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About photography



Note to the article about the work of Photogroup ŠOLT in the program Osmi dan

On these pages, I repeatedly mention, describe and explain the confusion and misunderstandings that have been occurring in the field of visual arts since at least the 1960s.

There is less confusion in music, so in order to reveal the nature of this confusion and misunderstandings that break the field of visual arts, it is very meaningful to draw parallels with music.

The field of photography is also a place where this confusion and misunderstanding is elegantly displayed. In short: photography is about catching light in the camera and transferring it to a fixed support or screen. Photographers, at least in general, are considered artists and photography is considered art. The sound parallel to photography – recording sounds and transferring them to a medium – on the other hand, is not considered an artistic activity, and sound technicians are not considered artists.

Part of the reason for the confusion in the field of visual arts is to be found in the use of language. After World War II, art moved to America to a large extent, but English proved to be less useful in art than some other (Indo-European) languages, including Slovenian. Even the American philosophers in the treatment of art and the artistic (Danto, Freeland…) generally proved to be less breakthrough than the European ones.

In general, in the English-speaking world, at least since the 1960s, there has been a situation where the term ‘art’ has been used to denote just about everything that happens in the visual arts. On the other hand, over the years, the reality has been established, when few people say art or art and think of literature, music, etc. When people say art, they usually mean visual art. This means that in general the terms art and visual art are synonyms. It is therefore a linguistic conundrum that causes problems even for those art theorists who deal with these things seriously.

The problem is that the term art is also a value and value label. From the point where art is implicitly a status or ontological label to the point where art is implicitly a value label is only a step. This step is seemingly short but extremely effective in creating confusion. This step effectively mixes two questions: what something is and how much that something is worth. The question of value is thus replaced by a purely ontological one, and the ontological question is slyly suggested as a definition of value: something is art, therefore this something is already something of value. This position is established and applies mainly in the field of visual arts. There is no such misunderstanding in music, or there is less of it.

And what about the photo? Photography, of course, has its function, there is no doubt about that, but it would make sense to end the confusion and misunderstandings about the nature and function of photography that have accompanied it from the very beginning. One of the key photographers of the twentieth century, Henry Cartier-Bresson he did not take photography too seriously as an artistic medium. Cartier-Bresson is to be taken seriously.

Source: Rtvslo

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