Tuesday, October 24, 2006

ku # 423 and a commentary for your consideration

I am slowly coming to the conclusion - after much reading and much research (ongoing) - that the notion of photography as "art" has been hijacked by opposite ends of the photography spectrum. At one end of the spectrum are the hordes of photographers who declare that everything they create is art and that it is all of equal "value". At the other end are a relatively small band of academics/critics - very few photographers among them - who declare that only that photography which conforms to some arcane theory - heavy on the sociology, structural psychology, structural linguistics, semiotics, et al - is art.

The problem with this as I see it is, as Eric Fredine mentioned on the Random Tidbit post, one of practicality. IMO, just as happens in most cases of polarization, the middle of the (in this case, photography) spectrum is getting the shaft.

By "middle" I mean a meaningfully large contingent of "serious" photographers - those with a fundalmental grasp of the history of the medium, those who understand the medium's capability to illustrate and illuminate, to denoted and connote, to capture a "spirit of fact" that helps to reveal often observed but seldom seen truths - whose photography is both underexposed (to the public) and undervalued, literally and figuratively.

IMO, it's time to find the reincarnation of Alfred Stieglitz and the 291 - in this case as a movement that reclaims and helps redefine the idea of photography as art.

Am I nuts?


Anonymous Eric Fredine said...

In part, there has been a lot of 'art about art' employing photography. Art that explores the medium and ideas about representation (Cindy Sherman, Jeff Wall, Thomas Demand). And the art world loves artists who test the limits.

I always think Duchamp's ready-mades are a good example of a limit test. It's an interesting idea that well, anything, quite literally, could be considered art. But it's not like there is then room for generations of artists to place different kinds of shovels in a gallery and call it art.

But there's still lots of room to utilize and exploit the inherent characteristics of the medium without needing to do it in an ironic or self-referential way. These characteristics are unique and powerful.

10/24/2006 01:40:00 PM  

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