“I had a conversation with a young photographer last week — a recent MFA photography graduate who shall remain nameless. Hopefully forever. I suggested that his work would be seen, compared, and judged in the context of those who had done similar work before him, for example Edward Weston. To which he responded, “Who?” I was nonplussed. How is it possible to have earned an MFA in photography and never heard of Edward Weston? Are they not teaching photographic history anymore? Curious, I asked him. He explained, “It was an elective, but I didn’t take it.”—A Milestone, of Sorts - LensWork Daily
“Artwork itself may be a lousy investment, but selling it (and advising on it and being an art-world consigliere) can be pretty profitable. Because each piece of fine art is unique and can’t be owned by anybody else, it does a more powerful and subtle job of signaling wealth than virtually any other luxury good. High prices are, quite literally, central to the signal — you don’t spend $120 million to show that you’re a savvy investor who’s hoping to flip a Munch for $130 million. You’re spending $120 million, in part, to show that you can blow $120 million on something that can’t possibly be worth that much in any marketplace.”—How the Art Market Thrives on Inequality - NYTimes.com
“Though photographers have always used lighting, hair, makeup and darkroom tricks to create glamour, what passes for beautiful in ads today has changed dramatically because of the advent of Photoshop, says Dartmouth College’s Hany Farid, a computer science professor who studies photo manipulation. Advertisers, he says, “have been playing a very dirty game.” He sees the modern retouching aesthetic as moving toward a Barbie doll ideal for women and G.I. Joe for men. “They know they’re crossing the line. I think they’re starting to see the writing on the wall.”—Will New Attitudes and Regulatory Oversight Hit Delete on Photo Retouching in Print Ads? | Adweek
“If photography is allowed to supplement art in some of its functions, it will soon have supplanted or corrupted it altogether….its true duty..is to be the servant of the sciences and arts – but the very humble servant, like printing or shorthand, which have neither created nor supplemented literature….”—Baudelaire, The Salon of 1859
“What I would say to that is that what’s happening with mainstream photography is that it’s becoming much more about experience than documenting. It’s about sharing current experience and rather than creating a document for record there is something very different about posting an image on Facebook and either making an album of your family that sits around for years, or creating a document in a journalistic archive such as Questions Without Answers which is then referenced as evidence of history. Posting images on Facebook becomes this stream where tomorrow it’s gone, in the next hour even it’s gone. It’s just about participating in the moment so it’s a very different form of coverage. But again it doesn’t replace the old.”—Stephen Mayes on the future of photo journalism | Photography
“You might find them interesting, and not at all controversial, if you came upon them without knowing about The Americans (in fact, had I seen them without their title, it would have taken me a while to figure out they were taken from the book). For that reason alone, I cannot get worked up about whether they are theft, provocation or an insult, but they do intrigue me as another example of how artists are grappling with the surfeit of images now available to us on the internet. It seems hardly surprising that the brilliant is being appropriated alongside the banal, but, in this case, it seems more an odd form of admiration than disrespect.”—Mishka Henner’s erased images: art or insult?
“Sometimes life is hard. Things go wrong — and in life, and in love, and in business, and in friendship, and in health, and in all the other ways in which life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Someone on the internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid, or evil, or it’s all been done before? Make good art.”—Neil Gaiman
“Back to my original point — the tsunami of media. Ultimately, I’m encouraged by this because I believe in the merit system. Quality in artwork is still a commodity that is appreciated by some — although arguably a diminishing minority. The larger the tsunami of mediocre artwork, the higher the rising tide that pushes the best to even higher accomplishments. Finding them, of course, amidst the tidal debris can be a challenge — can be our challenge as producers. This is one of the reasons I place so much emphasis on finding an audience for our work and why I developed my workshop on this topic. As the flood of images continues to grow, the efforts we need to get our work seen must expand to keep pace.”—Brooks Jensen, We Are All Producers Now
“That’s also a question in photography and the arts. Beyond making a living, is there a value in making work in and of itself. I suppose it depends on the work, but my answer is yes. I look at the recent book boom, the work being made, the people involved in it. It seems to me that the value of this resides somewhere in the community and the energy of that work, the smaller networks that have been created, the sense of possibility and freedom of expression that are being opened up. I don’t think there is a value that can be put on that - neither a monetary value, nor a value that is founded on earlier norms of photobook publishing. Rather it is part of new potentials (and even though all the book publishing efforts have been done before - well, it wasn’t quite the same was it) which will also have a worth that cannot and should not be measured in dollars or pounds or euros. And to its credit, it’s not trying to be measured in dollars or pounds or euros - which is an achievement in itself.”—Colin Pantall’s blog: What Money Can’t Buy
Do you ever find the sheer volume of good photography/photographers completely overwhelming?
Yes, of course. I think we all do unless we’ve made the choice to completely ignore everything, which I don’t think is a good idea.
Exposure to more photography forces you to think about what type of work inspires you and makes you think. It’s also just plain old good for the soul to keep exploring and continuously challenge yourself. It seems the wisdom that’s trickled down from our photography elders says that this exploration never really ends, so we should probably embrace it sooner than later and not worry about the sheer volume of good photography/photographs. And when it does get overwhelming get your ass off the internet, go for a walk with your camera and then get drunk with your friends.
“Like it or not, we have an official visual culture, and that culture is determined by an entrenched hierarchy. This is no different from any other historical era, though the hierarchy has evolved from emperors, popes, cardinals and kings to museum directors, biennial curators, collectors, gallery owners and select members of the media.”—Worker Bees of the Art World, Unite