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| p.1 #10 · Lyle Rexer's talk on Photography |
So did you watch the videos? Don't go by my assessment. I have virtually no formal training.
I watched most from the link. I also watched some other videos on YouTube. I did some more reading and found that Lyle and I would take some of the same photography books to a desert island, especially the book with the photographs of Jacques Henri Lartigue. Others on my list include the work of Frederick Evans, Clarence White, Diane Arbus, Bill Owens and Cindy Sherman, who he mentioned.
You statement regarding formal training implies some doubt on your part on the appropriateness to respond.
Do you need to be formally trained to have a valid opinion? Let's consider music appreciation. I like all types of music. I feel my training as musician and my knowledge of music theory enhances my enjoyment of some types of music, but that knowledge is not necessary for me or anybody else to be emotionally engaged or moved by it. By the same token, there is some music, for instance 12 tone music, that I find as an interesting concept but I can't stand to listen to. Mark Twain's famous quip is an excellent summary: "Wagner's music is actually better than it sounds."
I encourage you to have an open mind and look at different types of photography, but if you don't like it, don't feel it's because you're not educated enough or sophisticated enough.
Art Center has a well respected Fine Art course of study both in photography and other media. I enjoyed the fine art courses I took while I was pursuing my degree.
Of course we'll never agree on the definition of "Fine Art" photography. My definition is that it is photography that is done because the photographer can't help themselves. Clarence White and Jacques Henri Lartigue are excellent examples. They aren't shooting for photojournalistic reasons or on commission to create an image in a commercial environment (portrait, wedding, commercial/industrial, etc.). Using that defintion, I define myself as a fine art photographer because I am solely motivated by my love of photography and the need to create images.
Even commercial photography can become fine art. One of my favorite photo books is "Champion Pig", a collection of commercial photographs taken by local commercial photographers in the 1950's. Many of the photos are as surrealistic as anything done by Diane Arbus.
Although not all those involved in "Fine Art" photography are like this, I've noticed some traits that leave me cold. They are:
1)Self Importance - They think they are the cat's meow.
2) The "E" words - Elitism and Effeteism. Many think they are "above" the rest of us and put down people who are so coarse that they use photography to make a buck.
3)Pseudo-Intellectionalism. They make an industry of producing dense writings with convuluted language that would make Washington's best bureaucrats proud.
Personally, I have no time for navel gazing. I'm too busy doing, not talking about it.