This article, the article by Bedford, is an evaluation of the criticism of photography and a proposal as to why it is inadequate. Bedford poses the question as to whether photography is in fact being criticized to its full potential. Two readings are discussed at length, one by Fried on Thomas Demand, and one by Greenberg. These readings are criticisms, of photography and of painting, and Bedford argues that they are the precursors to current criticism and both adequate and inadequate at the same time, listing their short comings. After this analysis by Bedford, several artists provide comments about the work, as a whole they neither completely agree no disagree. Most agree that the criticism of photography is not meant to be evaluated in the same light as traditional mediums. They very in their reasoning’s, some due to the layers and process, some due to the universality of photography, and others because of the commercial value and saleable nature of photography.
Seeing as this is an evaluation of contemporary art, I would say that it is in fact very important. The article discusses the discrepancies between evaluating photography in the same manner as traditional mediums. The mediums themselves are approached differently and differ in process and execution, therefore it does not make complete sense to evaluate them on identical criteria.
The article Qualifying Photography as Art or, Is Photography All It Can Be? Was written by Christopher Bedford, the curator of the Rose Art Museum. Bedford argues that the remedy for photographic criticism lies within an awareness of both technical process and understanding of the conceptual implications of these technical processes. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the process behind the photograph prior to its conception. From what I have seen circulating the art world, I agree that the understanding of process and its relation to concept is important. However, I would also argue in agreement with Ken Abbot, who brings up the idea that photography might be something other than art all together. Process is important, but there is something to be said for the straight image, the accidental, the journalistic, the documentary, and I’m not sure how I feel about them being separated.
In my own practice, I shoot primarily digital. The act of shooting is a process to me but not in a technical, scientific, or chemical way. It is more the act of living, exploring, the act of seeing. I have taken to adventuring with my camera, collecting images, people, objects, places. However, there is something so simplistic about the photographic image that I feel like I am almost battling. The simplicity to me, often turns me off the straight photography and makes me search for something else. Some people find this in their process prior to the taking of the image. Instead, the majority of my work happens post photograph. I use all of my images as an archive to illustrate my thoughts and ideas in mostly photo manipulations and collage. I feel like the process Bedford and his associates are referring to is more the former than my process but still relevant.
Phillip Prodger discusses the sellability of photographs and the monetary value of the photograph, to me this is rather off putting for some reason, and that might be this high and mighty elevated and rather romantic view of the artist as a servant of the art. What is your position on the photograph as an object to be produced and sold even within the art world?
“Photography is better than art” How would photography stand alone if it was not associated with art? If there were no preconceived notion of the photograph, what would it be?