Photography an contemporary art

Posted on 05/03/2017 by Admin under Uncategorized
1 Comment

I tend to agree with much of this article – to become part of the ‘contemporary art club’ art photography needs to keep chipping away at the modernist shackles imposed upon it nearly 200 years ago.  Otherwise it is constantly refining itself but within its own separate oeuvre to other contemporary arts.

What clouds the issue is that there are so many different types of photography some can be more progressive than others – a post modernist prison mugshot might not be helpful, for example.  However good a gardener auntie is, she might not want to be represented as an abstract plant pot.  One of photography’s key attributes is indeed its ‘captured slice of real time’ form.


So is the real issue that photography needs to accept its inherent diversity and stop trying to be just one collective thing called ‘photography’ (…where only Canon and Nikons are good enough, right?)? Camera club judges need to stop saying their way is ‘right’.  It needs to throw off the straight jacket it imposed upon itself 15 years ago as a reaction to people doing totally crazy stuff with Photoshop just because they now could.  Maybe that was the closest photography ever got to a cultural jailbreak.

One thought on “Photography an contemporary art”

  1. Steve Cordingley says:

    I think the article generalises too much. Like when re: Modernism “Photography zealously pursuing realism” – not sure about that – much abstraction and surrealism in moderist photography (eg Man Ray, Bill Brandt, Moholy-Nagy). Also re: contemporary art photography: “the artifice (wardrobe and props), elegant lighting, expression, and physical beauty of the subject —… all elements important to professional photographers — are anathema to the contemporary art aesthetic”…yet tableaux in art photography very much a trend (e.g Jeff Wall, Gregory Credson etc). May be I’ve interpreted wrong?
    I don’t consider myself an artist – so not best placed to comment. Do I get contemporary art? Not sure it’s relevant to my own photographic practice other than provide another info source (like literature and music ) that may shape own thinking and approaches indirectly. I would say photography is an equally valid medium to explore “concepts and philosophies…” and “dissecting historical perspectives and denouncing traditional narratives” – as shown by Artists and Photographers such as Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Cornelia Parker, Gerard Ritcher, Hockney etc etc etc…).
    So for me the debate of photography vs art is pretty much a non-starter and approaching, though not quite achieving, the dumb arse level of Nikon vs Canon, filters vs non-filters, photoshop vs “straight”, digital vs film, b&w vs colour etc etc.
    Throw off and burn the straight jacket of ‘art’ and it’s ‘isms’ and ‘ists’ is my thinking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *