« Anti-Posing | Main | Open Mike: Sleep Apnea »

Friday, 27 January 2023


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Hi MJ,
it sounds so true: „Creative people find what they need.“ Hope to be among them. Thanks a lot for this article and in particular for mentioning all those outstanding photographers. There is almost ever someone new and his / her work to discover for me. Regards
Helmut the Austrian.

Yeah, they are tools for creative endeavors, and everything evolves as time passes. I continue to shoot 4x5 black & white film for art projects (35+ years) and digital for various reasons, one being to 'create' some moolah.

Agreed, although... I really dread seeing the "fine-art" photographer nomenclature, nine(.99) times outta ten it's technique over content- a Beatles cover ever so sadly and meticulously reproduced note for note.

Michael A. Smith with his 8x10 view camera

The ground glass proportions indicate that's likely his 8x20, not 8x10.

[Yes, very sorry for the error, that was a typo. Fixed now. --Mike]

Camera industry changes?! Pfft. That’s so early 21st! The AI tech industry is moving at lightning pace in so many simultaneous directions only old fogies will actually use cameras to make most pictures soon. *

* Not really an exaggeration. Many segments of the ad world have long ago replaced expensive studio and location photo shoots with 3D modeling composites straight from the product design stream. Augmenting with AI-generated material is a no-brainer. Say goodbye to the $100k shoot days!

Like most artists, I have never had money for these "toys" - even worse, I have been married and on a budget. So I've bought 4 Nikons over 50 years. I splurged horribly on the D800 new as a retirement present when it listed in 2011.
I just got a small inheritance and I'm 70 and I want a new toy! (It's still more luck than choice.) My wife approved when I explained that the flip-out screen would let me take low-angle shots without her help to get back up... I'm just waiting for Nikon to say EOL for the F-system and put the D850 on sale. I have good F lenses; I'll stay. BTW, as purchase advice which company gives you the best kickback? This is your fault anyway, keeping me thinking about cameras....

I've been thinking a few of the same things, though much less coherently. I like the term art photographer a little more than fine art photographer (which to me sounds like a job you get in a museum, photographing fine art for the web site). Creative photographer is not bad. It's better than "creative," which I really hate in noun form (would all the creatives please gather on this side of the room). A pomp of creatives (collective noun). Artistic photographer just sounds bad, like you have to spell it out (please believe me, I really am). In the end, photographer, plain and simple, works for me. Let others figure out the adjectives.

First of all, Michael A. Smith needs to be a lot more careful! Yikes. One gust of wind and he and his camera are the reason someone installs a fence at that cliff edge.

I enjoyed your thoughts in this post. Often when we do the "there are two kinds of people" thing we simplify too much; I thought you found a nice balance here.

Having said that, I do think there's room to do some more sorting in your "art photographer" category. To my mind, these people are photographers, in that the photograph is still the valued and respected product of their work.

In contrast, there are lots of artists who use cameras and/or photographs in their art making who don't think of themselves as photographers at all. If your art photographers are generally unconcerned by the winds of change that blow through photography, these folks are utterly disinterested, and likely view cameras and photographs as only a stage in their practice, or just one element that gets mixed in with other media. They just don't care.

I'm not sure this adds much, if anything, to your point. But I personally find it helps me make sense of how photographic images are used in contemporary art. I like photography, so I find it hard to relate to a lot of the work that is produced by contemporary artists who happened to use a camera.

I like to think of myself as an art photographer, often when I introduce myself to others I say that I'm a photographer and I will sometimes further explain if the person is interested that I'm an art photographer. But sometimes I also tell them at one time I worked as a newspaper photographer. Then the conversation can get really long if I start explaining what camera equipment I use. If the people listening are not photographers they will be bored at this point.

As graphic designer I always worked with ‘art photographers’ when I had the chance. But they never presented themselves as such. The ones who did were not.

I think we should call ourselves what we are, artists, if that is what we are.

One of the more interesting examples of how “artists often use tools in unintended ways” was Polaroid SX-70 manipulations -using blunt instruments to alter the still developing image to create an impressionistic derivative, there are artist/photographers such as Michael Going that worked almost exclusively this way... Not sure what Edwin Land thought about it but given that he was such a visionary himself I imagine he would have admired that additional expression that his invention provided...

@Kenneth Tanaka -- one might surmise the high-end 'pro' camera (etc) market is going to shrink precipitously, there are only so many doctors, dentists and lawyers to support the thing.

"I don't really know. Do you want me to go look?" -- my kind of photographer!

"You can always tell a poser: they have pricey wheels and a cover over the bed of the truck to make sure it says perfectly clean."

I have bed cover on my pickup because I've found that it's really useful for covering up and securing the Pelican cases containing my cameras because without the cover, people could, you know, just reach into the bed and take them out.

I guess that makes me a poser.

How does that 8x20 camera work? Is that a Fresnel lens?

Is Art Photography like Art Painting?

[If you mean art painting as opposed to house painting or finger painting—IOW, a useful distinction—then yes. --Mike]

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007