Image by: Ira Goldstein
Black and White Photo
This is a difficult question for me as a painter. When I see a “Call to Artist” for a juried show, I tend to look and see if the show will have category awards for Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Woodworking, Photography and the like. I would consider entering the show if that is the case. I have been to many “juried shows” with open categories and wined up seeing that, of the six or so awards in the show, three or four of the merit awards were photographs. Either the juror is a photographer themselves or the rest of the offered fine art work is not up to snuff. This is very disheartening to a majority of the classic entries of paintings, sculptures or drawings. I consider the fine arts different than a photograph in that the photo is developed from an instrument that replicates reality through the cameras eye while the fine art entries are originated through the minds eye of the artist.
The other part of me, when viewing the work of Ansell Adams for example, looks at his photographs and definitely sees it as “Art.” What separates his work is that his compositions were stylized with the shadowed foregrounds in many of his photographs. This has become iconic with his work. It’s not the photo as much as it is the style of the composition that creates the sense of “Art” for me. So in the final analysis I do not consider basic photography “Art” unless the photographer has a defined style that has been incorporated in their work.
Photography is absolutely art!
It takes a keen eye for texture, line, composition and subject matter to take a great photo. There is a ton of creativity that enters in when working with photography either in the field, in the studio or in the development process in the darkroom, or even in the early stages of concept. These are all factors in making or creating a good painting as well. An artist in either choice of materials must push their ideas beyond what has already been created and make something new or different. Each artist faces the same challenges in the creation process by asking questions and solving the problems encountered along the way.
I do think that each process belongs in their own category when it comes to museums or juried shows. I think paintings should compete with paintings, sculpture should compete with sculpture, photography should compete with photography, etc.