Author Topic: An interesting quote from a British Photographer, comparing LWP's and paintings  (Read 5857 times)

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pmcphotography

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In the July 2009 issue of "ProPhoto Magazine" (as far as i know, no relations to the prophoto show family here.)

http://www.photopromagazine.com/index.php/index.php?option=com_backissues&act=backissues&issue=11

 It's a UK published photography magazine That i pick up every once in a while when they have an interesting article. The article I wanted to read was actually an article talking about bringing senior portraits to the British Market- a topic for another post. But what made me pay rapt attention is when the columnist (her name is Julia Boggio) posted a quote from another UK photographer named Martin Graham-Dunne. I's scan the page in, but that would be blatant copyright infringement. Here's the paragraph, from page 39 of the July 2009 issue, from Julia Boggios monthly column:



"It's just a fact of life that Americans generally love to be photographed. I think the best explanation I've heard for this came from Martin Graham-Dunne, who has worked on both sides of the pond. "America is a nation whose entire visual history tradition is based around photography, with very little history of fine art. In COntrast, Europe has a long and varied art history. Because of this, the British think painting when they think of art; not photography. Ironically, we're happy to put a huge painting of ourselves on the wall, but we consider a simple  10x8 inch photograph as 'big' and a bit garish."

Keep in mind Martin Graham-Dunne is a very successful photographer, and has worked in both the UK and the US. Here's a link to some of his stuff:

http://www.flaghead.co.uk/pages/images-qflash-8.html
http://www.illuminatusnow.com/


Thoughts?


Gavin Seim

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Interesting.

My thoughts are this. Photography is separated from art because we make it low quality. When people see one of my forty six in canvas paces it's not compete with little photos. It's accepted as art.
Gavin Seim. Portraitist, Pictorialist. Founder of PPS... http://seimstudios.com
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bksecret

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Interesting.

My thoughts are this. Photography is separated from art because we make it low quality. When people see one of my forty six in canvas paces it's not compete with little photos. It's accepted as art.
There are always going to be art snobs that think photography is not art.  Just spend some time in a gallery and have people walk in thinking they will see "true art" and get discusted because it is "only photography" no matter how well done it is.
Art is in the arms of the purchaser I guess. ;-)

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David Souther

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People are confused on the definition of art. Painters get to choose that they put on the canvas having to decide where, what, and how to place their ideas. Photographers face the challenge of having to start with everything there including the unwanted. We have to decide the most compelling angle, settings, and how to work around all the mess to get what we want. I look at traditional artist as sit back and think and photographers as go out and get it. It's like apples and oranges there both fruit but they each take a different approach when you want to eat one. Don't get me wrong I enjoy traditional art but people need to understand a great photo doesn't come from someone snapping away. It takes a lot time+effort+technical skill to develop as great photographer as it does to develop as a great painter. They need to understand each takes it's own skill.
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aranieri

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That's interesting, PMC and you definitely don't want to dismiss this info. This is great info for me to learn as well. Thank you for posting it. I'd never heard this.

Armed with that information, I would not fight it and here's what I would do to get a better ROI:

Sit and speak with your prospective clients, show them your best canvas portraits and if they say it is not what they are looking for and they are geared more towards art and painting that's non-photography related - tell them you have a photo-painting combo where you can offer them one photo portrait and one portrait painting from the photos (or 2 paintings or a pencil sketch - you get the idea).

I know all kinds of things can be done in photoshop or you can find an artist who paints and get them on your team and pay them a percentage. This way they get one painting (whether it be commissioned by an actual painter or created in photoshop) and one photograph portrait and you can command a higher price for this art combo.

I would think that's worth a try for folks who value the traditional European art more or anyone who has an interest in paintings. Once you get to know your client, you can offer them and create products that will be of value to them and speak to their wallet. It doesn't have to be a wall portrait. Always think in terms of how you can increase your bottom line. If you can command just as much money for a combo like this (even if they are 8x10's) at even the cost of your lowest wall portrait (16x20), who cares how you get the money.

The goal is to work smarter, not harder. I've had raffle winners who won a 16x20 and asked for something smaller because it was too big for them. That's ok with me, less hard costs out of my pocket and after I educate them and they still want smaller, I make sure I help them to get what they want. I won't sell them or even give them something they don't want, even for free.

Remember, not all clients (or photographers for that matter) are created equally. But we still go through the same process to qualify them and see where they are at so we can then get them something they want at a premium price.

Audrey
« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 09:33:24 AM by aranieri »

webmaster705

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I belive photography is form of art, we use our creative side to have better effects even imaginary portraits, those who think opposite they must agree with me, we sometimes create or develop unexpected so we are performing something

johnyboy2157

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I agree Webmaster we take different angles to take the image and show it as we wanted to see it many people cannot see it, photographer may find hidden beauty from something really common so its art

TSSP

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Well, lets see...photography Jan 7, 1839, by a frenchman and an Englishman.  It took until December (I think, don't quote me) for it get to NYC.  SO- everything created in America before then was not art?

Eh- to each his own.

The 'is it art, or not' argument has been going on since the medium's invention. Some consider photography to be a mechanical and chemical means of recording reality with no artistic ends.  Others that it is an ultimate form of expression. 

Pictorialists tried making photographs look more artsy in the 1890s by manipulating gum-bichromate prints. We do it now with software.

What, I believe, separates a photograph from being mimetic or being Art (with a capital A) is the intention/impetus of the artist.  Even the most beautiful portrait of a duke, king or queen was a commissioned painting, no more no less when it was originally created. It was not created for Art's sake.  The fact that it looks beautiful it an attribute of the artist's talent and craftsmanship or whomever is responsible for the rendering of the piece.
The content of any said work of Art must express something beyond its aesthetics, the artists intentions. 
By no means am I suggesting that these attributes are mutually exclusive, that a commissioned piece can never be considered Art, nor that an aesthetically pleasing image cannot be considered Art, I'm merely making a case for photography being a well suited medium for what some consider the goals of high-art, while also having the ability of being mimetic, in that it is able to reproduce a 'copy' of reality similar to other commissioned pictorial arts.

Didn't mean to sound too academic, or esoteric, I've just done my fair share of research and reading on the topic.
M. David Farrell, Jr.

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Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow. ~ Imogen Cunningham

No photographer is as good as the simplest camera.  ~Edward Steichen

TSSP

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Just reread my own post and realized how convoluted and unclear my thoughts were when I wrote that.  It just irks me some people still don't consider photography to be an artform.

And if I was too confusing, the gist of what I said above was essentially that I believe photography can be both and art, and not art.  It is all dependant on the artists intentions, impetus and if the piece is meant to convey something more than aesthetic enjoyment.

Best to all.
M. David Farrell, Jr.

Buying a Nikon does not make you a photographer.  It makes you a Nikon owner.

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Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow. ~ Imogen Cunningham

No photographer is as good as the simplest camera.  ~Edward Steichen