is pet photography 'fine art?'

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by TBerg, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. TBerg

    TBerg TPF Noob!

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    We refer to ourselves as fine art photographers but what does that really mean?

    According to wikipedia (Wikipedia) fine art photography “refers to photographs that are created to fulfill the creative vision of the artist. Fine art photography stands in contrast to photojournalism and commercial photography.”

    So the question I often ask myself is “am I fulfilling my creative vision?” Some days I feel like I’m just creating-to-sell, in other words, creating a product instead of a work of art.

    To help ease my conscience and to continue my growth as an artist, I spend a few minutes of every session doing something experimental –I really strive to make it something I’ve never tried before. And I’m the first one to admit that at times it’s very difficult. When it’s the third or fourth shaggy white dog that I’ve shot that month and I KNOW the shortest route to a good sale is to shoot from a certain angle – well – you know what goes through my mind. The temptation is pretty strong to just do what I’ve done before and call it a day –but I rarely give in. I’m almost always driven to try something new.

    Which is why I really really like difficult subjects. The dogs that just don’t want to settle down, or won’t look at the camera no matter how many crazy noises I make. You do have to know their body language to know what to do and when it’s okay to do it. I photograph a lot of dogs for a local rescue organization and many of them have been traumatized by abandonment, abuse, or health issues. By the time they arrive at my studio they’ve really been through a lot. These and other difficult pets are the ones that force me to think outside the box. I’m exhausted when they leave – but excited by the new things I’ve learned.

    And just in case we make it look easy? I want everyone that’s considering our workshop to know that being a pet photographer is physically and mentally demanding and if I didn’t love dogs and cats I wouldn’t be successful at it –no matter how good I was with my equipment. I do it because they are perfect little works of art, I adore them and anything that loves so completely and unselfishly deserves to be cherished forever as a work of art.

    When people tell me how lucky I am to have a job where all I have to do is play with dogs all day — I just smile.

    Teresa
     
  2. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Believe me I understand how you feel. It is very hard to mix both the commercial needs and an artistic vision in this type of photography. I had the same problem with weddings and when I started asking myself the kind of questions your are bringing up here on a way-too-regular basis, I quit.
     
  3. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Heh. Nicely put, Teresa.

    My -opinion- would be that no, pet photography isn't fine art. It's a photography service like a lot of similar services. I think in a lot of cases when you get paid for photography you tend to make a lot of compromises (and repeat a lot of successful processes/angles/etc.) to make the money... you kinda have to.

    I do something similar to what you do... (though I do it with commercial real estate) once I get all the shots I know I need to get, I go back and see what interesting architectural shots I can pull off. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not, but I tried! :)

    All this being said, I do think you can be artistic with product... it's just admittedly a bit harder, particularly if you compromise on that "sure-sell angle".

    You know there's someone I know who's an amazing pottery crafter. (potter?) Anyway, her stuff is beautiful and I always felt very artistic. I bought some blue bowls from her once... stunning. I commented to her on them a year later and she said "Oh yeah, that's guaranteed-money blue... I always make sure at least 50% of my pieces are that color because they sell like wild... even on pieces I'm not that happy with... in fact, I often paint pieces I'm not happy with that color because I know they'll sell."

    Kinda the same deal.

    There were a couple recent threads on this... compromises and "what makes an artist"... I'd go search for them for you, but my cat is repeatedly rubbing his wet nose in my face so I think I need to give up and go to bed. lol

    Good luck,.
     
  4. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    How could I not agree with this when I've been working on a series of paintings based solely on the idea of Phi, the Divine Proportion.
     
  5. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    ^^^ well that plus I'm absolutely phuqing brilliant. :lol:
     
  6. Baaaark

    Baaaark TPF Noob!

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    The problem with this is both the word "fine" and "art" are so subjecting who freaking knows if it is or not?

    But don't worry about labeling your work. Just do it. And HAVE FUN!
     
  7. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Heh, reminds me of the guy I met while I was shooting yesterday. I saw him at the Carribean Parade and again at the Human Chain for Iran. He approached me and asked about my Vertex (snazzy little device, if I do say so myself; quite useful indoors, and it's nice outdoors to to have a little control over where the light comes from), and we talked a little, he asked if I got any good shots of the Carribean Parade. Well, one, I don't like to chimp the camera looking at all the shots I got; I pay more attention to shooting when I'm out and about. But when I asked him "did you have fun?" I think he was a little miffed. :lol:
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34.....
    At least approximately (fibonacci sequence).
    1.6180339887........ precisely.

    I read a nice little book on the history of Phi written by Mario Livio, The Golden Ratio: The Story of PHI, the World's Most Astonishing Number
     
  9. smn_xps

    smn_xps TPF Noob!

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    I think what you are alluding to here is the limit of the ratio of n+1th term of the fibbonacci sequence to the n th term as n approaches infinity. this limit IS phi.


    (1+sqrt(5))/2 precisely

    cheers
    jerry
     
  10. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    What is any good?

    I've read a few but the one I decided to own is by Priya Hemenway who happens to also be a photographer and it is called: Divine Proportion: Phi in Art, Nature and Science if anyone is interested.

    Phi is absolutely fascinating. Not as easy to grasp as the RoT :lol: but worth a try.
     

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