09 April 2009

a gallery and a philosophy

I've never had any of my photos for sale in any sort of "bricks-and-mortar" shop. My workplace is partly a gallery, and a while ago I was told I could hang some things there. But then it was decided that our store will no longer be a gallery and just concentrate on framing. This is a good decision for the store - but a teensy bit disappointing for me! :) It really made me nervous to think about hanging things up for the public to see (and potentially reject) though. I know art is different to everyone, and people are drawn to different things in art. But someone I don't know if I'm up for the possibility of no one liking it enough to buy it.

I think a lot of people have this concept that if it's photography, they could just go out and take that picture themselves. So they will never buy it. I've actually heard people say this. For some photography, that's sure true. I see a lot of photography for sale that, yes, I could go out and take myself because there was no imagination involved. But I think the mistake is assuming that all photography is basically journalism - accurately record what was there, and leave out the editorial please. But used as an art form, photography is far more imaginative and creative. In some ways it's easier than straight-up artists because you don't have to start from scratch - something is already there for you to capture. On the other hand, I think it's harder too - because you have to work with what's there. :) This is where artistic imagination comes into play.

So here's my theory. As an artist, a photographer (one who is not a journalistic type of photographer - neither is better or worse but they are very different) must see beyond what everyone else sees, and perhaps into the spirit or essence of something. The photographer must then capture the reality - which is already there - in such a way to expose or evoke something within the viewer...or simply to show the reality in a new way which people will appreciate.

So that's my philosophizing for you today. What do you think?


millhouse said...

Where do you work?

Thats a good theory and a true one too I think.

I've probably been guilty of the "I could do that, so why would I pay for it" mindset before. Now that wouldn't stop me from buying a great photograph...but it did make me want to pick up a camera and try for myself as almost a personal challenge. We went down to the Tugboat gallery last Friday night, and there was one studio that had pictures of farmhouses and small-town life...nice shots, but I didn't get anything from it. I think when people see stuff like that, thats when those thoughts come to mind. Add to that the low cost of DSLRs these days...

Thats why its important to only show your best work (which it seems like you do). Keeps people like me away...

Justin said...

I agree with your philosophy, although I will shy away from buying photography because "I could just have Nikki take that picture" instead of "I could take that picture." :) I also think that how one edits their photos is another huge art form. One thing I have definitely learned from you is that it takes creativity to see a picture and know how you can alter it to make it convey a completely different message while using the exact same image. It makes it even more impressive then when you can set up the shot so that the desired message is conveyed without any additional editing.