Artists are often looked up to, they exude a presence and can be showered with accolades for setting a style or trend. Photographers often set trends as well, but are not anywhere near as recognized as those with a brush. Although those draconian times are changing, we as photographers, do need to ask, are we truly artistic in our execution?. Do we truly represent creators of the mystique, by simply recording a scene, instead of constructing it, stroke by stroke?. If we can acknowledge and accept this as true, then the everyone else will accept it as well, correct? See, I know a lot of photographers, and many are so much better than they think.
With such a confidence problem aside, is it that the world of photography, has gotten so out of touch with reality via the sheer amount of access to digital manipulation devices in today's world, that our buyers and admirers can no longer relate between the fantasy created and the reality captured. I can hear all of the digital artists out there, sharpening their knives, "YES!! of course we are artists!!", and so are photographers. I certainly regard myself as an artist, of various forms and various styles. Many of us are multi-skilled in our art. So why is it, that our art is not seen as art by many in the art community?
Photography is often overlooked by curators as not worthy of an art gallery exhibition. I know, I've experienced it, and it can hurt. Maybe we need to hold more exhibitions independently and avoid the art galleries altogether, or as I suspect, maybe we just need to get better at selling ourselves as artists as well as photographers. It's funny, I know a few photographers in the US, who attend just about every art fair there is. They sell their work individually, and in bulk, on wholesale assignment, on canvas, which is becoming more and more popular. Many great portrait studios do the same, selling their family packages on canvas. It seems that canvas may have allowed photography to jump on the art band wagon just a little.
All this makes me ask though, if I'm an artist, how can I promote my art when no-one seems to take me seriously, since Uncle Tony with the 1000D now calls himself a photographer as well?. Crazy as it sounds, but in Australia, artists are regarded as a little challenged in the mentality stakes, unlike places such as Europe, who embrace the creativeness of an "installation" of photography, composed of images taken on an iPhone or a "documentary viewing" of victims of war atrocities. I struggle with this Australian kind of negative openness to the creative arts, sometimes. We often spend a hell of a lot of time, setting up an image, checking our technical aspects, taking the shot, checking the shot, adjusting the set for another shot, and then editing it to perfection. Then, the teenager down the road, buys an iPhone application that distorts, colourizes, crops and enlarges an image all within a few seconds. Both of these are just as much an artistic feat, as much as any other creative. That's what makes art, art. The love of creating something cool, wild, strange and exciting. Capturing an image is creative. We create a view that maybe no-one else has seen, or can get access to see. I love creating photo's for this very reason, whether its an opportunistic capture or a completely staged commercial advertising shot.
I do believe two things are at war though, technology and the photographer. As technology advances so it becomes easier to do things of a far greater complexity. With such advancements now being accessible to everyone with a computer, the artistic side of photography seems to be getting lost in the term "manipulation". Photographers must keep up with these advancements and remain in the forefront of technology, to keep their businesses alive, let alone the industry. As for those getting started, remember art and photography are both subjective, one man's trash is another man's treasure, and quite often a single image can spark outrage, confusion, almost even war. The mere act of creating a photograph is by itself a definition of art. Experimenting with light, shape and texture are all mainstays of any art curriculum. It may take you a sheer moment to capture or a week to prepare, either way, by you pressing the shutter, you are recording for presentation a subject to be shared. Imagine what Ansel Adams was thinking when he created images of Half Dome in the mighty Yosemite National Park. Did he regard himself as an artist, at the time he pressed the shutter. I'm sure he did, but if he didn't, he sure as hell is now. This alone is proof that photography is art. It has and will continue to stand the test of time, alongside, the Van Gogh's, and Renoir's.
I find it empowering that in capturing an image, I may be the only person, to have seen that particular moment, never to be repeated, and I have the evidence of it occurring. Why would I not want to share that. In doing so, I am an artist, not with brush, or with palette knife, but with a camera. Using a 2 second shutter speed on the shoreline, can create the closest thing to a painter brush stroke across the waves. Try it. The more times we can express what we do is photographic art, the more serious we may be taken, over time, a long time.
To attend a photography workshop with Multi Award Winning Photographer Steve Rutherford visit http://www.steverutherfordtraining.com.au or to read more on photography techniques subscribe to the FREE online photography magazine "Photographic Fanatic Magazine" visit http://www.photographicfanatic.com
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