Friday, May 7, 2010

My view on "Art"

This is definitely not the usual you're used to seeing here, but I'm really, really happy about this photo. It's just so fucked up and cool. I see something very emotional here, and that's what I see and love about it. It speaks to me.

Taken with a Holga with slide film that's been cross-processed.


I know a lot of people have issues with Holgas... That they're mostly for people that can't afford "quality" cameras and want to achieve unconventional results that people with professional equipment and software could putz around with and produce in photoshop.

Here's my take. Art is not always pristine. Art is not always made with expensive tools. Art is whatever the artist connects with. Art is what comes from the heart, and what s/he gets meaningful aesthetic satisfaction from. Art can easily be made with a $.05 pencil, or a point and shoot. Art is not limited to or just made by or for the aristocrats.

Photography is not seeing the truth that is, photography is seeing the truth that the artist sees. A camera is just a tool. That's why I've never adopted the rigid, puristic view that photography has to be authentic. Meaning, I don't care if you limit yourself to having the photo be exactly the way you saw it in the viewfinder. Crop it and mess around with it in photoshop within an inch of its life, for all I care. I have no more or less respect for people who do it either way. I do think there is a discipline to finding the composition you want in the viewfinder, but I think that is akin to any practice. You become better and better at finding the art you want to produce and present.

So if you want to use a cheap $25 plastic camera, then go for it. If you want to use a $50,000 digital Hasselblad, then go for it. There is no definition for what art is, except that art is subjective for every living human being.

Don't get me wrong, I truly believe that there is a mathematical correlation (called the Golden Ratio) for what is beautiful, but I'm not talking about what is beautiful. I'm talking about art.

I know some artists, art critics, art enthusiasts, and art collectors will disagree with me, and that's fine. Like I said, art is subjective.

Your views/arguments are always welcome.


Trevor Levin. Last summer in Portland, OR.


Sully said...

I agree, and based on some of the BEST artist in receient history. Most great masters would agree with you.

In fact one of the greatest painters of our time.

Thought children had the purist, and most expressive artistic voice. and it last works just before he died were in effect his attempts to find his inner child, and express it.

The painter was Claude Monet I believe.

Andrew said...

I agree there is no correlation between the cost of tools and the artistic capability of the user. Owning tens of thousands of dollars worth of photography equipment does not mean the photographer has technical skills, much less artistic vision.

I also think it doesn't matter whether a creative work of art comes about as a result of careful planning or happy accident. Discovery is part of the artistic process.

I disagree about there being a mathematical formula to define beauty. Math is objective. 2+3=5, always, everywhere, and for everyone. Beauty is subjective, influenced by cultural and personal biases. What passes for beauty to a mainstream 21st century American audience is not necessarily beautiful to all cultures of the world throughout history.

brooke lynne said...

Sully and Andrew, thank you for your insights and comments.

Andrew, I suggest you read a little bit about the Golden Ratio. I was a bit rigid in saying that it is the definition of beauty, but there is an undeniable correlation.

Andrew said...

I'm not disputing the Golden Ratio. You edited your post after I commented, and I do not disagree with you revised statement.

My understanding is that the Golden Ratio is about aesthetically pleasing proportion, which is one aspect of beauty. I think there are subjective aspects to beauty as well.

brooke lynne said...

Indeed, Andrew.

The statement needed revision.

Dave Levingston said...

Sounds to me like you have it about right. Must be my good influence. ;-)

markhaskins said...

I was just coming to ease with my decision to purchase a new camera. I also was reminding myself that many create beautiful valid art with their $25.00 Holga, it’s “quality" is then most valuable to that image creator, not cheap, just less money to own. No matter how much I determine I can and am willing to spend on another camera I can only change my processes for the answer I seek every time a create another image.

That’s a really cool image you have there Brooke, you must have a really good camera.....and a damn good mind behind it for sure.

Tom said...

Not to take anything away from the golden ration but there are some other useful ideas about composition. Asian art likes odd numbers of things, so the three red areas are a plus. Asian art also almost requires a path that the eye can travel, you hardly see a Chinese landscape without either a literal path or a waterway. In that way the two sunny spots leading to the distant background are a plus. My teacher always liked a V shape in the painting. the red areas fulfill this as well both because there is one at the bottom and two at the top, and because the one at the bottom is the smallest. Back in the day I used to like a Kodak Instamatic for it's square format and wide angle lens.

MichaelV. said...

I applaud your creativity and sense of self. I too try for the creativity, the natural flow of things. Having been a commercial photographer I have to overcome that sense of whats right, and just see whats out there. It's like two different sides of my brain need to focus. But creativity isn't for the shy. Good work!

Marilynn said...

I love what you said here, very inspiring. I came back to read it again.