Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Age Old Medium Debate

In one of the groups on the question was posed as whether Photography is or isn't an 'art'. My response below:

I personally think that a medium is a means to an end. Too often people fall into the trap that just because a painting is done in oil or something is 'handcrafted' it's - by default - 'art'... a ridiculous notion when you think about it.

Is a Caravaggio a lesser work because he - as others - might have used Camera Obscura? By many definitions they 'cheated' and thus didn't make 'art'... one only has to be in front of an original C to realise how absurd that sounds.

There are good and bad interpretations of any medium and to attribute a default conceptual value to coloured mud, particular salts or pulverised wood is naive.

More important is the debate as to what is good or bad art - irrelevant of medium.

In our messy new world this is a monster with many fuzzy edges. To define them is increasingly difficult and, I think, 'almost' unnecessary.

Good work challenges me, inspires me and/or - most importantly - helps me look at the world differently.

Irrelevent of whether it's made with honey (Vik Muniz), pollen (Wolfgang Laib), robotic metal flower heads, silver oxides, bronze or coloured mud on rag if it looks me in the eye, scares me and makes me gasp then it has done it's job.

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