Art – Arty – Artist … is it?

If you have perused through my photography diary blog thing… I really don’t know if its a blog or a diary or what it I should really refer to it as.

Anyhow, if you’ve had a look at my pages you may have come across a couple of posts asking about art and photography.

I find it hard to get my head around some aspects of photography being referred to as art, yet some photography is clearly artistic and some great efforts go into setting up and capturing some photographic scenes.

Photography takes knowledge, skill, vision and a varying degree of imagination so the photographer should receive commensurate praise and reward as any other artistic medium.

But then what is art?

Tracey Emin CBE is an established artist who was criticised in some areas of the British media after being shortlisted for The Turner Prize for her work My Bed.

Its easy for some to scoff this kind of work but what are they scoffing at, the artist or the art world?

I know what I thought at the time and to be honest I wasn’t impressed but then it wasn’t and still isn’t a world I am immersed in.

I feel differently about such exhibits now and think actually it was very brave to put such a personal thing on display to the public, after all it wasn’t just an unmade bed unlike my photos I am about to show.

I think what confuses me is the part of who decides something is art and who decides what its value is?




So without wanting to sound like I am mocking the artists or the curators and supporters of art, can you, should you ever stumble across this post, tell me something…

Is the art in the unconscious state of sleep, the semi-wakened state of removing bedding to get out of bed, perhaps my decisions on composition and processing the images or even all of these in combination.

If I was to print these where would I suggest they are hung?

How much would I even consider charging for them?

Perhaps they are of no value because I am me; just a run of the mill normal bloke not selling myself as an artist?

I really aint being condescending, thats not who I am. Just very simply, if you are into art, are arty, an artist or just have an opinion, please fill in the gaps for me.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James


  1. It’s an old argument indeed. Is photography art? Was Tracey Emin’s bed art? How about a photo of her bed? Still art? Perhaps a watercolour, or oil painting of her bed would be art?
    Damien Hurst’s shark? The list goes on…

    Personally, I draw the line on things like a room with the light going on and off, or a pile of black bricks symbolising something I just don’t get. But I do believe that photography can be an art form. Man Ray’s photos are artistic in the main, not realistic. Mapplethorpe’s photos of Lilies are without doubt artistic, so are they not as good as an oil painting on the same subject? I think if I had to drill down into the differences, I genuinely doubt that anyone could recreate the finer points of Caravaggio or Rembrandt, using a camera. Unless they messed with it, using a ‘Caravaggio App’ on Lightroom or Photoshop. Would that then qualify? Not for me.

    So, is art something that cannot be imitated or copied? Obviously not, as that has been going on for thousands of years.

    My favourite artist is Tamara de Lempicka, here’s a link.
    She is famous for her Art Deco/ Modernist portraits. That begs two questions. Do I prefer these paintings to a photograph of the same subject? Do these paintings say more about the people portrayed than a photo would have done?
    You bet your life I do, and they do.

    Cheers mate, Pete.

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