Friday, April 27, 2012

Thoughts on the Craft of being an Artist

Kirk Tuck of wrote two very interesting blog posts. The first is about art and digital photography. One sentence really stuck with me:
I hear a lot of people talk about how much better their work is with digital cameras and workflows but I personally don't see this trend reflected in art.  The images that art culture still talks about are mostly done on film. 
The second post is about the changing/changed paradigm of camera use and the fact that most of us churn through our equipment instead of using it for many years.
We’re moving from a craft mentality which demanded a long and detailed mastery of all areas of a discipline into a post-craft world where the latest apps and styles take cultural precedence over perfectionism.
Alain Briot in "Marketing Fine Art Photography" writes at length about the fact that being an artist means constantly pushing toward the 100% perfection mark. In other words, being an artist (or a certain type of artist) is about the "craft mentality".

It takes a lot of time and effort to get from "good enough" to "perfect". If you switch equipment before you get there, you start over again. Because digital encourages switching equipment, far fewer practitioners reach perfection with their equipment than with film.

So maybe the fact that the "images that art culture still talks about are mostly done on film" is not a coincidence?

Afterthought: I am not claiming that it is necessary (or even desirable) to reach perfection to take good photographs. Striving for perfection may, however, be necessary to make Art.

1 comment:

  1. And I would disagree emphatically that one needs to achieve perfection to make good art. Alain Briot services one very small niche which revolves around a modern adaptation of traditional landscape. I interpret his statement about needed to attain perfection to be relevant only to the sale of art to the general public; which of landscape work self selects to rigid quantification and hence perfectionism. The collected works of Robert Frank and Jackson Pollock, William Klein, Pablo Picasso, and many many other repudiate his inference.


I'd love to hear from you! Please remember to keep it civilized.