Photography be seen that photographers who are

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Photography and
painting both take elements from
Modernism, albeit in vastly different ways. Photographers seek realism whilst Painters
have abandoned realism in “favour of conceptual abstraction” (Mireles. John
Raymond, 2017). When this difference between the mediums is understood, it can
be seen that photographers who are influenced by the Modernist traditions that
demonstrate beautifully recreated reality through their work have a hard time
accepting work that rejects this reality. As the Modernism Art Movement
governed the world of professional photographers, it became abandoned by most
artists that used photography as a medium. Rather than using compositions and the
“magic hour”, also called the “golden hour” (Photography Mad) which is a time
of day that provides with the best light to take exquisite photographs, photographers
embraced a perspective to look at all of their compositions objectively. The standard
concept in art photography is to capture images of common subjects using
ordinary light. “What the art world considers ‘art”. Photographers often
consider boring” (Mireles, John Raymond, 2017). Since the artwork has become
less important than the fundamental conceptual value, art photographers do not
need to create images anymore. An example of this is Richard Prince’s “Untitled
(cowboy)” (The Met, 2000- 2017) image, in which he took a photo “of an old
Marlboro ad from the 70’s” (Mireles. John Raymond, 2017). It has been altered
from its original context, and now represents a “deconstruction of American
archetype.” His work, the “picture is a copy (the photograph) of a copy (the
advertisement) of a myth (the cowboy)” (The Met, 2000- 2017) exhibits
plagiarism, but has been overlooked and has now sold for $3.4 million at an
auction in New York. According to John Raymond, a Photographic Artist from San
Diego, it has brought disgust to
“photographers and the entire contemporary art photography genre” (Mireles.
John Raymond, 2017).

“in essence,
the contemporary art world is essentially saying to photographers, ‘all the
things you care about: technical mastery, creative composition and even
originality of content, no longer matters’.”
What seems to matter to curators, reviews and gallery directors, the analysts
of the contemporary art world, “is how the work and the concept behind the work
references cues within the culture, philosophy and other art works, present and
past” (Mireles. John Raymond, 2017).


Painting and three- dimensional art is all part
of an equation that sums up photography, contemporary art and their
relationship between each other. It seems that these mediums are moving away
from crafts and realism. Art began to focus on analysing concepts and
philosophies, which is made very apparent in today’s art work as it is part of the
fine art curriculum that it is required to demonstrate how we achieved our
work, and what inspired us. However, it seems that it is less focused on advancing
art and its aesthetic merit, and more about demonstrating research and
interpretation skills. Postmodern art perfectly demonstrates this, as it is all
about taking apart and analysing historical perspectives as well as attacking
traditional narratives. “Basically,
you have no idea what you’re looking at nor how to judge it unless you read the
often densely written artist statement affixed to the nearly wall.” This is
ridiculous, the idea that the
audience must read additional information such as the statement in order to
understand the artwork “contradicts those Modernist values held dear to
photographers” which is the idea that a photograph should be complete
with what you see in the image and the context behind it (Mireles.
John Raymond,2017). Neal Rantoul, a 72-year-old Photographic Artist and
Educator, states from his past experience that around “20- 30 years ago” if you
went to a photography “show at MoMA or the Met, SF Modern, ID in Chicago, or
even the Whitney” would often display a row of framed photographs, with a brief
statement with the artist’s biographical data and the title of the work which
most of the time was the place and the year the photograph was made. “That was
it.” The idea was that the photograph would stand on its own, and had to be
observed and “understood on their own terms”. Things have changed a lot,
however. If you attended a MFA graduate show or a portfolio review session,
most of the works would be impossible to understand without a written or verbal
statement of what the artist has created. “I always have a sense that I am
joining the telling of a story in the middle, trying to play catch-up.” In most
cases, if the photographs were separated from the description, you would have
difficulty understanding what is going on. Rantoul’s theory is that “most of
the new art photography these days comes from MFA grads who have studied the
medium, not only its practice (although not enough) but its theory, its
criticism, its analysis. As the medium’s craft has become easier, more fluid
and automatic, mastery of the technical and visual has become less important.”
Photography is everywhere now and anyone can be a photographer with simple cameras
such as an iPhone, which can provide exquisite results that allows the user to
explore concepts that have not been looked into yet compared to 5 years ago.
New explorations are amazing, however it would be better if there were less
words and better photographs. The text that tells the story of the photograph
is boring and “condescending,” it tells me how I should view the image “rather
then letting the photograph do the talking” (Rantoul. Neal, 2016). 

Categories: Artists


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