How about a big long annoying entry to make up for the absence? [Thursday, Mar. 24, 2005, 4:05 pm]
I've found out that there's going to be a PHOTO SHOW at my little college in a few weeks. All photos submitted must be matted, framed, and wired for hanging. I'm SO doing it, and I don't care how much it costs!
But the question is, which one - the mirror, or the waterfall? Maybe I'll just do both.
Also along the same subject:
One quote that got me thinking was this one: "A unique style...is the byproduct of visual exploration, not its goal."
Basically, I take that to mean that it's not the job of the artist to define their own style. A style is not something you can consciously create. Which makes sense to me, because I don't think I've ever been able to grasp what my "style" is, in photography or writing. All I know is that there are some types of things that I really enjoy photographing, and some concepts that I really enjoy exploring through writing.
One of the discussion questions we were given before reading the website was this: "Why should the photographer be concerned with the audience?"
And of course, me being the individualist that I am, I at first thought that was ridiculous. The artist should never be concerned about the audience, right? I've always thought that art was something created in response to the feelings and thoughts of the artist, and concerning one's self with those who would view the art might lead to the art becomeing less "honest."
After all, Tolkien certainly didn't cater his books to anyone else. Perhaps that's why it took them so long to really catch on with the general public. But since his work is so personal, it's also much more rich, unique, and descriptive. That's why no one else nowadays will be able to write fantasy about wizards, hobbits, elves, and orcs, because Tolkien has already set the standard through being individual.
Okay, I don't know where I was going with that. Getting back to photography: my prof made the point that art is like a two-way conversation, which is why at least some kind of audience is required. He made reference to the old saying, "If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it make a sound?" Changing it around a bit, you could ask, "If an artist creates a piece of art and doesn't show it to anyone, does the art exist?"
These, and many other things discussed, caused me to ponder what art really is. Well, not so much what art itself is. I mean, it's generally accepted that painting, drawing, design, sculpture, and photography are some of the more popular forms of art. And music, writing, quilting, ceramics, and various other mediums are part of the "art" family as well.
But rather, who really decides whether a piece is art or isn't? Is it the artists themselves? Believe me, there have been some pretty sad excuses for art created, in my opinion, so is the word of the "artist" enough to categorize their work as art? I really wouldn't say so.
Then, is it the job of the elite groups of art connoisseurs to decide what is art and what isn't? It's true that some people are incredibly knowledgable about art and have studied artwork for many years. But does that make them eligible to decide whether something created is art or not? Should a good review by the New York Times automatically categorize a musical album or movie as "art"?
I don't like to say it, but I've personally come to the conclusion that the status of artwork can really only be determined by the "audience." I'm sure some would disagree with me, but think about it: when we study a history of art, photography, painting, or especially music, why do we study the particular artists that we do? Isn't it because they were the most popular of their time period?
If we were to do a chronological study of the history of American music for example (several years from now), wouldn't we have to cover "artists" such as Britney Spears and Nsync? I certainly don't think that anything Britney Spears does is art, but I'd think she would be studied simply for the same reason that Bach and Strauss would be studied in a history of classical music: popularity.
That probably didn't make much sense, so to be more concise, whose job is it to say what should be considered art and what shouldn't? Is it the artist, the connoisseurs and the critics, or the people? Or, is an item's artistic status something that can only be determined by the viewer? If so, how many viewers must say the item is art in order to make it generally accepted as such?
Or maybe it's all subjective and I'm just rambling on and on for no reason. Regardless, I found it an interesting concept to think about.
"Just remember that money will never make you happy. And happy will never make you money. That might be a wisecrack, but I doubt it."
-Groucho Marx- and sorry if I've done that one before. He just said so many funny things that I can't keep track of them all...
Vitality - Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009