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07-22-2012, 11:47 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Would you rather have an average painting or a good photograph?

I've had an inferiority attitude towards painters, as I've always admired the skill and experience that go into painting a scene from scratch; as opposed to the simple shutter click on my camera.

But that attitude is changing - due to these two events:

a) At a statewide juried show a year ago, the sponsoring co-op gallery sent out a newsletter with a critic's appraisal of the show. He wrote that there was a range of painting quality in the show from really good to average, but the lower quality art work was priced way too high. He said there was some of that in the photography display, but not nearly so pronounced as in the painting art work.

b) I was scheduled to have a show in the loft of a wine shop for July. Turns out that the proprietor mistakenly didn't check his schedule and let a painter install a show. The proprietor apologized and asked me to put some items in the remaining 1/3 of the loft that the painter hadn't used and then rescheduled to give me the loft in August. The wine shop proprietor asked me to host the loft during the monthly art walk night, since the painter had declined. During the art walk, there appeared to be more interest in my photographs than in the paintings next to them, but perhaps that was me sitting there and pouring wine samples I've sold 5 items out of my display, but haven't seen any missing paintings to indicate sales.

I looked at the paintings, they appeared to be an abstract sort of surrealism, but they didn't appeal to me. I normally look at both paintings and photography anytime i enter a gallery, and many times there are paintings that i would love to have - these just weren't them.

Then it hit me. Good art is good art - and the media that was used to create it is less important than the end result. On another day, this painters work might hit the sweet spot, and mine may not be so interesting - enjoy it when it happens.

07-22-2012, 12:53 PM   #2
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No matter how "good" or "average (defined by whom or as what - I have no idea)," I would not want either unless I happened to like it. You see what I am getting at?
07-22-2012, 02:53 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fontan Quote
No matter how "good" or "average (defined by whom or as what - I have no idea)," I would not want either unless I happened to like it. You see what I am getting at?
I assumed you would be the judge of what was on the walls of your domicile. I'm very aware that noone buys an art piece, unless they themselves, or their partner, likes it. Ultimately, its the customer that judges.

But the more interesting question to me is: is there a bias in the art world towards paintings as a more valued item than photographic art. I think there is. When i go into the 5 galleries i most often visit - i more often see a greater number of paintings and painting reproductions, than i see photographs. In fact i know of one co-op gallery that limits the number of photographic artists to 2 or 3 out of 20 artists overall. Most galleries i go into seem to have more paintings displayed than photographs - anyone know of exceptions???

Does anyone know of art sales statistics on the internet - it would be fun to look at.

Last edited by philbaum; 07-22-2012 at 03:00 PM.
07-25-2012, 02:26 PM   #4
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I definitely think there is a bias in Art favoring paintings (and the like) as opposed to photography although it may not be as great as I think... I have noticed more photography in the art galleries when it comes to our local art walks.

However, when it comes to actually buying art, I definitely favor paintings... I can appreciate photographs and paintings on an equal level, but if I am going to hang a photograph it is going to be my own. Thus, I tend to buy paintings when I buy. Of course many photos are going to be better than mine, but I don't want a spectacular photo to make mine look inferior directly .... Never-the-less, I also paint occasionally, and I don't let those same issues influence whether I buy a painting or not. In general, I am also a little less critical on the painting side of art, so I think that affects how I feel about hanging others' art as well as my own.

Then again, photographs can be more tempting because they tend to be cheaper. I do occasionally buy small photos here and there, but not for the sake of hanging on a wall.

The one thing I tend to like in any art is uniqueness... That tends to be harder to come by in photos by virtue of the medium. The closest I came to purchasing a photograph was from a photographer whom shot black and white in a high-key manner (not sure if she exposed that way or developed that way or what) and then hand colored the photos. It was a bit of an abstract style of photography... I know it isn't all that uncommon, but it is unique enough that it was the only time I've ever seen that type of photography in person...

07-26-2012, 12:19 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by emalvick Quote
I definitely think there is a bias in Art favoring paintings (and the like) as opposed to photography although it may not be as great as I think... I have noticed more photography in the art galleries when it comes to our local art walks.

However, when it comes to actually buying art, I definitely favor paintings... I can appreciate photographs and paintings on an equal level, but if I am going to hang a photograph it is going to be my own. Thus, I tend to buy paintings when I buy. Of course many photos are going to be better than mine, but I don't want a spectacular photo to make mine look inferior directly .... Never-the-less, I also paint occasionally, and I don't let those same issues influence whether I buy a painting or not. In general, I am also a little less critical on the painting side of art, so I think that affects how I feel about hanging others' art as well as my own.

Then again, photographs can be more tempting because they tend to be cheaper. I do occasionally buy small photos here and there, but not for the sake of hanging on a wall.

The one thing I tend to like in any art is uniqueness... That tends to be harder to come by in photos by virtue of the medium. The closest I came to purchasing a photograph was from a photographer whom shot black and white in a high-key manner (not sure if she exposed that way or developed that way or what) and then hand colored the photos. It was a bit of an abstract style of photography... I know it isn't all that uncommon, but it is unique enough that it was the only time I've ever seen that type of photography in person...
I appreciate your viewpoint, since you do both painting and photography. Interesting.

I feel a bit like a hypocrite, since before I got into photography in a serious way in 2007, my wife and i would buy the occasional painting copy to decorate our house. Never considered a framed photograph at the time - don't know why. Between shows now, my house is semi-filled with pictures staged for the next show, then it looks denuded during a show (except for some of my lesser attempts that i know will prob. never sell).

If one looks at the contests done by PF and other online photography forums, one sees some really beautiful photographic work that can compete with any art medium, IMO. The photograph that i'd like to have hanging in my house, other than my own, is the one from Henri C. Bresson of the man and cat sitting in a New York City alleyway. I have a book that shows it but its way small - think i'll look into what a copy would cost a "starving artist"
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