TWiP 393 – Is Photography Art?

This week, Nicole Young and Brian Matiash join Frederick to discuss a journalist's take on the world's most expensive photograph and whether it's art or not. Plus Nicole gives up on exclusivity with iStock and our panel has their picks of 2014.

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Picks of the Year

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  1. Ahh, but you missed the crucial issue: Photography can be Art or it can be Craft. Photographer can be an Artist or he could be a Craftsman. Neither should be seen as “lesser”, just a vocation choice.
    How do you tell? Art is indeed in the eye of beholder, but there are some important principles of Art that are being eroded in modern times. We conveniently forgot about those nowadays.
    Craftsman makes a product, main purpose is that it is sellable. Craftsman does want his work to be artistic, it improves sell-ability. However, he/she refuses artistic concept of sharing as it impact his bottom line and control of his product. Craftsman may choose not to allow some artist to creatively re-use his product. And he should have every right to do so. Craftsman will likely refuse to share his product for creative re-use for free, again with every right to do so. It is product. For sale. Most modern Photographers are, hence, great Craftsman. Nothing against them or their craft. But many of them want presently perceived prestigious title of “Artist”.
    Fundamental property of Art is that its creation is primarily for sharing of art, with ability to earn from it but with understanding that it is just a cog in general machine of Art and that a fundamental part of it is creative sharing and re-use with no limits for future advancement. How many copies were made of Mona Lisa just during Leonardo’s life? How many lawsuits by Leonardo about that? Because he knew that as Artist it was not just in creating the item of Art to be sold but in providing education, training, platform for the future art. If it is not clear even to modern Artists/Craftsman that Leonardo would never dream of charging for “right” to copy or reuse his art or God forbid, ban such action… it is a sad time for Arts.
    To summarize: Photographer is Artist if he unquestionably, freely and always allows his work to be copied, re-interpreted and re-used by other Artists, even Craftsman. Photographer is a Craftsman if he makes a protected product for sale and keeps complete and utmost control of it. If you create Art, only the Art keeps the controls.

  2. Pick of the week comment:
    If you’re looking for a camera strap that holds two cameras, I’ve recently got the BlackRapid Yeti.. I carry the 5D3/85-1.2 in one, and the X100T on the other. Great for photowalks when I want to just go without carrying a bag.

  3. Just catching up to podcasts from the holiday, but wanted to add this:

    To the photographer wondering about moving to a single laptop: yes this is totally do-able and can be really great. If, like me, you are really only at home on a desktop, there is a great solution (for Apple users, which this person is): I swear by the TwelveSouth BookArc. It is a classy looking stand for a closed Macbook Pro. In truth, you don’t need the stand, but you absolutely need to close the Macbook. There’s a setting that allows the computer to run if connected to a display while closed that makes all of the difference…

    The Macbook Pro has a great video card, but it gets sluggish if it has to drive two displays. By getting an Apple Cinema display (or better yet, a large 4k display that’s better in every way and also cheaper) and closing the laptop (who wants to run dual displays with such differing sizes anyway), you get the full power of your system. The BookArc handles cable management and clears up a lot of desk real estate. I bought a second power adapter and now my setup looks like this:

    One power adapter lives with the desk, along with the display and keyboard (bluetooth magic mouse). My primary external drive, with nonessential files like my iTunes library lives on the desk. This frees up as much internal storage as possible. I have additional drives that I often connect, but that I may take with me (work drives). When I’m home, the laptop goes in the stand and I plug in the power, monitor, keyboard, and home drive, as well as any work drives I’m using. When I leave, my laptop bag already has an additional adapter, and I can toss in one or two work drives as need be. The switch takes 30 seconds, everything is clean, my desk has loads of free space, and the power of my system isn’t compromised.

    The key really is closing the MacBook, and, for me, the stand that keeps everything so unobtrusive. Apart from the new 5k iMac, this setup with a 4k display is as good or better than any iMac, just as natural, and is also portable as well. A true win-win.

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