“Its not art its a TV” The father had replied to his daughter who had only moments earlier zeroed in on my 42” inch screen and happily said……..
“lets watch this daddy!”
Now I was already engaged in a conversation with somebody else who was explaining to me that photography really isn’t fine art. So I was unable to respond to the father that quickly shooed his daughter away from my 42” LCD display of my works. But that’s OK. This is 2015 and I can respond in any way I see fit.
So I’m going to tackle both of these issues respectfully one by one.
The father of the child said “Its not art, its tv.” And I understand that in the context of his conversation with his daughter he was steering her in the direction he wanted to go. But in his attempt to steer his daughter he was also wrongfully stereotyping a thing. To say that what was on that screen isn’t really art is very much along the same lines of the following statements.
“Fords really aren’t vehicles.”
“Black people aren’t really as smart as white people.”
“Women aren’t as good or as as men.”
Now to make things very clear I’m using these statements as examples of the type of narrow minded thinking his statement could lead to. I think it’s safe to assume the father wasn’t trying to be disrespectful in any way but the lesson learned here could be a bad one down the line.
Lets move on to the second conversation. Photography isn’t really “fine art”. I won’t get into the details of who said this because to do so would be disrespectful to those involved in the conversation but I will address the topic in a general manner.
I think to clear this issue up I need to first define what “art” is. And for that I will lean on wikipedia.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Art is a diverse range of human activities and the products of those activities, usually involving imaginative or technical skill. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.
-snip- Wikipedia goes on for several paragraphs here on the general category of “art”. I think this first bit was enough for the scope of my rant. We have established a baseline here. We all know what art is now.
Now lets move on to fine art. And again I’m going to use wikipedia simply because the wiki states in much more articulate terms what “fine art” is than I could ever expound within my own vernacular.
The second, and more recent, sense of the word art as an abbreviation for creative art or fine art emerged in the early 17th century. Fine art refers to a skill used to express the artist’s creativity, or to engage the audience’s aesthetic sensibilities, or to draw the audience towards consideration of more refined or finer work of art.
Within this latter sense, the word art may refer to several things: (i) a study of a creative skill, (ii) a process of using the creative skill, (iii) a product of the creative skill, or (iv) the audience’s experience with the creative skill. The creative arts (art as discipline) are a collection of disciplines which produce artworks (art as objects) that are compelled by a personal drive (art as activity) and convey a message, mood, or symbolism for the perceiver to interpret (art as experience). Art is something that stimulates an individual’s thoughts, emotions, beliefs, or ideas through the senses. Works of art can be explicitly made for this purpose or interpreted on the basis of images or objects. For some scholars, such as Kant, the sciences and the arts could be distinguished by taking science as representing the domain of knowledge and the arts as representing the domain of the freedom of artistic expression.
Often, if the skill is being used in a common or practical way, people will consider it a craft instead of art. Likewise, if the skill is being used in a commercial or industrial way, it may be considered commercial art instead of fine art. On the other hand, crafts and design are sometimes considered applied art. Some art followers have argued that the difference between fine art and applied art has more to do with value judgments made about the art than any clear definitional difference. However, even fine art often has goals beyond pure creativity and self-expression. The purpose of works of art may be to communicate ideas, such as in politically, spiritually, or philosophically motivated art; to create a sense of beauty (see aesthetics); to explore the nature of perception; for pleasure; or to generate strong emotions. The purpose may also be seemingly nonexistent.
The last part of this paragraph to me is the most important
“Fine art often has goals beyond pure creativity and self-expression. The purpose of works of art may be to communicate ideas, such as in politically, spiritually, or philosophically motivated art; to create a sense of beauty (see aesthetics); to explore the nature of perception; for pleasure; or to generate strong emotions.”
I have quietly been involved in the arts my entire life. I spent a number of years painting and exploring the world of paint. And were circumstances to be different in my life I’m fairly certain that I would pick up the brush and start painting again. However right now my photography and the engagement between me and my audience through my photographs is my focus. And from my point of view that last statement alone clearly fits within the category of fine art. To those that would be dismissive of photography as a part of the fine art community I can only tell you that you by your very statements are defining the very thing you are being dismissive about. By identifying a photograph, my photograph as not being “fine art” you are engaging emotionally in the process by which fine art is defined.
See you at the art show!
PS goto http://images.google.com type in “fine art photography”