Blognotes from a photographer life...

Oct 10, 2010


Contemporary art is conceptual. This means the idea behind the artwork is more important then the technical skill. You can be an artist, say a painter, without knowing how to use a brush, or a sculptor just making a drawing that will then be carved out of marble by a capable "scarpellino" in a Carrara workshop. Even more contentious is the installation world, where an empty environment, pieces of materials, blinking bulbs or static videos are considered as artistic as a Michelangelo's Sacred Family. Many people refuse to accept this art (I always remember the fantastic movie with Alberto Sordi and wife visiting the Biennale in Venice!) but it has too long a story to be labeled as a cheap trick.
The question is how this culture is influencing photography, the most technical of modern arts. Since everybody is talking of how the Photographer should identify himself in this world where everybody is owning and carrying a camera in his pocket, style and ideas become crucial. Should we go concept?
That a photo just depicting a place or event without a personal interpretation has no photographic sense or monetary value nowadays is common agreement. But how far the personal touch and interpretation of the artist should go in this conceptual panorama is everybody's guess, or madness. Let's leave photojournalism aside in this path: the need to report the truth -even if with a personal eye and approach- has (or should have) the precedence on any artistic ambition. The fine art world is completely different, though. Honestly I'm really fed up with photos of cypress trees and empty country roads ant dusk printed extremely large on grainy papers. This is just concept conceptualism, food for marketing critics that will make a lot of money out of certified smoke. But an image that can transmit you a sense of loneliness, longing, that makes you think and wonder even without a clear subject depicted, is something that we have to appreciate. Probably a visual language that we should learn, develop, introduce to our vision.

1 comment:

  1. I have no doubt that this is a period of self-analysis and transition for photograpy. As you rightly point out, everyone has a cheap fool-proof camera in his pocket. Does this means that I see more interesting pictures around? I would say no. Kitsch is the dominating trend, meaning that digital photography most of the time is trying to emulate kodachrome or B&W in the same way photograpy in the XIX centuries tried to emulate paintings.

    I believe digital photography has still to found his own voice, as photography did many years after its start with Weston or Strand. Is conceptual art the path? I don't believe so. Art can be conceptual, but does not need to. But it is mandatory for art to create real emotions. From what I see around, the emotion created by digital photography are based on the mimicking of traditional photography. As I can be moved by Ingres, but not by an arty photograph of the XIX century, I can cry in front of a great B&W print, but not in front of a photoshop creation copying Cartier-Bresson. Is not about being purist, is about moving forward...

    BTW, your picture for this post is great!