The title of the post is the name of one of the presentations at the BPB14, the current Brighton Photo Biennial.
Ought to be the name of a category. There's nothing wrong with making money not art, but I've always been a little uneasy about conflations of the two. A commercial photographer once showed me some alarmingly dreadful photographs mimicking Vermeer paintings and asked me, "Can you guess who my inspiration was?" You can't be in photography and mind bad pictures--anyone can do whatever he or she wants to do--but that comment...no. Imitation isn't inspiration. An art photography show at the Corcoran Museum once included Bruce Weber, the then-super-hot fashion photographer. Weber's work should have had a disclaimer attached--"for making money."
I've always felt--perhaps have only imagined--that it's not that hard to detect the impulse behind any kind of work--meaning, how the person or persons who made it felt about it and what they meant it for. Sometimes I think it's almost where I start when I come to new work. If you can't trust the impulse, how can you trust the pictures? At the very least, speaking just for myself, I need to know that the creator has some cognizance, some respect, for the truth behind appearances. Work made to make money almost never does, and that's just not all that difficult to see.
Mike, getting better at typing on the iPad
Addendum: I'm not saying here that there's anything wrong with moneymaking photography. Actually I have a lot of admiration for that. It takes a lot of dedication and intelligence and skill and knowledge and yes, talent! I can't say that one kind of photography is better than another. I really don't think it is. There's surely as much bad and cynical and pretentious art photography as there is any other kind. But I like to know – or get a feeling for – what I think the photographer was up to. What he or she was doing. What the aim was. What the concern was, or what the photographer was after. I think you can sense these things when you look at the work. Sometimes you're not clear about it right away, but if you think about it a little, sometimes you can figure it out.
How about the only thing I can say for sure is that dictating into the iPad is not the right way to investigate the matter! I feel like I'm tapping out Morse code on the concrete wall of a prison cell. :-) maybe I'll undertake to write more about this when I'm back home behind my beloved Microsoft ergonomic keyboard.