#775. Does collecting art make you a better photographer?

#775. Does collecting art make you a better photographer?

The spectrum of relationships to photography runs very wide. The plumpest section of the bell curve is devoted to recording events and places for a purely personal notebook use : birthdays, family reunions, selfied or unselfied travels, graduations, … The driving force behind this is mainly social. Many asian travelers compose their travel pictures with themselves as center point with the background offering glamorous variation and proof of travel, for example. And only bad parents don’t have photographs of the 7th birthday or A-levels celebrations, right?

No one has studied and analysed this social driver of photography better than Susan Sontag, after whom this website is named.

 

 

But, to me, the extremes of the curve (dare I call them the bell ends?) are even more interesting.

At one end sit the gearheads. We know enough of and about them not to need any further exploration. I’ll only say that no-one is static in this classification. We can be happily shooting for years and get swayed like total beginners by some innovation or fancy new design. It takes time to emerge sane and sound, but we mostly do.

At the other (and again, this is neither static not completely mutually exclusive) sit the art lovers. The collectors.

The two groups could stare at one another for weeks and gain a weaker mutual understand than early explorers and the native tribes they stumbled upon. Why would anyone in their right mind spend 6 grand on a camera when that could buy an early Crewdson? Who, in the name of all that’s sweet and green, would spend 14 grand on a piece of paper and pigments when that could buy you the kit to produce your own photographs plus a healthy number of trips around Terra?

There’s obviously no correct answer to either, which makes it (not) a lot of fun when your brain errs towards both (trust me). Liminal torture, t’is.

 

 

But let me try to defend the collector camp here, because it is vastly underrepresented in the amateur photographic world. While some people in the center of the curve will eventually fall for the lure of better equipment to make better photographs, very few will be told to collect to become better artists themselves. That’s only because the PR spend of gear makers is far greater than the PR spend of galleries, museums, artists put together. Plus collectors and artists are often a discreet bunch that keep to themselves, away from the great unwashed hoi polloi.

 

“Good artists copy, great artists steal”

If it’s good enough for Pablo, it’s good enough for me. Jim Jarmusch said the same thing differently: “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination.” Scores of personal coaches and self-development gurus are now making it their own trademark mantra. Still, the profound truth behind this is that you’ll never be a good photographer if you don’t view the work of great photographers and draw from it.

Social media is a death trap for aspiring photographers. We are all influenced by what we see others create and by how others still react to it. But the sad truth is that the vast majority of what is on display on social media is exquisitely uninspiring, whatever the number of likes it receives. Social platforms reward mediocrity in its most mathematical sense. It’s the very basis of their business model. Whatever appeals to the largest number makes the most money for them.

Just like the saying “you are the average of the 5 people you spend most time with” goes, our photography is probably about as good as our 5 strongest artistic influences. So those might as well be Peter Doig, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Ed Burtynsky, Francis Bacon and Colin Prior, rather than canonzoom_64, bless his cotton socks (I hope no one with that username actually exists 😉 ), or a lab rat website with photographs of charts in a basement.

 

 

“But a 4 year-old could paint this!”

Yup, been there. Particularly unfathomable to me are some conceptual installations. Often, they feel like a candid camera waiting to pounce on my incredulity.

But do you really think people with the money to become patrons to these artists are stupid enough to do so simply because the work looks ugly or silly or provocative? Some knobs, in the world, may have inherited large fortunes but they typically spend that on other distractions. Art collectors are often passionate, sometimes pathologically so, and definitely not stupid.

The minute we feel like “but my 4-year-old niece could have painted that”, we’re faced with a tremendous learning opportunity. Not that we have to take it up, mind you. Flying settees and pianos with sausage keys will likely never be my thing but I’ve learned a lot about other artists, those whose work I didn’t grasp but had an emotional impact on me, at first sight. And when you scratch below the surface, it often is so fascinating you can’t let it go.

 

 

The fact that I (I.e., you) could take that photo” is also largely irrelevant as it’s why, not how, that matters in contemporary art. The artists who create those seemingly easy photographs often do so in series to make their point very clear, and that’s a lot more work than just grabbing one image, out of opportunity. To the best of my knowledge, Andreas Gursky is one of the very few photographers who manage to deliver very powerful messages in photographs that do not require series. And that’s probably what makes every one of his creations so precious to the art world.

Plus, no, we probably couldn’t (take that photo). They may look simple, but some require months of work !

 

“But that’s so expensive”

And that’s a good thing for so many reasons I don’t know where to start.

If it has value, it’s desirable. Unless your ideology against money forces you to systematically see rich people in a bad light, desirability – to people who have the education and the choice – is a safe indicator of quality.

If it’s expensive, it makes you choose. Decisions are what shape your life. When you’re excited enough to commit to a big buy, the thought process and investigation are half the fun. If you’ve never been in an auction room with your heart racing, you’re missing out on a lot of fun (you go can even with no intention of buying anything, many people do, often to study the market or get close to pictures they might never see again). I bought my everyday car at an auction a few years ago. Cheapest car I ever owned and I loved it so much. Could have been a dud, but it wasn’t. So much fun and excitement.

But, mainly, no, it’s not that expensive. Well chosen photographs are money on the wall. And most of them appreciate in time. I used to be able to buy a few as a student. Today, with more in the bank, it’s much more difficult for me to afford the same artists. So, if you buy and need the money some years later, you can probably sell well above what you initially paid (think long-term, though, as fees are enormous, both ways).

And, more importantly, no, it’s not that expensive, because you can buy in antique fairs, in cheap galleries, look for rising but unknown talent that still commands less than a good bottle of whisky, collect photo books rather than prints … A grand can get you a tissue-sized portion of a recent Crewdson, a poststamp-sized piece of a Gursky or 30 lovely prints from an unkown photographer from 60 years ago. The latter is actually a lot more fun and you leave the heavy brigade to oligarchs, drug barons and celebs in need of ego boosts.

 

“I’m sorry, that’s just ugly”

It doesn’t have to be ugly. But yeah, sometimes, you really don’t fancy some of the images in galleries hanging above your bed …

 

 

Let’s draw a line between fine art and conceptual art. On the one hand, the beauty of the final object is what buyers look for. A well executed photograph of a beautiful scene masterfully printed on superb paper inside state of the art framing. The subject and motivation matter little. The good news is that you are paying for evident quality and the value will likely never rise to silly proportions, meaning you can sleep at night, you can buy more prints to start a collection, you can talk about your acquisitions without fearing judgement …

On the other (conceptual hand), the reason behind the print far eclipses the technical quality and obvious beauty as a justification for the price. Whether is it the historical significance in a trend, the storytelling, the provenance, the style, the message, … collectors value deliberate thinking prior to making the shot far more than craftsmanship while making the shot. Yes, conceptual artists like Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Richard Misrach, Candida Höfer may all follow the route of huge prints made from large format cameras, but this approach only serves a common vision of depicting a scene in the greatest possible detail and using the most detached technique in order to increase engagement with the subject in ways that would not be possible otherwise, or with your own eyes. It has nothing to do with fine art. Beautiful doesn’t come into the equation, neutrality rules. And other contemporary photographers certainly do not follow the same technical path to create their work.

There’s nothing wrong with collecting beautiful photography. Barbara Kasten explains “In the ’70s the rest of the world thought that beauty was a weakness. But the reality is, it’s a strength.”

Or with collecting photographs that many will find ugly. But, in either case, those photographs will likely be the greatest influences on your own work. Hence, on a big chunk of your creativity and its many derivatives in your life.

 

“I don’t know where to start”

Nobody does.

Today, you can learn the history of photography and start a collection based on canon that may (or may not) appreciate in time, following the trends, as if buying Amazon and Apple stock. It’s investment and no fun at all (where do you keep the photograph, how do you protect it, what if it fades, is all the paperwork in order, is the insurance OK with it, how much does it need to rise before I can sell without taking a serious hit, what if I need the money fast …)

Or you can simply go to fairs and galleries, trust your gut, take note of what you like and do some research. Do this regularly and you’ll soon see a list of favourites emerge. You’ll also learn a lot and build great confidence. Don’t rush it, most of the fun is in the search. But every now and then, something will blow your mind and won’t threaten your financial security. Boom, you’re on your way.

Collecting is simpler than fight club. Rule number one is buying stuff you deeply care about. There isn’t a rule number 2. Can’t afford a print? Get a poster.

 

 

I love William Neill but couldn’t afford his prints when visiting a gallery exhibition, long ago. In stead, I bought a 24″ poster (Dawn, Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Canada, with no writing on it) online, framed it and it’s still on my wall 20 years later. My corridor is full of Ansel Adams photographs from a beautifully printed calendar that was a Christmas gift, decades ago. All framed in museum style, the cut out pages look gorgeous. One of my treasured photographic possessions is a glorious print given to me by fellow DS contributor Bob Hamilton.

A good collection is just a thoughtfully curated series of photographs, whatever their commercial value and origin. The fact you deliberately chose each of them brings a consistency  to the collection that makes all the difference with expensive but tasteless gatherings.

 

“I’m really not interested at all”

Well, that’s fine. The only question is “why not?”. If ol’ Maslow is to be believed, self-improvement is high on the list of vital needs once food, shelter and mating are taken care of.

Not everyone is a collector, though. And thank goodness for that, as the world needs variety more than anything else. Artists are rarely collectors, although some are and most are very interested in what their fellows are doing. Collectors aren’t often artists either. Some people just invest in art because the return and security from banks is flimsy, stock markets are a bit high and all the good cars have been bought. Others buy art for the fun of it, with no intention of creating a consistent collection or of spending big money. Others still don’t ever buy art, and that’s OK.

Collecting is a personal journey. It can build up into a passion that can bankrupt you or can feed your own photography and enrich your life. It’s a peerless learning and self-examination process. It’s a great diversion from tech talk and puts all gear-related insecurities into a very distant perspective. It broadens your horizon, deepens your love and understanding of the work of others. If you haven’t yet, you should really try it.

 

 

But back to the title question. No, I don’t believe collecting art will make you a better photographer, per se. However, if you already have laid the difficult groundwork for becoming a better photographer (introspection, mainly), the process of collecting the work of others will not only guide your learning process but also help you think deeper about what makes a valuable artistic contribution and what’s just random. In a world of ubiquitous daily life photography, that’s certainly a most precious tool.

Now, I’m writing all this with something at the back my mind. I want to make you an offer you can’t refuse. Tell me what your thoughts are about collecting and I’ll tell you my intention (and no, it’s not selling you prints of my photographs, you philistine 😉 )

 


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14 Comments

  1. Avatar
    jean pierre (pete) guaron October 05, 2018

    Lordy – you shouldn’t say such things in front of me! OK – I learn from others – only idiots don’t do that.

    I’ve tried art, but I know I’ll never be another Monet or Van Gogh or Picasso. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it – actually quite the opposite – it had an absolutely extraordinary effect on me – I felt totally possessed by a strange fountain of creative energy that surged through, from my feet upwards – I couldn’t put the damn picture to rest till I finished it – my very first attempt, and for 36 hours I scarcely snatched any sleep or went to the toilet or ANYTHING, except that picture – which still hangs on my living room wall.

    I prefer photography – but again, I have learned so much over so many years from other cleverer, more artistic people. Pascal, you don’t have to “own” things to enjoy them. Galleries offer everyone the opportunity to enjoy art on a massive scale – beyond anyone’s notion of affordability – even Bill Gates couldn’t afford the art on display at the NY Museum of Modern Art! My own view, FWIW, is that what drives the “price” of art out of reach of the ordinary buyer is the fact that the best of art is part of the world’s patrimony – not to be owned by individuals (most of whom haven’t the knowledge or the resources to care for it properly anyway). And that beyond a certain threshold, it’s simply inappropriate for this quaint old fashioned idea of “ownership” to prevail.

    Collecting art makes you a person who has an art collection. Appreciating art can be done with or without collecting it, and the fact someone collects art does NOT necessarily mean they have any appreciation of it. And of course starting to appreciate art is a good way of starting to develop artistically.

    So what makes an “artist”? If I had to choose one word, for that, I would choose “originality”. While we can all “learn” from others, plagiarism and pastiche and imitation may be flattering but fail the test – there’s nothing original in them. “Originality” means, surely, adding to the total something which was not there before? An artist who does that “achieves”. A wannabe who doesn’t add that is a failure.

    So maybe the answer lies in being a maverick – ignoring fashion – doing your own thing. Of course it takes more than that – those few words describe rather uncomfortably accurately how I have lived my entire life, but I make no claim to being a genius. There’s something more required . . . .

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy October 06, 2018

      Wow, that sounds like quite a creative experience. 36 hours of pure work. Nice !

      > you don’t have to “own” things to enjoy them
      We agree 100%. And thank goodness for museums and galleries !

      > what drives the “price” of art out of reach …
      Yes. It’s rarity (and the ego of those willing to pay big money). When a painting from an artist whose legacy is 99% in museums turns up on the market, there’s no guessing how much it will fetch. In France, you can buy a work of art, and leave it in a museum for all to admire. The museum is responsible for the well being of the work of art. I think that’s a fascinating idea.

      > Collecting art makes you a person who has an art collection. Appreciating art can be done with or without collecting it, and the fact someone collects art does NOT necessarily mean they have any appreciation of it.

      Well I agree with the second part. Many collectors are just investors. But collecting is more than just amassing a collection. Casually admiring art in galleries on the week-ends is not the same as going to the trouble of researching artists, educating yourself and dishing out the money. That’s a decision process that has a much deeper impact on you (if you do it for non financial reasons).

      Stealing and copying doesn’t mean you are not creating something original. Ego Schiele copied Klimt. Picasso copied Matisse and African art. Botero copied Picasso … Each is still very different. But yeah, being a maverick is certainly a large part of it 😉

  2. Avatar
    jean pierre (pete) guaron October 05, 2018

    Dinner break is over – you mentioned people who collect art, Pascal – well they ain’t all the same breed – I was in partnership with 11 others guys at one stage, most of whom seemed to imagine they were some kind of “elite” – one of the manifestations of this was their “art collection” – it used to make me shudder, the kind of stuff some businesses buy in some delusional belief that they know what they are doing and it’s an “investment’ – most of it looked as if the painter had gone on holidays before he finished it! Anyway, because I was still doing art at that stage, I brought into the office – MY room in the office – one of my pastels, of a seascape with waves crashing over the rocks at the base of a cliff, at sunset. Screams of horror from my partners – cries of “but you can’t POSSIBLY paint the sea bright orange”- to which I retorted “excuse me, but I thought you started this conversation because that’s precisely what I just DID!” Anyway, I got so pissed off with their bogus claims to knowledge of art that I brought another painting in – this one, they seriously did like – they asked what it was, and I suggested that perhaps they should interpret it, and tell me what they thought it was – none of them got close, so in the end I relented and told them it was a forest, and depicted the spirit of the trees – they “got” that, and then demanded to know who the artist was. I really enjoyed this part – I told them it was done by my 5-year old nephew, and it was a damn sight better than all those half finished paintings in the boardroom and the reception area. That was fun! 🙂 Actually it was true, too, which made it even MORE fun!

    So – just collecting art is not a “sufficient” condition. I don’t even think it’s a “necessary” condition. While it works for some, it has a terrible tendency to attract pseudo-intellectual snobs, like moths around a lighted candle.

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy October 06, 2018

      > “but you can’t POSSIBLY paint the sea bright orange”
      😀 😀 😀 Brilliant !

      > just collecting art is not a “sufficient” condition
      No, it certainly isn’t. I’m just saying that, for someone who’s genuinely interested in improving, the curation process associated with collecting is a profound help.

      Snobs, or anyone with bloated ego and false sense of identity, for that matter, will never be artists. All the influences that dominate their lives come from within. I pity them, to be honest. It must be horrible to be so closed in.

    • Avatar
      Kristian Wannebo October 06, 2018

      Aye, Pete,
      that happens all the time…

      ( You might have answered by showing them e.g. this:
      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/da/Claude_Monet%2C_Saint-Georges_majeur_au_cr%C3%A9puscule.jpg
      But after telling them about it they might have become nasty…)

      An more public example of “appreciating Art”…
      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Brassau

      But, sadly, the ensuing laugh was not loud enough to humble the art critics.
      * * *

      And there is this thin line between being applauded as a genious treading new paths and having your head banged for being a fool to stick your neck out – unless you already have a “name”.

      • Avatar
        jean pierre (pete) guaron October 07, 2018

        With the artists that I admire, one stand out feature most of them share is the fact that weren’t “normal” – and since I’ve never been “normal” in my whole life, I guess that gets me somewhere along the road.

        Unfortunately for me, it doesn’t stop there.

        And just being “different” isn’t enough to get them there, either. Apart from streaks of genius that they brought to the table, it was a hard life for most, and required a huge amount of work/effort/whatever.

        To get the basic skills of their art, most of them studied past masters. There’s nothing “wrong” with that – it’s orthodox, but for most it’s an essential part of the process. It’s what the great masters add to it afterwards, that sets them apart from the common herd.

        • Avatar
          Kristian Wannebo October 07, 2018

          Yes,
          I agree with your description of how good art is made and evolves, and that not being “normal” helps (a lot).

          And you’re touching on (what I think are) reasons why civilizations [can] survive catastrophes.

          Schools always say they give each individual the right education… Very few do; most, in effect, normalize us.
          I think civilizations want some unnormal people in order to evolve – but to remain stable not too many, and the few who survive education are those strong enough to make themselves noticed … but are usually allowed only a marginal influence.
          ( Well, I survived, but haven’t made myself noticed..)

          Official art schools are like other schools, to be allowed to teach you usually have to appear to be “normal”, and so, mostly, tradition is served.
          The emerging young artists then have to unlearn a lot on their way to find their own way of expression – and being “different” helps, also when studying past masters.

          I’ve a few times seen art by self taught artists. There is mostly a kind of special individuality to their art, a special freshness…
          I guess learning in a school and then un-learning makes it harder to return to your very own expression.

  3. Avatar
    NMc October 06, 2018

    If someone has to tell you it’s art then it probably isn’t.
    The art world as recognised by the mainstream particularly high end media is largely a fraud that operates like the high end fashion business. Which I guess is fine if that is what you want, just don’t try to convince me that that there is anything other than posturing, and speculation driving that end of the culture. It is almost as if creativity (questionable) is an indulgence, and not the core driver.

    Photography has always struggled with the idea if whether it is art, and often seems to have a bit of a chip on its shoulder about this question. The problem I have with high end photographic art is that it is trying to deal with the fine art world on their terms, the traditional idea of a unique physical object that cannot be reproduced. Photography has a property that other art dose not, it is more reliably reproducible which should be seen as a strength, particularly in cultural terms (also in market terms for a living creative). Photography, graphic arts and similar crafts are much more culturally significant than fine/high art by any measure (other than exclusivity and elitism based solely on monetary value through rarity).

    Photography, graphic arts and illustration are cultural leaders, the vanguard of cultural expression. This is something that fine art can never be because it is culturally determined by a sub culture that is reactive. Photographic artistic value is diminished if you allow the fine arts cultural norms to be applied to its appreciation, IMHO.
    Regards Noel

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy October 06, 2018

      Hi Noel,

      > If someone has to tell you it’s art then it probably isn’t.

      How true. I can’t remember who wrote that tribune about how young art majors have to put explanations next to each of their photographs because they are so unfathomable without. It was vitriolic.

      > The art world as recognised by the mainstream particularly high end media is largely a fraud that operates like the high end fashion business.

      That’s harsh 😉 Although I do agree that some artists live off complicit media channels and vapid ideas. We all know who they are. To me, if an artist sells to the public, (s)he has earned the right to do whaveter (s)he wants. Those who live only from government grants and political manoeuvering ? Well …

      > It is almost as if creativity (questionable) is an indulgence, and not the core driver.

      Exactly. But I think that, with some education, we can all tell the difference. Most of the artists in galleries have studied art and create art for people who also have. It’s a closed world, but not necessarily a fraudulent one. Some have fantastic ideas (Hiroshi Sugimoto is absolutely fascinating). I only regret the price they are selling their prints. That’s not grounded in anything else than market dynamics, and that’s sad for true artists.

      > Photography has always struggled with the idea if whether it is art, and often seems to have a bit of a chip on its shoulder about this question.

      Yeah. It’s actually quite impressive how most of the famous contemporary photographers are just talking about photography as an art form. As if to justify it’s very existence.

      > The problem I have with high end photographic art is that it is trying to deal with the fine art world on their terms, the traditional idea of a unique physical object that cannot be reproduced. Photography has a property that other art dose not, it is more reliably reproducible which should be seen as a strength, particularly in cultural terms (also in market terms for a living creative). Photography, graphic arts and similar crafts are much more culturally significant than fine/high art by any measure (other than exclusivity and elitism based solely on monetary value through rarity).

      Yes, you mean limited print series ? To me it does seem fair that the buyer who pays (say 3000$) for a photograph can know there won’t be thousands of others in various sizes, tonalities … out there. It’s a trust bond. But I do regret that prices can inflate so fast. I mean we’d all be happy to double our salary. And artists are just doing their jobs. There’s no reason they should starve to be recognised as true artists. Plus people like Hiroshi Sugimoto invest tremendous amounts in research and experimentation. And they have large staffs for retouching. But that doesn’t justify the insane amounts his prints now fetch (last year, in an exhibition in London, they cost 200k to 300k, ouch).

      > Photography, graphic arts and illustration are cultural leaders, the vanguard of cultural expression. This is something that fine art can never be because it is culturally determined by a sub culture that is reactive. Photographic artistic value is diminished if you allow the fine arts cultural norms to be applied to its appreciation, IMHO.

      Hmm, that’s very interesting!!! Are you thinking about distribution through galleries, limited print runs … or something else?

      • Avatar
        NMc October 06, 2018

        >Yes, you mean limited print series ?….
        Not really about any specific presentation or production scheme. To me limited print runs are following the art world of ‘object’ and that is fine, as long as the photographer is clear about the situation. That is just art market and not artistic or cultural value. You can say that some images require specific reproduction or exhibiting conditions to be faithful, if not quite original (scale, paper, tonality, framed image or bound in a book). Is the cultural value of a movie altered by the number of prints and cinema releases? Ok it is now all video but you know what I mean.

        >Hmm, that’s very interesting!!! Are you thinking about distribution through galleries, limited print runs … or something else?
        I was writing about how photography and other graphic crafts are part of life, and is everywhere from the mundane to the leading edge of creativity. Just putting something in a gallery (including a urinal) will not make it intrinsically special or creative. There is lot of contemporary art that is highly derivative of things such as tattoos, photos, computer games or graphic novels, the works may be a unique object when viewed in art curation conditions, but it is still and extraction from a more vital and creative cultural source. Curation may well exclude the more mundane art, and gallery display will control the viewing and appreciation, and, art can be free of the more practical applications and constraints for many graphic crafts. Art, however, struggles to live outside its own little protected bubble. Put another way ‘Art’ is not more valuable than other creative expression.

  4. Avatar
    philberphoto October 06, 2018

    There are so many dimensions to your post, because, in essence, you are attempting to describe your -and our- lives with photographic art.
    Are we photo-hermits, doing “our thing” in isolation?
    Are we photo-groupies, doind whatever our trendy, fashionable crowd is doing?
    Do we NEED to collect to spend our lives immersed in the pics of masters of the art?
    Is photography the ONLY source of inspiration from masters that percolates into our work?
    Is photography about viewing, or making pictures?
    Does a print from “someone else” play the same role as one of our own, if the image is the same?
    Is our photographic activity a voyage, to be considered in a dynamic perspective, or a collection of static moments frozen in time?
    Etc. Etc.
    Thank you for opening such a gigantic can of worms that cane never be closed!
    Let each of my questions be one of the Seven Dwarfs!

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy October 06, 2018

      Yes, tricky subject, and I don’t think there’s a correct approach to it we can all follow. I feel some of your questions have objective responses while others have to be answered differently by everyone.

      > Are we photo-hermits, doing “our thing” in isolation?
      Maybe we are, but I doubt that’s a good thing. Human beings are meant to live in groups. Our health and happiness depend on it.

      > Are we photo-groupies, doind whatever our trendy, fashionable crowd is doing?
      Those who are too afraid to look inside and express themselves probably are.

      > Do we NEED to collect to spend our lives immersed in the pics of masters of the art?
      We don’t need to. I just believe it is far far far more useful and pleasant than looking at other stuff.

      > Is photography the ONLY source of inspiration from masters that percolates into our work?
      No, definitely not. In fact, most photo exhibitions are supremely boring, whereas many painters and architects are fascinating. But that’s a personal thing.

      > Is photography about viewing, or making pictures?
      Technically, it’s about creating prints, not pictures, from something illuminated by light. I just don’t think anything happens in a vaccuum, and that anyone can be any good at it without taking a lot of inspiration from those who have mastered the craft.

      > Does a print from “someone else” play the same role as one of our own, if the image is the same?
      How can the image be the same? If you were both at the same spot and took the exact same picture, then no. But it’s more likely that the two photographs will be different. Except in workshops, where the rule is to do as the master commands.

      > Is our photographic activity a voyage, to be considered in a dynamic perspective, or a collection of static moments frozen in time?
      To me, it’s definitely a dynamic thing. Those who freeze memories think otherwise. I don’t have photographs of my kids, my wife. I have some of my travels, though less and less over time. It’s a personal thing.

  5. Avatar
    Kristian Wannebo October 06, 2018

    > “The artists who create those seemingly easy…”

    Elisabeth Schwarzkopf once said in an interview,
    that music by Mozart was the most difficult to sing,
    because it had to sound so easy.

    – – – – –

    [ BBC pod on the history of photography:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07j699g ]

  6. Avatar
    Kristian Wannebo October 06, 2018

    Well, now, …
    It sometimes (?) seems impossible
    to “collect” art !!??

    https://petapixel.com/2018/10/06/banksy-artwork-self-destructs-after-selling-for-1-4m-at-auction/

    It seems nobody knows yet
    if this piece of *art*
    just evolved or
    was destroyed…
    … and its value, now?

    “A remarkable piece of modern art.”

    (.. as Winston Churchill said after receiving his portrait in parliament on his 80th birthday.)

    ( By the way, quite apart from the price, not for my wall space – but a poster of a photo of “after” might be fun!)

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