Ah the perpetual questions of photography’s place in the art world, which started with the birth of photography 150 or so ago. Is photography art? Is all photographer art? What makes some photography art and other photography not art?
Most importantly IS MY PHOTOGRAPHY ART? Or which of my photograph are considered art and others simply snapshots?
For me the argument has been settled long ago when photographer’s began to be shown at art shows in galleries and museums and collectors began collecting photographs as fine art.
Photography is an accepted fine art medium. All major art museums have photography collections. Photographers has been granted major retrospective at MOMA, The Tate Modern and other predominate museums. Photography is taught as a fine art medium in art schools around the world.
But certainly not every photograph is considered art. To me the difference is the intent of the photographer. The artist uses photography to create a specific vision they wish to communicate with the world. This is different than a randomly shot snapshot. The intent is to create a single image or series of images that explore an idea.
This is why the modern art world ignores Peter Lik and no major museum has his work in their collections. He creates beautifully rendered postcard images but there is no meaning or intent behind them other than to create a pretty picture. Today’s museums collect art which explores ideas beyond simple beauty. So photography that explores ideas is considered fine art while a beautifully shot landscape basically falls into the realm of craft.
When is photography art? When it pushes the boundaries, when it shows us a new way of seeing, when it exposes a truth, when it explores an idea, when it pushes us out of our comfort zone, when it shows us how to see anew.
Another winter storm was in forecast but the morning was sunny so I decided to take a ride to one of my favorite covered bridges to give you a look inside.
Covered bridge hunting is a fun thing to do in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont along the Connecticut River, there is a great collection of historic, traditional wooden covered bridges still exist including the longest covered bride in the country. Some are obvious while others are a bit hidden.
Moxley Covered Bridge – The Moxley Covered Bridge in Chelsea, Vermont is a 59 foot long Queenpost Truss. It carries Moxley Road over the First Branch of the White River in Chelsea. This bridge was built in about 1883.
The Taftsville Bridge is a two span 189 foot long Multiple Kingpost Truss with an arch. Spans are 89 and 100 feet. It carries River Road the over Ottaquechee River in Taftsville Vermont. This bridge was built in 1836 and is one of the oldest covered bridges in Vermont.
The Blow Me Down Bridge is a one span Multi-King post Truss with a total length of 85 feet. It carries Mill Road over Blow Me Down Brook in the town of Cornish. This bridge was built in 1877.
The Sawyer Crossing or Cresson Bridge is a two span Town Lattice Truss with a total length of 159 feet. It carries Sawyer Crossing Road over the Ashuelot River in the town of Swanzey. This bridge was built in 1859.
The Cornish Windsor Covered Bridge is a covered bridge that spans the Connecticut River between Cornish, New Hampshire and Windsor, Vermont. It was the longest covered bridge still standing in the United States until the Smolen Gulf Bridge opened in Ohio in 2008 but the the Cornish-Windsor bridge still carries car traffic while the Ohio bridge is only pedestrian traffic. Mt. Ascutney can be seen in the background
Zombie Art – Big “The Walking Dead” fan here, although we’re a few seasons behind due to having to wait for the DVDs to be released on Netflix. But I have managed to shoot a few zombie photographs over the years including catching this zombie guy outside a medical research lab feasting on discarded medical waste:
Being an artist is hard work. The resulting efforts might sometimes look “effortless” because they are the result of years of practice but the journey behind the work is full of a lot of grueling work.
“Luck is just hard work coming back to you. All it is, is the combination of time, persistence, patience, and sacrifice making its way back.” Shantell Martin
Artists take about “process”. Process is the the work. The work that brings about the end result that you, as the viewer see. Behind any work is a long process of experimenting, crafting, trying, testing, and making.
Creativity looks easy, but that’s a carefully staged illusion—artists invest more effort than we often give them credit for. Forget absinthe-drinking and angsting on a velvet chaise; artists have always faced hard labor, mental strain, and more than a few occupational hazards. http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/yes-art-really-is-hard-work/
It’s not easy coming up with intriguing ideas, searching one’s soul for the meaning of life, visiting hard times in ones past or simply trying to squeeze a new viewpoint or beauty out of the world.
Being an artist is not about lightning bolts of inspiration. Being an artist is about being willing to listen closely and then doing your best to describe what you find. More than anything, however, being an artist is about not giving up. – http://skinnyartist.com/art-is-work/
Putting in the effort to create great artwork, to develop a skill, to develop a style and to get your name out there is the essence of being an artist. If you don’t have the passion to put in long hours into something that may never pay off, you probably aren’t made to be an artist.
Momma always said “If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t”
Art scam 101 – When someone contacts you out of the blue and wants to purchase your artwork it’s often exciting. Someone found me, looked at my work and wants to buy it! Unfortunately a lot of these contacts are from scammers trying to rip off your art and your money.
Artist get targeted by scammers all the time. I suppose we are an easy mark for a few reasons.
Artists tend be optimists and see the good in people
Artists tend to be naive to the world of crooks and scammers
Artists are used to shipping their product around the world
Artists have an emotional attachment to their art and want others to love it as much as they do.
Artists typically need the money, to pay the studio rent, pay for supplies and eat.
What does a typical art scam look like?
There are a few well-worn art scams that have been around forever and are still being used by art scammers.
Usually there is some kind of story involved. The person loves your work, they are moving to a new house and want to buy several pieces to decorate it. Basically they are setting up with the prospect of a very large sale but it has lots of conditions and has to be completed quickly (before you realize it’s a scam!).
I am interested in purchasing some creative artworks from you let me know their various prices and i will be happy to have these selected artworks hanged in our new home. As well, I want you to take out the shipping cost.I have been in touch with a shipping firm that will be shipping other house decorative, We are traveling from our home to our new apartment as soon as possible,Please let me know on how to proceed and kindly reply to my personal e-mail at
Have a wonderful day.
Common tip offs that it’s a art scam include:
Foreign sounding names
Strange looking email accounts
Names that don’t match the email account or names that change between emails
They want to use their own shipping company
The quickness they want everything (willing to pay for super expensive fast shipping).
The lack of interest in the details like the size of the paintings or even the price.
Usually the scammer could care less about your artwork. Artwork is not an easily resold commodity like a flat screen tv or camera. The scammer is trying to make money ripping you off from the transaction and shipping fees.
…..He (the scammer) said that because he was moving he was in a state of flux and would it be okay if me mailed me the money in advance, with enough to pay the shipper at the door……
They will be using a stolen credit cards or a fake check to rip you off. Any money that you give them will be their take. For example they might send you a check for the artwork and OVERPAY for the shipping. Then say “oops” can you send me the difference?
Following your usual method of payment. Don’t accept some new way of paying.
Never accept overpayments.
Search the person’s name and email address to see if they come up. Everyone these days has some sort of electronic trace that you should be able to find.
Most important:Wait until payments have cleared before shipping. This might take a five days or a week. The scammer is counting on speed. A legitimate buyer can wait. Art is rarely a last-minute purchase or a life or death purchase.
“…..Saw images of your paintings online, which really caught my attention. I am interested in purchasing paintings from your collection, can you please get back to me with the price range, sizes of your paintings, so i know how to go about my purchase.
The blog has a really detailed post about the sets on Modern Family.
“I have yet to meet a single person who doesn’t like the Emmy award winning show “Modern Family” and I am no exception to this rule. Along with being hysterical, the stylish homes featured in the show have everyone in a dizzy. Over the course of writing this blog I have done several posts on the decor of each home and have gotten amazing feedback. I decided to condense all the posts into one main page and make it that much easier to answer your questions and give you the info you seek.”
Here is a good example of some of the information about one of the rooms on the show, Gloria and Jay’s kitchen which features all kinds of art from contemporary artists.
The famous sandals painting is done by an amazing artist named Nathan Rohlander. Contact him at Nathan@Rohlander.com or call (323-899-6563) If you are interested in ordering a print.
The vibrant painting found on the dining room walls is from an amazing artist named Gus Harper. He has a collection all done in this similar bright fruit style.
For even more information about the sets check out this article in Architectural Digest
The Homes of ABC’s Modern Family
Production designer Richard Berg gives a tour of the sets for the Emmy-winning comedy about an extended Los Angeles family
A video posted by SketchoftheDay (@sketchofthedays) on
My high school senior recently found out that he was accepted to the Rhode Island School of Design starting in the Fall of 2017. He attended the RISD Pre-college six week intensive program last summer and worked on his portfolio up to the last minute deadline of earlier acceptance.
At this point in their creative careers, Caffrey Fielding and friends are exploring anything and everything. Their creative output is amazing. No thoughts of commercial aspects, simply experimenting and testing out various mediums.
Here he is creating a huge charcoal self portrait for his RISD portfolio.
And plein air pasteling along the Connecticut River.
Quick make a list of 500 friends and family connections
Back in college during career days, I recall the Insurance Companies sniffing around for potential sales position hires. If you interviewed for one of these insurance sales positions, the first thing they have you do is write down a list of 500 people you know. Seriously 500 hundred people!
Coincidentally I’ve heard it said that 500 people is the most anyone can seriously maintain as a social circle. People with over 500 people on their Facebook accounts can not really know all of those people. Or at least in any meaningful way. Try selling insurance or Amway to some distant cousin twice removed or someone who you only know because they like to share funny cat photos.
Anyway, the insurance companies expect you to sell people you know to get started. Your friends and family will be your base pool of sales leads. In other words, by hiring you, the insurance company gets 500 leads.
Its not unlike the modern art world. In the old days, the artist just needed to get into the gallery world and then the gallery staff would sell to their carefully cultivated list of buyers.
That is the fantasy world that a lot of today’s artists still cling too – if only I could get into a gallery all my troubles would be over and I wouldn’t have to market myself. I could just create all day long….
But nowadays, galleries and even art shows expect the artist to provide the bodies. They expect the artist to pull in the connections and bring in a following.
Friend and Family – Gold Mine or Fool’s Gold
Everyone needs and understands the basic value of life insurance or home owners insurance – but do they need or understand art?
This where the idea of selling to friends and family falls short of the goal of becoming a successful artist.
Friends and family are a finite market
Family and friends may or may not be your market
F&F get annoyed
Your closest friends might be a nice way to get a few sales in pocket to start you off, but come on, you will need to sell a ton of artwork over your career to survive as an artist. You are not going to do it by selling to friends and family. Unless you are developing an ever increasing, dynamical expanding universe of friends.
But this will probably only occur after you become more successful and everyone wants to get in on your success. Suddenly when your artwork becomes valuable, then you’ll find relatives that you never knew existed and friends coming out of the woodwork trying to get some deals on investment quality artwork.
A better strategy is to make your work and you as an artist and individual creative person more accessible. Let people get to know you as a person and as an artist. It doesn’t require friendship just a bit of access to how you think, your process and your mindset.
Selling Artwork Online – Cultivate a new family around your artwork
Online you have to do things to connect with people online. That means getting out there in cyberspace and communicating. Not just spamming people with “look at this” stuff over and over.
For the record, I ran a t-shirt business with an artist friend for 10 years. I don’t think any friend or family member of ours ever bought anything. It was funny fishing related line with crass humor. We sold mostly to bass fishermen in the south. Our friends and family are mostly non-fishermen living in the north. Or fly fishermen, not bass fisherman. Would be try to push our products on friends and family? Nope.
With my artwork and photography, I have only sold a few items to friends and family. The other folks haven’t bought any art since the 1970s and even then they bought it at Sears. Not exactly the market I’m striving for – I’d rather try to cultivate a following online consisting of people who understand and appreciate fine art photography.