The Photography of h.butz

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 Post subject: What is an Artist?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:35 am
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For those of you still reading my blog, you're all probably very bored with the photographs you've been looking at for the past, oh... eighteen months or so. I have been on a journey, a self-wakening, self-education, realization, re-birth - just really, really exciting shit. It all started with the concept, How do I call myself an artist?

For those of you who believe that calling oneself an artist is a self-serving, egotistical, snobby thing to do, you don't know the definition of artist. It's like referring to oneself as an automobile mechanic, construction worker, or one who serves French fries to the general public - artist is a state of being, but nothing to brag about.

Doesn't one need to be exhibiting art in a gallery to call oneself an artist? Good question, and I refer you to my previous paragraph, you don't know what it means to be an artist. Art galleries are a fine way for a limited number of people to connect with art. For painting and sculpture, there's no better way. For photography.... meh. True, a photograph hanging on the wall has a resolution between 300 and 600 dpi, assuming they're inkjet, Giclée, or so-called pigment print. Your computer monitor is around 72-80 for the less expensive monitors. Apple's Retina Display has a resolution of about 220. So, guess what? If you view a photograph on-line with a high-resolution display, you are not missing the art gallery experience... except, of course, if you call yourself an art collector.

What is an art collector? You may have visions of someone who has a lot of money and a warehouse full of art. Think of art collectors as you would someone who buys, then sells stocks on the Exchange. Spending money to purchase art accumulates debt. Selling art at a higher price than you paid accumulates wealth. Art collectors purchase, then sell art for profit, without regard to what they are purchasing. Art collectors are soul-less money-sucking zombies feeding off the artists, otherwise known as bottom feeders. The art gallery is the collector's native habitat.

What is art? Art is the conveyance of intangible ideas, concepts, feelings, emotions through a tangible media. A photograph of an old building which makes you feel sad is artistic as it conveys the concept of sadness through photography. But, a photograph of a shampoo bottle is not artistic since it fails to convey emotion. Fine art is tangible media which is created by the artist's hand, such as a painting or sculpture. A photograph which is brought to life using hand-developing techniques by the artist may be considered fine art. Photographs mass-produced by machine are not fine art.

Can a photograph of a shampoo bottle ever be considered art? How subjective is art? Art can be defined. Art is not as subjective as you might think. Art is language. Any sequence of sounds may be used to form language, but there is a difference between noise and language. There is a distinction as to what makes a photograph artistic.

In any language, the speaker and the listener develop an association between sounds and their meaning. If I speak the sounds "buh-nan-uh", the image of a sweet, yellow fruit pops into your head. You see the color. You know the taste. For you to know the color, you must have prior knowledge of what a banana looks like. For you to know the taste, you must have eaten a banana at some time in the past.

Art is the language of ideas. A photograph of an abandoned building can make you sad, provided you have prior knowledge of abandoned buildings and have a sad association with them. Many people do, so photographs of abandoned buildings are successful vehicles for artistic expression. A photograph of a shampoo bottle does not work as art since few people have emotional associations with shampoo bottles.

A photograph of a nude woman invokes powerful emotions and memory association in the viewer. Photographing the nude is like creating art using an amplifier. It's loud. It is challenging to divert the viewer's attention away from the sexual associations of the nude body to focus on emotion and concept - happiness, sadness, abandon, joy, misery; or, tell a story or express a concept.

You will know art when you see it. It will make you feel something. If a photograph fails to convey emotion, concepts, or ideas, then it has failed to reach you. Perhaps others will see it. When a photograph affects many people the same way, then it may be called "art."

Hello, I am an artist and my name is Henri. So, what's with all the photographs of naked women? I search for the answer to that question, myself. I took a photography class in college years ago. Frozen in time like a photograph, the memory of loading my first roll of black and white film into a Pentax K-1000. I closed the back, advanced the film, and pressed the shutter. Three weeks later, a small woman was standing in front of me, in my kitchen, completely naked. She slammed back a 6oz glass of Di Saronno Amaretto and demanded, "Take a picture of this!"

And, I did.


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