Is Photography Art? And is Art a Commercial Endeavour.

These two questions were the central focus area of this weeks investigation.

 Andreas Gursky’s Rhein II fetched £2.7m in 2011, setting a record for any photograph sold at auction. Photograph: Andreas Gursky/AP Photo/Christie’s

The question of whether photography is art was initially raised in 1853 at the Photographic Society in London. And as the Guardian succinctly stated in 2012 “over the past few decades the question has been heard with ever decreasing frequency. When Andreas Gursky’s photograph of a grey river Rhine under an equally colourless sky sold for a world record price of £2.7 million last year, the debate was effectively over. As if to give its own patrician signal of approval, the National Gallery is now holding its first major exhibition of photography, Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present (Prodger, 2012).” A teacher and student guide is available at https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/media/13679/notes_seduced-by-art.pdf

Many art museums and private galleries, now have collections of photography, host exhibitions and preserve the photographs for the prosperity. a great number of photographs have found their way into private collections. They adorn the walls of restaurants and private homes and is proliferated on the internet and social media. It is now unequivocally understood as a unique art form that may be closely associated with painting. And finally, the ability of this art form to generate and income for its practitioner has been effectively illustrated. My Photography business slogan “The Art of capturing Dreams” was justified when I learned that the documentary genre is well-represented at MOMA.

The unresolved debate, which applies to artistic endeavours, is around what is the measure of great art. Is it a commercial validation, i.e what will someone pay for it, or the authenticity of the vision that the artist wishes to present in his art? Or is it the difference in mastery and skill of the artist? This week has buttoned it up for me… it is all of the above or none. Artworks are assessed and curated but in itself protest against such an evaluation as each individual shouts out to be heard in this highly populated and saturated world. Photography has become the predominate voice available to all that which to participate.

This week reinforced the idea that, as a photographic artist, we need to retain our authorship and develop our own unique voice. This week’s lectures, interviews and readings presented the case that this artistic endeavour may lead to commercial success, as it is sought after in the industry. However, it comes with a caveat, commercial success may lead to its demise. I have come to realise that photographic artists should endeavour to ideally control their authorship and creative influence in commissions or do personal projects to grow it.

Reference

Prodger, M. (2012). Photography: is it art?. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/oct/19/photography-is-it-art [Accessed 22 Oct. 2019].

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