Sunday, April 01, 2007

Is photography art (or flogging a dead horse)

This is a perennial discussion on most photography lists. The Guild photographers and the Art photographers can spend hundreds of posts talking past each other and still never come to see the others point of view...

That said, edward_ winkleman's excellent contemporary art blog had a good post on it the other day (though I see he's picked up on the Chocolate Jesus - should get him some good hate mail). Photography Fever: Myth or Regional Reality? Or, Is There Still Widespread Multiplephobia? picks up on two contradictory articles he came across - one all about the ever increasing prices being paid for photography at auction, and the other asking suggesting collectors still shy away from photography because it's not really art. Anyway, worth a read (as is winkleman's blog in general) - although the discussion on there is as bad as on any photo list...:

"Two contrasting articles made their way across my desktop recently, offering rather different views of where the market for fine art photography stands. I read a good number of photography-based blogs, and have assumed the market was blistering hot, but then I read Ana Finel Honigman's post on The Guardian's blog and got all confused:

Collectors are still shying away from investing in photography, reflecting the medium's ambivalent status in the contemporary art world. [...] The unique issues around collecting photography initially arise from the medium's reproducibility. On the surface, collectors concerned with diminishing the value of their investment seem wise to stick with unique objects and shy away from mediums that can be made in multiples.

I have to admit, that strikes me as an out-of-date analysis. Take for example this opposing view recently expressed by Brian Appel on
I Photo Central

.... Soaring prices and the influx of cash is providing a welcome boost for collectors who got in early. Once considered risky and on the fringe, these seductive photographs that describe the 'hyper-reality' of modern media or consumer culture are now THE hotbeds of critical and market attention...."

He goes on to suggest it may be a regional thing? read the whole blogpost here

1 comment:

Luis said...

Perhaps both things are happening simultaneously. High prices are being paid for cherry-picked, established work, but there is still trepidation, which seems absurd after Stieglitz, but it is still there. The acceptance inertia within collector culture may be greater than we thought.