitally
    >> manipulated work as an original?
    >>
    >> At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?
    >>
    >> What do you all think?
    >>
    >> Thanks for your time,
    >>
    >> John
    >>
    >> (P.S. I can't crosspost to alt.photography or.slr-systems so if someone
    >> else wants to do so for me on their reply that would be fine as it might get
    >> a better debate going.)
    >>

    > A photograph is always a photograph, just as a painting is always a
    > painting. And, just like some paintings are a waste of paint and
    > canvas, some photographs are a waste of silver/ink/film/paper.
    >
    > But, some photographs, whether photoshopped, darkroom manipulated, or
    > neither, envelope the viewer in an experience of delight or sadness,
    > evoking memories or new feelings, producing an awareness of one's
    > reactions that can be breathtaking, way beyond the literal content of
    > the image. One can feel that something ethereal has been learned, an
    > insight that will never be forgotten. One can actually forget that one
    > is contemplating a photographic image, seeing only the implications,
    > feeling the mind's response to the connections made with one's own
    > experiences.
    >
    > Such images are art.
    >
    >
    > Colin D.


    My contention is that the only prerequisite for art is intent. So long
    as the artist intends for a piece to be art, it is. Whether that piece
    has any merit whatsoever is another story, but it was conceived purely
    through intent.

    Further, we could debate the meaning of the word "photograph" until we
    are all dead and gone, but it won't change any photographically
    derived artworks. If you splatter a watercolor with acrylic paints,
    technically it ceases to be a watercolor; we might call it "mixed
    media." That doesn't stop it from being art, though.

    The unique debate in photography seems to be the idea that digital
    post-production is, in fact, an art form all its own and that it can
    wield such power over a photographic image that the image is
    "splattered with acrylic" and ceases to be a "photograph." It's a
    semantic issue, and not one worth losing sleep over.

    Still, it's an interesting discussion. I am somewhat confused as to
    why this topic is so heavily debated in this day and age. Traditional
    post-processing techniques have gotten more powerful with each passing
    year since the invention of the negative (circa 1839), so why should
    it stop with chemicals and slides? Why didn't people decry
    cross-processing or the Orton effect as stripping photographs of their
    essence?

    --
    Aaron
    http://www.fisheyegallery.com
    http://www.singleservingphoto.com
    Aaron, Jun 9, 2007
    #13
  14. John Ortt

    Shawn Hirn Guest

    In article <>,
    Aaron <> wrote:
    >
    > My contention is that the only prerequisite for art is intent. So long
    > as the artist intends for a piece to be art, it is. Whether that piece
    > has any merit whatsoever is another story, but it was conceived purely
    > through intent.


    The eye of the beholder is much more important than the artist's intent.
    For example, I took a photo of a bunch of trash cans, just to fiddle
    around with a new camera. A friend saw that photo and he thought it was
    "arresting." Go figure! To me, it was just a photo of a bunch of trash
    cans.
    Shawn Hirn, Jun 9, 2007
    #14
  15. John Ortt

    Robert Coe Guest

    On Fri, 08 Jun 2007 12:22:10 GMT, "James Silverton"
    <> wrote:
    : John wrote on Fri, 8 Jun 2007 11:34:47 +0100:
    :
    : JO> At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?
    :
    : JO> Ever since the dawn of photography people have dramatically
    : JO> altered their photographs by applying special effects in
    : JO> the dark-room (even splicing or overlaying two
    : JO> photographs).
    :
    : JO> It always strikes me that these adjustments were seen as
    : JO> far more acceptable to the community than the current
    : JO> techniques using computer software.
    :
    : JO> Is that because it is too easy these daysand hence too
    : JO> prolific? Is it because it is too effective and people can
    : JO> often pass off a digitally manipulated work as an original?
    :
    : JO> At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?
    :
    : JO> What do you all think?
    :
    : JO> Thanks for your time,
    :
    : I used to to enjoy the level of artistic selection and printing
    : in exhibitions by professional photographers and I still do but
    : often a spectacular color picture causes the thought "Photoshop!"
    : I'm not sure that I consider a much modified or combined picture
    : to be *photographic* art and, if I said "Photoshop" aloud at a
    : show I'd probably get thrown out!

    The acknowledged grandmaster of photographic accuracy and compulsive attention
    to detail was Ansel Adams. Yet he was an artist, not a mere recorder of
    scenes, and spent countless hours in the darkroom adjusting his pictures and
    experimenting with special effects. If Adams were in mid-career today, how
    would he react to Photoshop and its various cousins? Would he embrace it? If
    not, would he denounce those who do? If he had become as skilled with
    Photoshop as he was with an enlarger and a set of dodging masks, would his
    work be considered any less "art"?

    Bob
    Robert Coe, Jun 9, 2007
    #15
  16. John Ortt

    Roy G Guest

    "John Ortt" <> wrote in message
    news:46692d58$...
    >I have been following the In-Camera or Post-Camera thread for some time now
    >and the main bone of contention seems to be the level of alteration the
    >original photograph undergoes.
    >
    > At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?
    >
    > Ever since the dawn of photography people have dramatically altered their
    > photographs by applying special effects in the dark-room (even splicing or
    > overlaying two photographs).
    >
    > It always strikes me that these adjustments were seen as far more
    > acceptable to the community than the current techniques using computer
    > software.
    >
    > Is that because it is too easy these daysand hence too prolific? Is it
    > because it is too effective and people can often pass off a digitally
    > manipulated work as an original?
    >
    > At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?
    >
    > What do you all think?
    >
    > Thanks for your time,
    >
    > John
    >
    > (P.S. I can't crosspost to alt.photography or.slr-systems so if someone
    > else wants to do so for me on their reply that would be fine as it might
    > get a better debate going.)
    >

    You are asking 2 questions which are not interrelated.

    When does a photograph stop being a photograph, and the answer to that is
    not until it is torn up and binned, it is then just scrap paper.

    No amount of manipulation stops it being a photograph.

    When does a photograph become Art, when the Artisticly inclined Photographer
    presses the shutter release.

    It could be argued that the vast majority of happy snappers out there, are
    not trying to produce Art, but now and then or perhaps much more often, one
    of them does produce a piece of Art.

    They may not have realised that, but someone who knows about Art would
    recognise it as soon as he / she looked at it.

    That is the only answer you can ever get to a question, which relies on
    others peoples perception of what is and isn't Art.

    Roy G
    Roy G, Jun 9, 2007
    #16
  17. John Ortt

    if Guest

    "John Ortt" <> wrote:
    >
    > At what point does an image no longer become a photograph?


    I asked that same question here about 6 months ago, you could
    googlegroup for the answers, thread title was "What is a photograph?".


    > Ever since the dawn of photography people have dramatically altered
    > their photographs by applying special effects in the dark-room (even
    > splicing or overlaying two photographs).
    >
    > It always strikes me that these adjustments were seen as far more
    > acceptable to the community than the current techniques using computer
    > software.


    No, manipulating images has always been controversial regardless of the
    level of technology. My own impression though is that it has actually
    got less controversial over time, not more, perhaps because people have
    become more comfortable with the idea of photography as an art form. If
    you look at articles in Steiglitz's Camera Work magazine published
    c.1900 you will see people pontificating about manipulated photos back
    then. throughout the 20th century you see the same in photographic
    publications and in photographic society debates, questions like, is it
    acceptable to crop an image, or to retouch, to dodge and burn in, to
    make montages, etc etc.

    ISTM though that none of the subtance of your question touches on your
    subject line - "when does photography become art?" Photography has always
    been an art form according to many (or not, according to some). Whether the
    images are straight or manipulated has little or no bearing on
    Photography's status as an art form.
    if, Jun 9, 2007
    #17
  18. "Floyd Davidson" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > "Neil Harrington" <> wrote:
    >>Strictly speaking, photography doesn't "become art" at all.

    >
    > It can't become art. It is art by definition, the
    > instant it is created. (It isn't necessarily *good* art!)


    It isn't art at all, as you describe it. You don't "create" anything by
    pressing a button. The machine creates something, but what it creates is a
    record -- not art. If you have chosen an appealing thing to make a record
    of, that's good but it still isn't art. If you've chosen certain conditions
    of light, etc., to make the record in, that's good too but it still isn't
    art.

    >
    >>Photography is a means of recording an image. Recording something by
    >>pressing a button is not art, no matter how appealing the image may be.
    >>Many
    >>people confuse beauty with art, but one does not necessarily have anything
    >>to do with the other. For example a sunset may be gorgeous but it isn't
    >>art,

    >
    > All true.
    >
    >>and recording it isn't art either.

    >
    > There are in excess of 1 billion ways to record any
    > given sunset, all different than the in excess of 1
    > billion ways to record the next sunset. Choosing which
    > way to record any given sunset necessarily makes the
    > result an art,


    Not at all, unless you are using "an art" in the loosest possible way (e.g.,
    the art of washing a car, the art of slicing onions, etc.). That simply
    makes the word meaningless for all practical purposes.


    > simply because the results are not
    > predefined. Each "record" is different.


    Doesn't matter. You might as well say that selecting a dinner from a menu is
    "art," or deciding which shoe to put on first is an "art." We all make all
    sorts of choices every day, probably tens of thousands of little ones.
    Making selections is not art.


    > The difficulty
    > of doing exactly the same twice in a row demonstrates
    > the fact.
    >
    > art n.
    > 1. The employment of means to accomplish some desired end;
    > the adaptation of things in the natural world to the uses
    > of life; the application of knowledge or power to
    > practical purposes.
    >
    > 2. A system of rules serving to facilitate the performance of
    > certain actions; a system of principles and rules for
    > attaining a desired end; method of doing well some special
    > work; -- often contradistinguished from science or
    > speculative principles; as, the art of building or
    > engraving; the art of war; the art of navigation.
    >
    > 3. The systematic application of knowledge or skill in
    > effecting a desired result. Also, an occupation or
    > business requiring such knowledge or skill.
    >
    > 4. The application of skill to the production of the
    > beautiful by imitation or design, or an occupation in
    > which skill is so employed, as in painting and sculpture;
    > one of the fine arts; as, he prefers art to literature.
    >
    > Take your pick, they all apply! Obviously 4 is the most
    > suitable to this discussion.


    The list is useless. Your number 4 makes a distinction between art and
    literature. Do you really think literature is not an art?

    The others could apply to slicing onions. This is the problem with trying to
    use these sorts of definitions to determine whether a thing or activity is
    art.

    >
    >>If the image is altered in some way by human intervention it may then be
    >>art, but the art is in the alteration and not in the photographic process

    >
    > Except that the "image" is *necessarily* altered by
    > human intervention by the very nature of how it is
    > produced. That camera may be a black box to you or to
    > others, but some human sat down and made decisions that


    Again: making decisions, choices or selections is not art. We all do those
    things all the time.


    > were *not* arbitrary (and not science either) in
    > deciding *exactly* how the camera would process image
    > data. Indeed, which sensor is used was not an arbitrary
    > decision either! Those decisions are all based on how
    > the final product is expected to look, and what appeal
    > it will have to others. That is art.


    People do those things while deciding which TV program to watch. That isn't
    art.

    >
    > There has been considerable artistic knowledge and skill
    > applied to everything that happens when a photographer
    > releases the shutter, even when the photographer is the
    > least skilled/artistic.


    You are diluting the meaning of the word to perfect uselessness.

    >
    >>itself. Simply making choices about viewpoint, focal length, exposure,
    >>filtration etc. may all have to do with one's expertise as a photographer
    >>but they do not make the photograph "art" either.

    >
    > Those are indeed the basics of the art in a photograph.
    > Any one of them can make or break the artistic appeal
    > produced by the final result.


    "Artistic appeal" does not imply art. A nice sunset has artistic appeal. It
    isn't art.

    >
    > Not one of them is an automatic decision, a guaranteed
    > known, or in any way invariant between different
    > photographers.


    Again, you are talking about making selections. Choosing a picture for the
    living room is not art. Deciding on where and how to hang it is not art
    either. These sorts of things certainly involve some degree of artistic
    sensibility, but they are not examples of *creating* anything.

    I have never really understood why some photographers want to think of
    themselves as artists. Good photography is a good thing in and of itself. It
    need not try to pretend to be something it isn't.

    >
    >>At what point does alteration of an image become "art"? It's impossible to
    >>draw a line that everyone will agree with. I remember seeing the efforts
    >>of
    >>a photographer who took ordinary, rather blah photographs, made deep
    >>scratches in the emulsion of the negatives and then printed them. An
    >>enthusiastic critic wrote admiringly about that photographer's "work" as
    >>though it conveyed some serious and important message. As far as I'm
    >>concerned it was sheer nonsense, but to a large degree "art" is in the eye
    >>of the beholder.

    >
    > Your last sentence is exactly correct!


    Thank you. :)

    Neil
    Neil Harrington, Jun 9, 2007
    #18
  19. "Neil Harrington" <> wrote:
    >"Floyd Davidson" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >> "Neil Harrington" <> wrote:
    >>>Strictly speaking, photography doesn't "become art" at all.

    >>
    >> It can't become art. It is art by definition, the
    >> instant it is created. (It isn't necessarily *good* art!)

    >
    >It isn't art at all, as you describe it. You don't "create" anything by
    >pressing a button.


    Since I did not say art was created by pressing a button
    (and in fact agreed that it was not), much less claim it
    is created *only* by the pressing of a button, your
    following discussion is with yourself and not with me.

    ....

    >> art n.
    >> 1. The employment of means to accomplish some desired end;
    >> the adaptation of things in the natural world to the uses
    >> of life; the application of knowledge or power to
    >> practical purposes.
    >>
    >> 2. A system of rules serving to facilitate the performance of
    >> certain actions; a system of principles and rules for
    >> attaining a desired end; method of doing well some special
    >> work; -- often contradistinguished from science or
    >> speculative principles; as, the art of building or
    >> engraving; the art of war; the art of navigation.
    >>
    >> 3. The systematic application of knowledge or skill in
    >> effecting a desired result. Also, an occupation or
    >> business requiring such knowledge or skill.
    >>
    >> 4. The application of skill to the production of the
    >> beautiful by imitation or design, or an occupation in
    >> which skill is so employed, as in painting and sculpture;
    >> one of the fine arts; as, he prefers art to literature.
    >>
    >> Take your pick, they all apply! Obviously 4 is the most
    >> suitable to this discussion.

    >
    >The list is useless.


    Look, that is an abjectly stupid statement. It is a list of
    the definitions of the word "art" in the English language. It
    is useless only if we are not using the English language to
    communicate. To deny that dictionary definitions of words are
    accurate and useful is ridiculous.

    You denied *every* part and every definition of art. That too
    is over the edge.

    There is no point in discussing the topic when you are that
    obtuse.

    --
    Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
    Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
    Floyd L. Davidson, Jun 9, 2007
    #19
  20. "Floyd L. Davidson" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > "Neil Harrington" <> wrote:
    >>"Floyd Davidson" <> wrote in message
    >>news:...
    >>> "Neil Harrington" <> wrote:
    >>>>Strictly speaking, photography doesn't "become art" at all.
    >>>
    >>> It can't become art. It is art by definition, the
    >>> instant it is created. (It isn't necessarily *good* art!)

    >>
    >>It isn't art at all, as you describe it. You don't "create" anything by
    >>pressing a button.

    >
    > Since I did not say art was created by pressing a button
    > (and in fact agreed that it was not), much less claim it
    > is created *only* by the pressing of a button, your
    > following discussion is with yourself and not with me.


    You said (just above, for pete's sake), "It is art by definition, the
    instant it is created." That certainly implies you think it's "art" the
    instant the button is pressed.

    > ...
    >
    >>> art n.
    >>> 1. The employment of means to accomplish some desired end;
    >>> the adaptation of things in the natural world to the uses
    >>> of life; the application of knowledge or power to
    >>> practical purposes.
    >>>
    >>> 2. A system of rules serving to facilitate the performance of
    >>> certain actions; a system of principles and rules for
    >>> attaining a desired end; method of doing well some special
    >>> work; -- often contradistinguished from science or
    >>> speculative principles; as, the art of building or
    >>> engraving; the art of war; the art of navigation.
    >>>
    >>> 3. The systematic application of knowledge or skill in
    >>> effecting a desired result. Also, an occupation or
    >>> business requiring such knowledge or skill.
    >>>
    >>> 4. The application of skill to the production of the
    >>> beautiful by imitation or design, or an occupation in
    >>> which skill is so employed, as in painting and sculpture;
    >>> one of the fine arts; as, he prefers art to literature.
    >>>
    >>> Take your pick, they all apply! Obviously 4 is the most
    >>> suitable to this discussion.

    >>
    >>The list is useless.

    >
    > Look, that is an abjectly stupid statement. It is a list of
    > the definitions of the word "art" in the English language. It
    > is useless only if we are not using the English language to
    > communicate. To deny that dictionary definitions of words are
    > accurate and useful is ridiculous.


    Dictionary definitions do the best they can, but they are intended for the
    general public and not the knowledgeable specialist. There are many things
    dictionaries get wrong as far as people with special interests are
    concerned. For example, most dictionaries accept "bullet" as another word
    for "cartridge," but serious shooters know they are not the same thing at
    all and no literature on the subject would ever make that mistake.

    As I said, using "art" in a sentence like "the art of slicing onions" is
    perfectly correct, indeed would satisfy most of the definitions you've
    listed; but that is not "art" as I think we are using the term. It is not
    "as in painting and sculpture" as mentioned in your No. 4 above. And neither
    is photography.

    If you think there is any similarity or equivalence in the nature of the
    work, try doing some serious painting or sculpture and it will quickly
    disabuse you of that notion.

    Neil
    Neil Harrington, Jun 10, 2007
    #20
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