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When is it art?

I had a brief but deeply fascinating conversation over dinner with a friend last night — we browsed through some of my more recent photographs and she said she’d have a hard time to decide and pick a favorite — which was flattering, of course! So I replied that it wasn’t hard for her to decide when she wanted to have “Lucid Dream” as a large format print for her home. And she said:

“That was different. I really needed to have it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I knew I would find a place for it in my house, even though it didn’t match the style at all”.

To me, that is one perfect definition for this “undefinable” thing called art (one of many definitions). It moves you, and you want to be able to look at it whenever you want or need to. You want to have it, own it, make it yours. If perhaps every now and then you have the need to listen to a particular song immediately you probably understand.

And that means that no one else can define art than the audience (gallery owners, critics and art consultants may not like this!;-). It is also the reason why I removed the wording “fine art photographer” from my online presences. I’m just a photographer. Whether it is fine art is not for me to decide.

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1 thought on “When is it art?”

  1. “There are no vital and significant forms of art; there is only art, and precious little of that. The growth of populations has in no way increased the amount; it has merely increased the adeptness with which substitutes can be produced and packaged.” -Raymond Chandler

    In his “The Simple Art of Murder: An Essay” Chandler was talking about novels and detective stories, but it could just as easily apply to photography and all art forms.


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