Images of a Big Island

But, is it Art?

Well, Christian Fletcher’s recent post about art and photography certainly got the natives restless! No doubt, everybody has been thinking about what and how they shoot and I even notice that some are doing their best to capture “ältered landscapes”!
The question about photography and art has been around for ages and many people have tried to answer it, some more successfully than others. I won’t pretend to be an expert on the matter but I will put my two cent’s worth in because like many others I have had a few thoughts running through my tiny brain for the last few days.
Christian did a nice little ‘bait and switch’ by posting an image by Bill Henson which a lot of people thought was Christian heading off with the pixies! Not too many people thought much of Christian’s “new direction”, myself included, because it was not one of the great landscapes that he is noted for.
When Christian revealed that it was in fact an image by an artist who sells photographic ‘art’ for many thousands of dollars and then made the point that that there is much more to photography than great images of the landscapes that surround us, you could just about hear everybody sit bolt upright and start looking at everything through a new prism. A brilliant post!
Christian has a very valid point and photography IS one of the most versatile visual mediums there is, especially in today’s digital world. Just stop and think for a moment of how many different facets of life that photography is used in! Art to Zoology and just about everything in between!
Art, before the camera came along, progressed from charcoal and ochre in a cave to some of the renowned painters like Rembrandt, Picasso and Gaugin just to name a few as well as sculpture. The point is that they were all trying to depict their surroundings through the mediums that was available to them. So, in real terms the camera is just another medium to use, albeit a little more technical than a brush.
After looking at some of Bill Henson’s work, I have decided that he is not my cup of tea but then again neither is Picasso. So I guess that good art is decided by the person standing in front of it.
Which brings me to another point. Peter Lik seems to polarise opinion amongst a lot of photographers especially in Australia! I first became aware of him when I randomly walked into one of his galleries in Noosa a few years ago. I was blown away by some of his images and how they were presented! Some absolutely brilliant stuff. Sure, he is a slightly out there character who probably had ADHD when he was a kid but you can’t deny his enthusiasm and the results he gets which are a result of him going the extra mile to get the images he does. The main difference between him and many other photographers is his ability to promote himself in a market that is amenable to his style. Good on him I say! I suspect that many photographers would like to be in his shoes.
Is he an artist? Sure,why not? He and Bill Henson use cameras in very different ways with very different results but the people who stand in front of their images and are willing to pay lots of money for them will be the ultimate judges of that.
I could go on but I think that is enough from me, just needed to bore you all with that! Sorry!
This image is the first I have shot around the islands for nearly 2 years at a nice little place called Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman Is. I think it is a nice piece of worthless photographic art, maybe you do too!


6 responses

  1. True North Mark

    Top post mate and I totally agree with the comments about branding. Because at the end of the day it are those who market themselves well who will ultimately attract the crowds.

    That is why a 20 YO business is worth far more than a 2 year old business..because the brand is far stronger than the younger company.

    Sweet image too mate!

    May 9, 2011 at 1:20 pm

  2. Thanks Mark, Christian’s post had me thinking for a couple of days and I felt the need to have a say. Not sure if it a lot of sense but it will be interesting to see what people think about it.
    might be a bit more along these lines in my next post!

    May 9, 2011 at 10:55 pm

  3. Its art to me Tim. Great photo. I really just love anything with boats in it. I read through CF’s post as well with great interest and then started thinking that I should be looking to capture some weird arty stuff. However, I remembered that for me photography is an outlet, an escape. I enjoy just standing there on the edge of the water and enjoying the elments and capturing them.

    I feel a deep sense of satisfaction when I am capturing a photo in a magical place and at the end of the day I capture photos for me, not anyone else. I always challenge myself to get sharper shots or better colour, so I’m not satisifed with just staying at the same level I am at but I certainly don’t feel the need to work like Bill Hensen’s.

    May 10, 2011 at 9:42 am

    • You hit the nail on the head there jamie I reckon. At the end of the day it’s all a very subjective decision isn’t it?


      May 10, 2011 at 11:00 pm

  4. I guess if an image/sculpture etc invokes an individuals visual or emotional response be it good or bad, then it is art. Don’t really care about the medium in which it is derived. I think that the debate over photography as an artform stems from the fact that it is very accessible and ‘anyone can push a button’ but that may be changing as whilst everyone now has a decent camera, not everyone can take a decent photo. Some have the gift of seeing images, good light and compositions, along with processing – just like some have the ability to pick up a paintbrush and take to a canvas.
    Lovely light in your image BTW

    May 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm

  5. Couldn’t have said that better myself Andrew! I guess that is what I was trying to say but in a lot more round about way. Bit like some of my images! 🙂

    May 10, 2011 at 11:04 pm

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