Art is an emotive subject and probably one where personal opinion is the only real arbiter of either its quality or its right to be called “art”.
I had a very good friend, now sadly dead who was a “conceptual artist”. He considered the art industry to be nonsense and thought that the likes of Emin, Hurst et al were con merchants. One of the things he told me, which has always stuck, was that for a work to be considered art it should at least have elements of skill involved in its creation.
His position on this might sound like a bit of a dichotomy, but if you had seen some of the work he produced I think you might have been able to understand the point he was making. He had O’Bama completely sussed out too. I acquired an old WW11 issue canvas stretcher for him, he used it to screen print a series of 5 images morphing O’Bama into Adolf Hitler. This was in 2009.
Most “modern” art is, IMHO, rubbish, although I must admit a fascination with the Tate Modern, a place I have visited on numerous occasions. There is much within its walls that deserves to be ridiculed but there are little pockets of quality and even genius to be viewed. I do admire some of the work of Dali and also some of the Impressionists (although I’m not a big fan of Rory Bremner).
Like I said, art is all about opinion. There is one piece of “art” hanging in the Tate which illustrates, for me at least, everything that is wrong with the art industry. I am sure, although I never met him, that Brian Sewell will have hated it with a passion. It is a canvas, about 3 to 4 feet high and maybe 2 feet across; the finished “work” is a series of runs of paint, from top to bottom of the canvas. It is quite old, maybe 80-100 years and it was created by a school of artists who part filled balloons with paint, fixed then behind the canvas then shot at them with air guns. The result is a highly colourful mess, created using a technique available to anyone. This “work” is considered to be priceless.
I don’t have many pictures on the walls in my house but mostly what I do have are original works. None of them are by anyone really famous apart from a pastel by a guy called Anthony Orme, which I paid quite a substantial amount for. I have 4 water colours, three by local artists and one which I commissioned from a friend. It depicts a church on the island of Majorca and was created from a photograph I took in 2004, sadly the photograph is now residing somewhere alongside hundreds of others so I won’t be reproducing it here. You get the idea though. I have an oil painting which is of St Pauls Basilica which I am very fond of. I bought from a street artist in Rome and although “modern” in style it is colourful and recognisable for what it is.
Personally, although I have some drawing skills and I possess an easel, pastels, oil paints and decent pencils I have never felt confident enough to try to create something that might be worthy of display.
This leads me to the point of this article, can photography ever be truly considered to be art? For my part I believe that it can, although I also believe that a photograph need not have what might be considered “artistic” quality for it to be worthy of display, even if it is in a modest frame and hung on a wall in your own home.
With the indulgence of Bob I’d like to show you the four photographs that are on display in my house. I took them, over a period of years. One was pure luck; the other three took a little while to set up. I like them. I hope you do too.
I took this, quite by chance, on Hampstead Heath in February 2014 using a Canon Bridge camera on auto setting.
This is Ullswater, late morning March 2009. The mist didn’t lift all day. It took about half an hour to set this up using a Panasonic Lumix Bridge on manual setting.
This is Derwentwater, the picture was taken in September 2012 using the same Lumix Bridge camera. I used a manual setting and monochrome to try to create an “older” feel to the picture.
This picture of cotton grass blowing in a strong breeze was taken in July 2017 and took about half an hour to set up. I used a manual setting; the camera used was a Canon EOS1200D.
© Coloniescross 2017