In exercise 4, we were asked to research various artists, whose art had to be photographed to be recorded. ie Hamish Fulton considered himself to be a ‘Walking Artist’, photographing areas he walks in but believes the walking is the art “If I do not walk, I cannot make a work of Art” (Fulton 1973) – he believes the photographs just record his art. However, without the photographs his work wouldn’t be seen, the argument being the photographs and the way they are taken would be the art.
Richard Long, also bases his artwork on walks and the environment, sculptures have been made by him on various walks, and then photographed, also artwork that he has exhibited, is then photographed and displayed on his website, perhaps encouraging people to go to the exhibits to view his artwork. However, is it not then the Photographer taking the photo in say the correct lighting, certain angle is the artist being able to show his skill as a photographer.
An artist called Keith Arnatt wrote “The continual reference to the disappearance of the art object suggested to me the eventual disappearance of the artist himself”. (Arnatt 1969) said this in reference to nine black and white photographs that were shown every day on German television, for just 2 seconds. There was no warning to the viewers, leaving them to make up their own minds what was going on. The photographs showed Arnatt disappearing gradually into the ground. He considered this to be art, however the argument would be is it the camera showing the disappearing act as being the art, not the artist himself.
We are asked if the photography in these cases, is actually the artwork or is it simply providing an authentic record of the artwork itself. Personally a photographer will always see himself as the artist no matter what he takes as it could be a picture of the Tower of London, depending on the light, the angle, or what’s in the foreground, you could argue then is the Architecture the artist or the photographer if the picture was to sell. The same can be said with the photos taken of the sculptures by Richard Long, if the photograph was sold is it because of the sculpture itself or the photograph that has been taken, I am unsure of the legalities in this instance, it is an interesting topic and something I would like to investigate further.
On reflection of this exercise, I have been seeing photography in a different light, it can be confusing as to what is the art, my personal view would be it is the photograph, however I am sure this can be argued by any subject matter be it a building, person, sculpture, painting, object, what are we looking at the photograph or what is in the photograph, who owns the photograph, the photographer or the sculpturer. In this example of some beautifully displayed Sushi food at a restaurant. The chef has been artistic in the way the food has been put together, the person who put the food on display has been artistic and perhaps the photographer has been artistic just by the focus on the food alone. What are you seeing, the photograph, or the food, or the way it is displayed. I’m not sure if this is a good example but it certainly is a thought-provoking subject.