(Perfect timing after my previous post).
Chris Friel makes the most incredible photographs using tilt-shift lenses, long exposures and intentional camera movement. He makes a lot of them too, often taking hundreds in a single day. The results speak for themselves. Beautiful, painterly and haunting.
Jonathan Jones, an art writer for The Guardian in the UK, seems to have a problem with photography. He certainly seems to know shockingly little about it for a supposed expert in the arts. It’s hard to believe that anybody, let alone somebody who writes about art for a living, would want to wheel out the old “photography isn’t art” argument after all these years… but that’s exactly what Mr Jones does:
(1) “Photography is not an art. It is a technology.”
(2) “…the illusion that lures us all, when we’re having a good day with a good camera – the fantasy that taking a picture is the same thing as making a work of art.”
Not content with this, Jonathan then decides to turn his ire on monochrome:
(3) “The fact that it is in black and white should give us pause. Today, this deliberate use of an outmoded style can only be nostalgic and affected, an “arty” special effect.”
I see… so black and white “can only be nostalgic”? I guess if you’re stupid enough to think that photography is only a technology then you’re going to have enormous difficulty understanding the motivations for, and uses of, monochrome.
Despite already making himself look like an idiot, Jonathan also get’s all upset about the waste of gallery space given over to photography exhibitions:
(4) “It just looks stupid when a photograph is framed or backlit and displayed vertically in an exhibition…”
(5) “…the curators could provide iPads and let us scroll through a digital gallery that would easily be as beautiful and compelling as the expensive prints.”
I suppose if you’ve taken a swing at all those who like monochrome photography you might as well lunge at the printing experts as well.
Even allowing for the obvious attempt to deliberately stir things up, Jones’ statements are just plain stupid. I’m not going to respond here, although I marvel at the bizarre, monolithic caricature of photography that he seems to be taking aim at, but someone else at the Guardian, who clearly is capable of thinking about things more deeply, has responded directly in admirable style: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/dec/11/photography-is-art-sean-ohagan-jonathan-jones
Quotes (1) (2) and (3) were taken from the following article (interestingly, his discussion of the photograph in question is not without merit): http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2014/dec/10/most-expensive-photograph-ever-hackneyed-tasteless
Quotes (4) and (5) were taken from the following article: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2014/nov/13/why-photographs-dont-work-in-art-galleries