Photographers aren’t taken seriously as artists by many people.
My work often doesn’t look like photography, so patrons confide in me: “I don’t really like photography. Any body can take a picture.” Sometime they add, trying to be complimentary: “But YOUR work. That’s art. You really had to do something.”
I don’t like pitting my work against other photographers or artists. I’d rather try to broaden the patron’s view of art to include traditional photography.
It’s true, anyone can take a photo. Seems that everyone does. An artist, though, creates a comprehensive body of work. An artist creates a distinctive style and captures his or her vision on film or sensor. An artist communicates. One or six nice pictures does not an artist make.
That being said, I like to push my medium a bit beyond the obvious. Most people think that photography captures a moment in time. I disagree. A snapshot captures a moment in time. A photograph captures a mood or emotion. It tells a story. It evokes a memory. It provokes a discussion. The moment in time is almost irrelevant.
I am especially fond of photographic processes that expose a part of our world that we cannot see with out eyes. I want to produce work that asks for a relationship — demands a few minutes of your time and maybe even gives you something new every time you approach it.
My newest work — the Game Series — combines both goals. The set-ups take a long time, so I’m shooting each one in hand-altered Polaroid and in infrared. I’m delighted by how different each is, even with the same subject matter.
Does the Games Series demand your time and give you something new? You tell me.
>Jeanne,As photographers (or in my case, artists who use photographic images as the starting point—and yes that’s another ball of wax altogether!), we MUST remember that it took nearly century after its introduction for photography to be widely-accepted as a fine art form, if collections in museums are the reliable benchmark. In the first decades of the new medium (i.e. 1850s-1880s), photographers “mimicked” painting; they photographed all the subjects—landscapes, portraits, etc.—that painters had worked with for centuries and pushed the photographic medium to replicate painting effects. To be sure, this period yielded some really interesting images, and 20th century critics have re-evaluated their value. I can only think that the sentiment which continues to debase photography—i.e. “any one can take a photograph”—is in some way born out of a perceived threat that an “objective” medium presents to a “subjective” medium like painting. (Although the “reality” that photography captures is whole other conversation.) Painting has reigned supreme for a good 500+ years and there’s no reason to think that its supporters are going to give up the throne without a fight.In the end, however, as you observe, in order to connect meaningfully with viewers, good images, whether photographic or other, must tell a story. All else is superficial.For a further discussion of photography’s role in the history of art, your readers may find the posts on Venetian Red helpful. A good place to start would be: http://venetianred.net/2008/12/08/trouvelots-natural-art-brought-to-light-photography-and-the-invisible-at-sf-moma/http://venetianred.net/2008/07/30/accidental-masterpieces-in-the-digital-age/Keep up the good work! I look forward to future discussions.