Art and wine are similar in ways, one commonality is the criticism from those considered connoisseurs. Truth is, anyone’s opinion about a specific wine, whether a red, white, rose’, Zinfandel or whatever the varietal de jour is, it’s their opinion. There are over 10,000 varieties of wine grapes in the world and an untold number of wines made using those varieties. There are people whose career is to be experts about wine, however, those people form opinions on their perception of what makes up quality. Art has the same type of appraisals for what mandates fine art. A search of the web for fine art will yield examples that may tickle the funny bone or cause questioning how the work achieved such a prominent classification. The old cliche’ “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” holds true, because art like wine, is a matter of personal liking. What makes something beautiful or admirable is an individual appeal, therefore, open to over one interpretation. For instance, my preference is reds with a high tannin content and have found most whites to fall into the same category as Boone’s Farm. With that said, there are people that find deep reds distasteful because of the tannin content. Art is no different, what I consider fine, you may consider folly.
Fine art photography is a phrase that not too long ago would have been oxymoronic. Photography being limited by time and invention, could not have partnered with painting, sculpture, architecture, music, poetry, theater and dance. However, over the decades since the 1970s, photography has solidified a place among the most appreciated genres of fine art. Today, at our disposal we have mobile devices equipped with high-resolution cameras, making it possible to capture an image that could be fine art. The missing elements from images captured with cell phones deal with processing and print output, which I won’t expound on in this writing. Because of inexpensive capturing devices and the internet, photography, among hobbyists, has never been more prevalent around the world. There are thousands of photography websites on the internet and the number grows daily. There are millions of amateur photographers, some producing museum-quality art. The majority will never reap a reward from the fruits of their labor due to saturation and consumer perception. The work of popular art photographers is like coveted wines, it’s about marketing, the belief of rarity and creating what appears to be an unattainable persona. However, a side-by-side survey could prove the subjective nature of popular art photography. I believe photos from artists like Maisel, Leibovitz, and Adams could be alongside photos by no-name photographers and mistaken for the work of the photographers mentioned. I’m sure some feathers just got ruffled. However, every day on Instagram I see photos that could be the work of popular photographers and no one would be the wiser. Capturing art with a camera requires something almost anyone can gain, the knowledge of manual camera functions, the use of light, subject and composition. Every day I see great photos worthy of hanging on the wall, that ride solely on the merits of light and composition. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying a photographer can build a following serving diluted wine. Being a valid contributor as an art photographer requires passion met with a commitment to excellence and perseverance. Strive for continuous improvement and the sound of your camera’s shutter could be synonymous with the ching of an old-school cash register.
“People who say it can’t be done should not interrupt those that are doing it.”
Kerry T Crane
February 13, 2018
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