Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

A few statements.

Mon Nov 9, 2009, 8:00 AM
Here, I am going to try and clarify what i look for in photographs, and  what i can accept to feature as a DD.
I have noticed that even if i did a folder on my page with all my past DDs, people keep suggesting things that are nowhere near what i enjoy.

So yes, i have to be clearer.

Photography, painting and music are very similar, in the way that you can be a total amateur and still be able to say if you like it or not. Because art gives you feelings, sensations, it brings back memories, it makes you fantasize, it confuses you, it makes you think.
Some art even gives you the illusion that it makes you think, when in fact it only highlights something that was already your opinion, and very often an opinion shared by the majority.

Lets have a look at dA's conceptual photography.
browse.deviantart.com/photogra…
Lets look at the first 60 deviations featured here as the most popular.
You'll see
-19 photos featuring women, 6 of them in water, 3 of them with the idea of drowning, 2 of them with something on their mouth to be silenced, 5 of them being naked or almost naked.
-12 photos representing the sea, or beach, or water.
-10 photos that could be called "retro"
-9 photos with clouds, 5 of them where humans interact with them
-11 photos talking about "Love", 8 photos with hearts,  3 of them with the word "love" written inside the photo.
-6 photos representing a lonely figure
-5 photos with fake blood
-4 photos talking about man vs woman
-4 photos of animals (remember, this is not the section animals, plants and nature). 2 of those are cats and they look almost identical (and were taken by the same photographer).

In the next row of 60 you have even more women in water, clouds, hearts, beaches and retro colors.

OK so now, lets ask ourselves what is conceptual photography ?
To make it short (i could do an art history lesson but i'm not sure i either have the time or that people will have the patience to read) :
Conceptual photography is photography based on a concept, and that detaches itself from any form of aesthetics.
"Conceptual art is art in which the concept(s) or idea(s) involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns."
Conceptual photography appeared in the 60's, 70's with the works of artists such as Ed Ruscha (book : Every Building on the Sunset Strip), Bruce Nauman (Book : Laair), and Dan Graham for example :
Dan Graham, Homes for America.
They are not primarily photographers but the three of them were an inspiration to the rest.
Their intention was to diffuse "poor" images, that couldnt be sold, that were not aesthetic. Ruscha said : "I think that photography as a fine-art is dead. It's only place is in the commercial world, as a technical or informative means."

You may know Bernd and Hilla Becher too...

Anyway, at first it was difficult to separate conceptual art and conceptual photography, as photography was here to keep a trace of the conceptual art, land art, etc.
You have to make the difference between idea (concept), and message.
Conceptual photography isn't about delivering a message by using a metaphor. Speaking of which, most photographs that you see in this so called deviantart "conceptual" photography section should actually be called "metaphorical" photography. Metaphorical photography is very present in Stock Image banks, (which has nothing to do with stock photography on dA) like here www.fotosearch.com/photos-imag…. But you can also find photographs that are similar to dA's conceptual photography on Fotolia, another stock image website www.fotolia.com/cat2/15005000 and here it's under the term "concept" as well.

Another thing, conceptual photography isn't about illustrating an idea. Art isn't about illustration at all. Illustration serves purposes of... illustration. Illustration helps transmitting messages and is mostly used in commercial photography. Illustrating joy, illustrating loneliness, illustrating the love for an animal...
Art photography, and more specifically conceptual photography raise questions more than it answers any. It questions our reality. The way we represent reality. Our relation with reality.

Art isn't about thinking hey i saw this cool image and i'm gonna do the same one. Conceptual photography is not about taking the photo of a girl wearing a dress running on a beach.

If any art history teacher was coming on this site to look at conceptual photography, he would be very sad to see how the word is mis-used.

Ok, i've spent enough time on this journal and i'm not sure everyone will understand what i mean..

To make it short : i don't care about pretty conventionnal pictures. I want to be surprised, confused, i want to be able to make an effort to understand what i'm looking at. I want to see a personnal vision, i want to feel the photographer's sensibility, sensitivity, and talent of observation.
Yes yes.

cheers :)

  • Mood: Content
  • Listening to: pivot
  • Reading: Krishnamurti - freedom from the known
Add a Comment:
 
:iconohmeow:
ohmeow Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2009
thumbs up. I think a lot of the stuff in the conceptual gallery are cool yes, but they are born from an idea or thought, not a concept, which are much smaller things than a concept. concept should develop from the idea, but the idea alone isn't enough...
It would be nice to see some concepts up there that have been thoroughly thought out, researched, etc, before the image was made. the series i have been doing is pretty terrible - but i learnt heaps by asking what other people thought and the artists who are merely using an idea are missing out on this, too.
the most favorited photos seem to have not taken it above and beyond a moments consideration, which really should happen with conceptual stuff.
so thanks.(i have no idea if i made sense, but basically thank you and i agree)
Reply
:iconnatashalyonne:
natashalyonne Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2009
"19 photos featuring women, 6 of them in water, 3 of them with the idea of drowning, 2 of them with something on their mouth to be silenced, 5 of them being naked or almost naked."

oh my. not a surprise, tho.
hope you're fine, gonzi!
Reply
:iconfebruar:
Februar Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2009   Artisan Crafter
Maybe you could ask to edit the description of the "conceptual" category.
Do you think you could explain it as good, as in this journal, in one or two simple sentences?
Thanks for clarifying some things, even though I am still a bit confused.
I am not a big fan of categories, but I suppose they are necessary up to some point.
Also: don't get confused by the name "deviantART", as we all know: art is relative, dA is 99 % full of stuff, that does not really fit into "art" etc etc.
The good thing about dA is, that it is open to everybody, of course that includes people with "bad taste", or zero "creativity", but the only other way would be to install a dictatory "quality control" team, that decides what is "art" and what is not, so I think I prefer to live with the boring mangasketches, fakebloodsemigore, "artistic" nude, beach no. 45766454565654 etc.
I understand, that you get a bit upset with the ignorance/lack of knowledge of people, but I think a lot could be solved with actually providing the right info on the page.
Which is why I would really encourage you to suggest that to the staff.
Maybe sometime I also dare suggesting a DD to you, but first I need to make sure I understand :)

Cheers.
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Professional General Artist
:thumbsup:
Reply
:iconbdwfh:
bdwfh Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
The object being created is of secondary importance to the idea/concept, and this idea/concept should precede realization of the photograph. This much I understand.

I also understand that there is no real subject, even though real objects may be photographed. And as you suggest, there is no inherent message to be deduced. It is all about the concept.

So far I think I am on the right track.

Now, the reduction of the art through the elimination of key characteristics of what the public deems as art, is where I think I have a problem. Must a work be necessarily devoid of pleasing aesthetic qualities in order to be considered truly conceptual?

-----

“If Conceptual photography was not pictorial–it was artless–neither was it purely instrumental–it was not only a vehicle for the reproduction and dissemination of art but a form of art in itself. Nominating as their subject matter the trivial and insignificant, the “least event,” conveyed aptly by the flat-footed composition and careless techniques of snapshot photography, the Conceptual document, simply put, was confoundingly dumb in appearance and purpose.Renouncing virtually all marks of artistic craft and skill and foregrounding the values of the unaesthetic and the useless, these works cultivated a zero-degree style of facticity pushed to the point of banality, inaugurating a practice which, following Douglas Huebler, I am calling “dumb.”

Melanie S. Mariño, “Dumb Documents: Uses of Photography in American Conceptual Art: 1959-1969,” Dissertation, Cornell University, 2002.
Reply
:icongonzale:
Gonzale Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2009  Professional Photographer
Yes, i mentionned the distanciation from aesthetism, but it was just a part of the conceptualists, the most ferocious part, and in the end they got the most confused by their own rules.
And in my opinion they ended up creating a form of aestetic. Which i enjoy a lot by the way.

i <3 snapshots.

Great quote.. i finally have an argument to tell people why i'm dumb ! :D
Reply
:iconbdwfh:
bdwfh Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2009
“The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more.” - Douglas Huebler ;)
Reply
:icondraconis-wyrm:
Draconis-Wyrm Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009   Writer
Your point proven. [link]
Reply
:icongonzale:
Gonzale Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Professional Photographer
heh.
Reply
:iconliberance:
Liberance Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009   Photographer
AMEN AMEN AMEN :worship: I will quote your words to explain myself...you made it so clear that it can't be improved THANKS...and your writing made me question my self...:clap:
Reply
:iconfor-w-art:
For-W-Art Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Professional Interface Designer
Brilliant explanation. Tnx for makingthis site better this way. Keep on doing what you're doing, it's great to see your selections.
Reply
:icongonzale:
Gonzale Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2009  Professional Photographer
:) thank you
Reply
:iconfor-w-art:
For-W-Art Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2009  Professional Interface Designer
No prob. Just saying what a lot of people should realize.
Reply
:iconchocomalk:
chocomalk Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
I want to thank you for this, you have clarified a few things for me as well as given me food for thought.
So, lets see if I am interpreting this correctly. If I place a garbage can in a scene as an analogy for life/death, it would be a metaphor, as it eludes or illustrates my idea. But if I used that same garbage can as a frame to capture "what it sees", that would be conceptual. Is this correct? Or one possibility?

Its amazing the confusion that is behind this topic, the web is full of wrong info on this subject, though it is understandable as concept and idea are interchangeable in present day terminology.

Thanks again for this! :)
Reply
:icongonzale:
Gonzale Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Professional Photographer
to your question i say yes except for the "what does the garbage can see" part, i'm not sure it's really relevant, conceptual photography is more about the way you see things, not objects.

it is a complex topic, and even the first conceptual photographers who were the most purists got really confused... hehe :)
Reply
:iconchocomalk:
chocomalk Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
Well it was a quick "concept" ;) haha, I'm trying to get a feel for the difference, now that you have explained it further, I can see it clearer. Its interesting, on one hand it gives one almost complete artistic freedom and yet it seems very strict as well. I will have to give this more time and thought, its quite fascinating.

Hmm, I bet they got confused, ideas are abstract enough, when you start to deal with "perception" it's a whole other game.

Well this should be fun, now I will look at the world in a whole different way :)
Reply
:iconpooch88:
pooch88 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
im guilty of submitting my photos under the conceptual photography category when theyre not so conceptual :S

thank you for the little lesson,

i look up to your work but don't know how to quite do photography as a fine art.
Reply
:icondraconis-wyrm:
Draconis-Wyrm Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009   Writer
:3
Reply
:iconnight-beast:
Night-Beast Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
Oh my god, never thought that someone could simply state my thoughts in such a well organized way. I do tend to take photographs that fill into some of the "already known" ideas but not in the exactly same obvious way (f.e. red apple heart cut out and put into a another apple or emo - artificial blood photographs).

There are things that you simply don't have to shoot anymore because everyone does it and you "usually" grow bored of those (sunsets!!!)

Gonzale, I think that there is a balance between "content" and "form" and sadly the majority overweights the content side...women, cute animals, love messages etc...this is no news but as you say even the content became a very small and tight course where only the predestined ideas are allowed to take first place.

...with greetings from Germany.
Reply
:icondraconis-wyrm:
Draconis-Wyrm Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009   Writer
I've been noticing with some of the DDs that content didn't matter as much as how pretty it was. D:
Reply
:iconnight-beast:
Night-Beast Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
I was not talking about DDs. DDs are not chosen by the majority...luckily. If Gonzale would put a "cute kitty photogrpah" as a DD you would easily see that that piece would have much more favorites and views than most DDs chosen by Gonzale (or other DD moderators)...and it's more than alright this way. People kinda need to be tought to even notice the beauty of form. I once got a DD for one of my photographs...I love it myself but I'm sure that if it wasn't a woman on the picture I would've not gotten that many favorites or views.
Reply
:icondraconis-wyrm:
Draconis-Wyrm Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009   Writer
But I was talking about DDs. :3
Reply
:iconhedoublehockeysticks:
hedoublehockeysticks Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
of course you are right about these things and not to accept those last ten submissions.

for example, This Image (on the beach, with couples visible in the distance, reflections and abundant fauna) could easily slip into the realm of kitsch with a few quick snips/crops around the foremost subject (and maybe a slight photoshop touch-up). instead it is left full-frame and the added detail makes the surreal seem legitimate and all the more compelling.

keep putting pearls before swine as long as you care to engage in conflict or until you find a more rewarding forum. most of then are too young to know any better. some of them are too old to care. some will be better for it.
Reply
:iconsuzage:
Suzage Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
Oh God, I'm afraid that makes me too old to care!! :O
Reply
:iconhedoublehockeysticks:
haha, i may have overlooked some alternatives.

or, also, i meant those who were actively involved in the community and the debate about which art is valuable. "too old to be bothered by listening to reason and accepting correction" was what i had meant, maybe... i must also note that i am refusing to reread my own prior post in active avoidance of the topic.

i am with you on leaving her to this somewhat admirable fight. good luck, charlotte.
Reply
:iconsuzage:
Suzage Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2009
Haha, I know, I was just kidding around. Sorta ;)
Reply
:icongonzale:
Gonzale Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Professional Photographer
i don't really wanna believe that...
Reply
:iconsuzage:
Suzage Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
I keep on coming back to this place from time to time and get all wound up over certain discussions, so I guess part of me still cares.
Reply
:iconpatual:
Patual Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Hobbyist
On to a second subject:

If conceptual photograph is an idea itself, that is brought to viewer by it's colours, composition and all that, can a conceptual photograph be an metaphoric photograph in the same time?

Lets take the drowning women example. Yeah, it is metaphoric, but if the colours, composition, and their relation to negative space brings you an idea before you even think about the image, is it then both, conceptual and metaphoric?
Reply
:icongonzale:
Gonzale Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Professional Photographer
Hm, if you read my last answer to hoshq, does it answer your questions ? If not, tell me.
Reply
:iconpatual:
Patual Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Hobbyist
I'm afraid that no, it does not answer to what I said.

As far as I know, conceptual art can be realizing an idea, it can be done via the realtion of colours, composition and even size of the image. It's suppoused to bring the viewer the idea, that the artist had in his mind when he was making it. Not the fully processed idea, cut into pieces and served on a silver-plate.

The very source of the idea, is what conceptual art is. My question was, that if you combine the the source of the idea, with metaphoric elements, will it be metaphoric photography or conceptual?
Reply
:icongonzale:
Gonzale Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Professional Photographer
Then i'm not sure i understand your question :)

If you find an example of what you're describing, i'd love to have a look...

Conceptual photography depicts reality.
Metaphorical photography depicts a abstract notion with material objects, and often they are put there by the photographer himself.
So i don't really see how the two could merge, but i'm curious.
Reply
:iconpatual:
Patual Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Hobbyist
Let's say a series of metaphoric images, that together make a conceptual photograph series.

If you'd put one of benjamin lowys images alone, it would not neccessery be a conceptual photograph, but as an series they definetly do have that message. For instance, one shoots metaphoric photography in a city, that has been nuked. That person complains about his love life by "love" signs, while all images have the same dead city on background, which was not point of his images, not alone. But when the images are put together it becomes conceptual. The worry of one's little things, and the reality behind.

They're showing what freedom is not, bit by bit. There are some photos in that series that have stronger concept than others, but the others play well with the others that have stronger concept in them.

I'm probably being very unclear, but I guess you could get the point.
Reply
:iconpatual:
Patual Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Hobbyist
Meh, agree.

"Conceptual art" can differ from art that has concept, and "conceptual" art is taking the name of "conceptual art" very quickly. We actually had a discussion about this on our photography class. No one really thought it's a bad thing, or a good thing. It's a change.

I personally don't care about what art is called, as longest as I get something from it.

oi, how much I've misued the term in my own work too. [link]
Reply
:icongonzale:
Gonzale Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Professional Photographer
yes.. there should be a category for experimental photography / lightpainting and such. it would make things a lot clearer.
Reply
:iconpatual:
Patual Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Hobbyist
And on the other hand make the categories here even more of a chaos.

personally I think it would be enough if photography was one category, which would then have three sub-categories; "nature", "people" and "other". That sure would make it alot clearer.
Reply
:icongonzale:
Gonzale Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Professional Photographer
haha...
said like that, it would be better if there were no categories at all...

just people entering keywords. :)
Reply
:iconjonasfeige:
jonasfeige Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
hey charlotte.
that was indeed very interesting to read. thanks for sharing, i'm sure i learned something.
Reply
:iconbekkia:
bekkia Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
That was very informative. :thumbsup: I'm always glad to see people on dA that are so knowledgeable about their art form.
Reply
:iconziggyann:
ZiggyAnn Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
:beer:
Reply
:icongonzale:
Gonzale Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Professional Photographer
:juggle:
Reply
:iconziggyann:
ZiggyAnn Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
i bet your juggling, but its admirable how you dont loose interest and energy in trying to explain.
Reply
:icongonzale:
Gonzale Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Professional Photographer
It's just like when i tidy my room when i know people are gonna come to my appartment...
Trying to explain difficult matters is a way for me to put order in my thoughts... and i always end up learning in the process too.
Reply
:iconziggyann:
ZiggyAnn Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
you definetly helped me cleaning some of my thoughts with that. i suppose i should write things down like that.
Reply
:icongonzale:
Gonzale Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Professional Photographer
:nod:
Reply
:iconazrael3000:
azrael3000 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
Very interesting. If you have a longer text you can be sure to have at least one reader.

Since I'm seriously interested in those topics could you recommend any literature? Unfortunately I don't have the possibility to study photography as well. But I feel that I know so little about it that I miss out on some big things. I mean nobody ever told me that conceptual photography here is not what it is in the 'art' world.
Reply
:icongonzale:
Gonzale Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Professional Photographer
Well, a little google search won't do any harm, you'll find tons of documentation about conceptual photography and Photography history, Art history and essays that are much richer than this little journal.
I mostly read in french so i'm not sure i have anything to advise you except Susan Sontag's "About photography" which is a must-read for all photographers. [link] this one too. Classics.

:)
Reply
:iconfebruar:
Februar Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2009   Artisan Crafter
Oh, we have Susan Sontag's book, but did not get the time/motivation to read it yet, maybe now I will start now.
Reply
:icongonzale:
Gonzale Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2009  Professional Photographer
oh yes it's an easy and great read.
Reply
:iconfebruar:
Februar Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2009   Artisan Crafter
I think ours is in Spanish, that is why I was "lazy" so far, but I think I will take it on :)
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×

More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
November 9, 2009
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
181
Favourites
0
Comments
83
×