inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #76 of 145: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Tue 1 Aug 06 19:23
    
Ted, there is another side to this economic levitation that you
haven't spoken much about and that is the generosity of artistic
communities. (I am tempted to insert the word 'healthy' inside that
phrase 'artistic communities', but I'll resist it.)

I've stopped being amazing, though I continue to be grateful, to those
who have shared generously.  Referrals, lent (or *given*) equipment,
recommendations, the nudge at the right time, or just the benefit of an
honest perspective.  Beyond the practical help these things are, they
also help minimize the sense of isolation that can creep into artistic
endeavors.

Ted himself has been an active advocate and friend to many artists. 
And the beneficiary, too, of generous acts. Perhaps he'll share  some
of these stories. (And folks who may be reading this who have stories
to tell can pipe up.)

    ~~~~~


And a reminder to those off the Well, that you can participate by
sending an email with your comments or questions to the hosts of this
conference via inkwell@well.com


 

 
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #77 of 145: Ted Orland (tedorland) Wed 2 Aug 06 09:25
    
I appreciate Chris’ effort to add a dash of altruism into the equation
in her questioning Wilde’s quote, but personally I kinda like Wilde’s
clever but non-judgmental description of the different world view of
artists & bankers.

Mostly, I think we just do the best we can at any given point, and
only look at the whys & wherefors well after the fact. And in truth I’m
never sure whether our deeper motives or beliefs are really there, and
just bubble to the surface naturally over time, or whether it’s just
revisionist history at work -- or some combination of both.

In that vein, the following story may strike you as a non sequitur,
but I think of it more like a reality check…  
Lee Witkin, the founder of Witkin Gallery, me told once about having
had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to spend a morning listening in (in
sort of a fly-on-the-wall fashion) on a meeting between Georgia O’Keefe
and Laura Gilpin at O’Keefe’s ranch in New Mexico. He remembered how
excited he was at the prospect of hearing these two legendary figures
in Southwestern art -- What would they say as they compared notes on
their work, on its meaning and purpose, on its spiritual content, on
Stieglitz and Adams and Weston and Picasso, on the future of art
itself? He told me they spent two hours discussing how difficult it was
to find a laundry they could trust to clean their clothes right, which
brand of coffee they favored, the difficulty of scheduling UPS
pickups, and the weather. 
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #78 of 145: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Wed 2 Aug 06 09:50
    
No surprise there. 


But I'll go back to the summer I met Ted when I was the recipient of
two gracious acts of generosity.  I went to Yosemite to attend an Ansel
Adams week-long workshop. Ansel was dead by then (this was 84 or 85,
perhaps Ted can remember) so the featured instructors were Paul
Caponigro, Jerry Uelsmann, Ernst Haas, and Wanda Hammerbeck. I went
with a wish to work with Caponigro.  The first night of the workshop, I
looked at the schedule they handed me and was dismayed at how little
time I had to spend with Caponigro. Fortunately, the next day, my first
session was with him. At the end of the session, I approached him and
told him I came to study with him and asked if I could attend all of
his sessions without regard for my schedule. He eyed me for a moment,
and then said 'yes' so long as I didn't become a pest. So that was what
I did.  It was great. I tagged along whenever he had a public session
and soaked up everything he said, looked at everything he drew
attention to.  One afternoon he invited me to join him for lunch and we
just talked.  I had awkward questions about making work, and he was
kind and thoughtful. After the workshop was over, we corresponded very
briefly.  I still have the letter in which he described 'the perfect
trap' I'd laid out for myself. It took me years to free myself from
that trap. Sometimes I still fall in it, but mostly I don't.  It may
not have seemed like a lot, but for this pipsqueak photographer, it was
incredibly valuable.

I'll share the other example in another post.
 
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #79 of 145: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Wed 2 Aug 06 10:00
    
But it will have to wait till lunch time....
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #80 of 145: T Kelly (bumbaugh) Wed 2 Aug 06 11:20
    


Ted, one of the major points in The View From the Studio Door is that
there is now a sense of isolation between artist and audience that didn't
exist in the (distant) past. Much of this conversation so far has worked
from the inside out; artists working in that isolation by focusing
tightly on their inner dialogue for inspiration and validation. But
clearly that isn't the only way art operates. Great work can be driven by
outside pressure. Competitions, contracts, deadlines, impatient Tsars,
and  end-of-semester-need-the-credit all nighters all have produced
interesting and sometimes great work. All of these venues have a
demanding, built-in audience, albeit a small and focused one. And much of
that audience almost assuredly is judgemental, biased, and steeped in
values antithetical to your own.(Hang on Ted, I think I have a question
in here somewhere.) So how did you balance your inner dialogue and the
exterior praise and criticism - or neglect - by your audience?  Any
recommendations on working through it?

Or you can answer this other important artistic question:
If one artist leaves San Francisco on a train traveling east at 63 mph,
and another leaves New York eight hours later on a train heading west at
72 mph, how many galleries will have rejected each artist's work by the
time the trains collide? (It's obviously a performance piece.) Warning:
This may require algebra.

Tim Kelly
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #81 of 145: Robert Wrightf (bumbaugh) Wed 2 Aug 06 11:22
    
Also off-Well, Robert Wright writes:



Given this opportunity, I just have to thank Ted whom I feel a kinship
from his writing in Scenes of Wonder and Curiosity, that book was very
inspirational to me when I was starting out in the early 90's, fresh out
of college, and it helped me paint a picture of what my life might be
like as an artist and photographer. I still reread it from time to time.

i would like to contribute my perspective on "what makes my art matter"
to this discussion, something I have not heard anyone say explicitly, and
that is for me Art is about forming relationships in many ways, between
yourself and the work and the subject of the work, between the artist and
the viewer, and hopefully between a community of viewers if it speaks
that broadly.?

For me, and I have tried to crack this nut so many different ways, but
right now, what works is to say that forming relationships is the most
human thing we do. It is the most essential thing, to engage with another
and share and risk exposure for reward. So why my art matters is that
relationships matter, absolutely, and my art comes out of a relationship
with myself-knowing my needs, responding to my desires, respecting
myself. So that is the first level, the self -relationship. And with
art-making this is often the most complicated level to traverse. Art
making is a process, and so is maintaining self-awareness, and Art comes
out of an awareness of oneself and a relationship with the self. I could
make this more psychological, but I will settle for awareness, an
awareness of what I attach to, of what I disengage from and an awareness
of what my needs and emotions are. Art has to come out of this process,
although many times it comes out in spite of this awareness, in fact
explaining it away could make you realise you don't need to do this! But
I don't think that has to be the case.


So I could go on to elaborate the other relationships, between artist and
viewer and between viewers,? but it is the same thing really.? Again, for
me, Art comes out of the process of exploring relationships, and it is
the expression of the most healthy self that you can find. And it is the
most basically human activity. So the question, "why does my art matter?"
comes down to "it matters because relationships matter" and without
relationships the self detaches and isolates. Art matters because it
promotes life. How else to say it?

This forum matters for the same reason, it promotes relating and sharing.
And it validates the tension encountered in that process, the lonely
years without recognition, conversely the enjoyment of the solitude of
art-making, all these facets.
It is a gift to be able to share this with everyone and Ted, who creates
relationships and Art wherever he goes.

Robert Wright

[postal address deleted -- host]

robertwrightphoto.com
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #82 of 145: Ted Orland (tedorland) Wed 2 Aug 06 13:20
    
I’ll be the first to champion Tim Kelly’s observations about impatient
Czars et al. I suspect that a close look at artists’ lives would
reveal that an amazingly large proportion of “fine art” is actually
created within the bounds of formidable outside constraints. 

Such constraints are the subject of endless self-righteous criticism,
usually because they appear to infringe on our god-given constitution
right to pure unadulterated “self-expression”. Take away the alleged
infringement of outside requirements, and artists will arbitrarily
impose their own anyway. Well, Humbug! Take away all constraints and
you're left with children's fingerpaintings -- which is fine if you're
five years old. Later, life demands more.

Boundaries and constraints are not limitations – they’re absolutely
necessary to provide structure, continuity, and artistic roots from
which the NEXT art piece can emerge. Edward Weston worked with one 8x10
camera and one lens. Shakespeare voluntarily placed his verse within
the constraints of iambic pentameter and the sonnet format. Ditto
Beethoven, Mozart and others composed radically new music within
tightly pre-defined boundaries of symphonic & sonata forms. And
countless writers have savored the challenge of creating a perfectly
modulated Haiku verse.

And as far as the compromises required by competitions, employers,
teachers and so on, my theory is that you pick the contraints you can
live with, the ones that don’t contradict your values (and in the best
of worlds may even provide a good vehicle for what you want to say
anyway). 

Artists, after all, are a clever lot, and often find a way to get
others to pay for what they wanted to do anyway. Ansel Adams accepted a
commmission to make landscape photographs for offices of the Dept of
the Interior, and in the process photographed “Moonrise Hernandez”, “Mt
Williamson from Manzanar” and a number of other blockbuster
masterpieces. He never had to compromise his values one iota to accept
that commission. And by AMAZING coincidence also did not charge his day
rate to the government for the precise dates that he made his very
best pictures – thus assuring that those negatives belonged to him
rather than his employer!

My own first rudimentary efforts at making “fine art” (which I defined
at the time as being a photograph that had been mounted and signed)
came only after working for several years in the commercial world as a
graphic designer. I feel absolute no regrets about those years as a
designer, and in fact it was the skills I learned then that gave me the
ability and the confidence to -- among many other things -- design and
self-publish my words & images many years later. 
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #83 of 145: Tell your piteous heart there's no harm done. (krome) Wed 2 Aug 06 22:27
    
"If one artist leaves San Francisco on a train traveling east at 63
mph,
and another leaves New York eight hours later on a train heading west
at
72 mph, how many galleries will have rejected each artist's work by
the
time the trains collide?"

All of them, except for the one in WY since they were closed for the
season and wouldn't even see the slides for 4 months.  Their rejection
letters(they had received slides from both artists)  would, of course,
be returned unopened.  Many years after this the gallery would mount a
show comprised of all the slides it had received from artists that it
had been unable to return via mail.  It was a hit.  The New York Times
said, "The innocent yet ambitious fragility of the pieces offer stark
commentary on the human condition, the selves we send out to the frozen
prairie or into space or to the gallery in Midtown...".  The San
Francisco Chronicle, of course, ran exactly the same story, without
edit.

The gallery, to its credit and to the best of its ability(the slides
had mostly all ended up in an old Baskin Robbins ice cream bucket,
unsorted) had attached names to the slides.  The New York Times figured
there probably wasn't any use in trying to track down the artists. 
Ditto the Chronicle.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #84 of 145: Ted Orland (tedorland) Wed 2 Aug 06 23:26
    
>Art is about forming relationships<

I think that proposition is the core of Robert Wright’s post, and it
certainly rings true for me. I could quibble about whether “forming
relationships is the most human thing we do”, but putting that aside,
there’s little doubt in my mind that art *is* meant to serve a social
purpose. 

That purpose would have been self-evident in earlier times, when art
and community were far more closely intertwined. Human nature and
culture evolved together, and for thousands of years art served as the
bond that linked, strengthened and validated both. Art was in fact so
thoroughly integrated into the social fabric that most pre-industrial
cultures didn’t even have a separate word for “art”.

Today, however, we are a society without community. Today the very
idea that the purpose of art is to form or strengthen relationships
would be dismissed as naïve romanticism. As a culture, we’ve bought
into the carefully crafted message that art is rare rather than common,
that artmaking is the product of genius rather than commitment and
belief, that self-expression trumps the expression of shared beliefs,
and that in the end the subject of art is art itself. 

Well, all that may play well within the art world, but it also goes a
long way toward explaining why most non-artists find zero connection
between their own life and the art that predominates in the gallery
world today. How deeply *can* art matter if the only fitting
description of its meaning and purpose is “art for art’s sake”?
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #85 of 145: Ted Orland (tedorland) Wed 2 Aug 06 23:31
    
I love your post, Kevin, responding to Tim's math problem. With humor
that biting, your true calling may be as a critic rather than an
artist!
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #86 of 145: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Thu 3 Aug 06 00:04
    

Yes, that is a great post Kevin. I thought the Baskin Robbins ice
cream bucket was a nice touch.




Ted, it could be that it is very late in the evening, but it seems to
me your post #84 could leave one feeling a little hopeless.  
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #87 of 145: putting your geek boots on (marvy) Thu 3 Aug 06 05:13
    
I went to a funeral last night for a young man, the son of a friend of ours.
The minister (our backyard neighbor, Nyack, wonderful, Nyack...) spoke of
two great burdens in his life: being a young black man and being an artist.
This struck me, particularly in relation to our conversation here. And
looking at the clown in front of me (Bill Irwin) and the filmaker over on
the left (Jonathan Demme) it occurred to me that maybe the difficulty
actually WAS in the commerce of it. Those guys don't seem to be having
trouble being artists, certainly not in the sense of being a young black man
trying to survive in a racist society. Those "successful" artists are
admittedly both white, and maybe the racial angle just complicates all this.
But looking at Irwin, I was thinking, "this guy's a freakin' clown!", but
he's managed to create an actual body of work AND support his family. Nice
work, if you can get it.

Van Gogh died penniless. So did this kid. One difference is that this kid's
artwork was terrible. I'm sorry, don't mean to insult the dead, but these
paintings were awful. The people who talked about him living on for hundreds
of years through his paintings were delusional (but at a funeral with the
mother keening in front of 350 people it's hard to be otherwise). I wonder
if selling the thing gives one a validation not receivable any other way.
Art is all about the artist but it looks to me like you need the patron too.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #88 of 145: therese (therese) Thu 3 Aug 06 09:54
    
In any endeavor, there's always the prospect of failure.  What makes
art different than most other professions is that most folks don't go
into it with an idea of striking it rich, or even striking it
comfortable.  It's totally off the radar in career choices.  And, yet,
there are artists, and as long as the human race survives, I'd make the
bet that there always will be.

The matter of the critic is essential.  The gatekeepers serve a
necessary function.  And they are often wrong, or too much of their own
time, to understand what they are reviewing. But that is always so. 
There's no shortage of book reviewers, literary theorists, publications
that run the gamut from high culture to low, all addressing the
written word.  The same is true for movies and television.  I don't
think there's a plethora of critics who specialize in the review of
photography. I'd love to have some recommendations, in case I've missed
someone.  In the photography conference on the Well we have a topic
devoted to books on photography.  The reading list is relatively short,
though quite good.

I agree with Ted about the disconnect between the gallery and
non-artists.  I think that's a fairly complex dynamic that has to do
with purposely branding art as commodity for the rarefied few.  Rather
off-putting to most folks.  There's also the artist who feels miffed if
the artwork someone wants is to be placed on the wall over the sofa. 
Well, where else would you have them place it?  So artists who get
offended by popularity and everyday usage of their artwork add to the
disconnect.  
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #89 of 145: Ted Orland (tedorland) Thu 3 Aug 06 10:21
    
Getting back to Kevin’s faux NY Times Review for a moment, I remember
Ansel Adams once reflecting in similar fashion on the likely fate of
his own work at the hands of critics (who by the 1970’s were busily
discrediting straight landscapes after discovering an exciting new
world filled with nude transvestites). 

At any rate, we were standing in Ansel’s darkroom as he made prints
for his upcoming retrospective exhibition for the NY Metropolitan
Museum of Art, and Ansel was cheerily composing mock headlines for the
review Hilton Kramer was expected to write for his NY Times column. 

In a booming voice, Ansel would deliver the prospective headlines with
biblical doomsday solemnity. A couple of them I remember clearly were:
“Ansel Adams: Fifty Years and Not A Single New Idea!”, and “Ansel
Adams: Isn’t He Dead YET!?”
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #90 of 145: Tell your piteous heart there's no harm done. (krome) Thu 3 Aug 06 10:34
    
Heh!  My bite tends to be humorous only in short bits after which it
gets pretty depressing.  A painting can be a sustained moment, the
humorous, happy, biting bits without the real(depressing) reality.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #91 of 145: Tell your piteous heart there's no harm done. (krome) Thu 3 Aug 06 11:42
    
When I was tending bar at Liverpool Lil's I told one semi-regular,
Bob, a stock broker, that I was an artist.  His response was, "That's
your problem!" and we went on to discuss Medtronic's performance over
the last quarter.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #92 of 145: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Thu 3 Aug 06 12:09
    


  Ha!
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #93 of 145: Ted Orland (tedorland) Thu 3 Aug 06 12:56
    
>Ted, it could be that it is very late in the evening, but it seems to
me your post #84 could leave one feeling a little hopeless.<

Hmmm, it doesn’t strike me that way at all. Infuriating and
disillusioning, perhaps – but hopeless only if you buy into the
prevailing myths & stereotypes. And in any case it’s nowhere near as
clear-cut as choosing between rebelling against the Evil Empire or
going over the Dark Side. 

There’s a subtle but distinct difference, emotionally and
philosophically, between reacting to the world, and responding to it.
You can react to what the world’s thrown at you and push it aside or
break through it to reach your goals, and or you can respond to what
the world’s thrown at you and find ways to convert what it offers you
to your own advantage to reach that same end.  
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #94 of 145: Ted Orland (tedorland) Thu 3 Aug 06 12:59
    
I just wanted to say that I don't want to lose track of those two
wonderful postings by Chris (#87) & Therese (#88), but I do seem to be
falling behind the curve a bit. At any rate, there are good ideas worth
pursuing there...
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #95 of 145: Ted Orland (tedorland) Thu 3 Aug 06 21:25
    
I really love Therese’s posting (#88), which is chock full of
interesting ideas. But just to play contrarian Artiste, I’d like to
arm-wrestle her over her opening comment:

>What makes art different than most other professions is that most
folks don't go into it with an idea of striking it rich, or even
striking it comfortable.  It's totally off the radar in career
choices.<

I have a different take on this – biased and myopic, perhaps, but one
nonetheless born of my first-person-singular experience of having
entered photography so long ago that it had not yet been “discovered”
by the art world (or at least not by the high-end gallery world). 

Consider that in the 1960’s there wasn’t a single living photographer
you could point to who had achieved both fame & fortune as a result of
his/her accomplishments in the medium. It was an era when – at least in
photography -- you truly had no reason to take up the art except from
a pure love of that art.  You could be the most famous photographer in
the world, and that, plus the proverbial dime, would get you a cup of
coffee. When I first met Ansel in 1966 he was busily hawking his
Portfolio IV: 16 prints for $150. That’s $9 a print (!) -- and it took
him YEARS to sell off the edition of 150 copies. So with that as your
role model for success, you took up the craft from a sheer love of the
craft, or because you had something you wanted to say, or (hopefully)
both.

But in photography, that all changed in the mid-70’s when the East
Coast gallery world entered the photography market. My favorite example
is Harry Lunn, whose Gallery  bought – for $150 apiece -- the last
three hundred copies of Moonrise Hernandez that Ansel Adams produced,
stashed them away for three years, and then put them on the market at
$10,000 apiece. Indeed, prices of many photographers’ works soon
skyrocketed, carrying a number of rising stars in the photo world along
with them. Their highly visible success drew in more players, which
created a demand for university-level photography programs (and then
graduate programs to train more photography teachers), which in
turn…well, you get the idea.

So yes, I have a sneaking suspicion that today artists DO go into it
with the fantasy of striking it rich. It doesn’t matter, apparently,
how long the odds are as long as you’ve got SOME example to pin your
hopes on. Witness the Lottery, which people play even though their
chance of winning is less than the chance of being struck by lightning.
One difference, of course, is that with the Lottery we’re not overly
disillusioned when the fantasy evaporates, because we’ve only invested
five dollars, rather than five YEARS, into the effort.

None of this, however, need dissuade anyone from pursuing a life in
the arts -- it simply means you may need to find look elsewhere for an
occupation. Think of it as a reality check. Truth is, if you immerse
yourself in your art because of the return the art itself brings, then
everything else is cream on top.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #96 of 145: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Thu 3 Aug 06 21:34
    

<I have a sneaking suspicion that today artists DO go into it
with the fantasy of striking it rich.>

There are mercenaries (Jeff Koons is my favorite example) in any
profession, but I find that premise difficult to swallow.  Any evidence
you can point to? Are you seeing students flocking to art/photography
classes with a belief they'll make it big? 

Or are you just being contrary?


 
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #97 of 145: Tell your piteous heart there's no harm done. (krome) Fri 4 Aug 06 00:43
    
"Consider that in the 1960’s there wasn’t a single living photographer
you could point to who had achieved both fame & fortune as a result of
his/her accomplishments in the medium"

Richard Avedon?

Which brings us to fashion photography...
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #98 of 145: therese (therese) Fri 4 Aug 06 05:37
    
Ha! I have to let you know that my home away from home is a place
where they wrestle alligators for sport.  I may have picked up a trick
or two, from a hunting binocular distance.

There's no doubt that some artists have achieved fame and fortune. As
you note, it wasn't Ansel Adams' marketing ability that accomplished
the task for him.  It was a gallery owner who saw the quality of Adams'
work, bought the entire remaining stock, and knew how to present it to
the marketplace.  The power of pricing and marketing generally remains
in the hands of the gatekeepers, which is why the seasoned artists of
less renown rail against the east coast galleries and the lottery-like
odds of having their work seen. If you're going to dance the gallery
owners' dance, that's a hellish path, if it doesn't come naturally.

I'll concede that the dream of riches and fame may be a driving force
for a beginning artist, but when the only check you're receiving at the
end of year one, two, three, four, five, and so on, is a reality
check, my guess is that the driving force is something other than fame
and fortune. It better be.  Because what matters is the work, and for
the artist, I don't mean the finished product, I mean the way of life. 


So, let the beginning artist hold on to that notion of making it big,
if that provides enough fuel to get her started. It's just another form
of kindling. In time, she'll have to keep the fire burning, and that's
when she'll find out if the process of art making is where she is most
alive. Then you can't keep her from it. 

I think we're both agreeing with each other.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #99 of 145: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Fri 4 Aug 06 07:07
    
<when the only check you're receiving at the end of year one, two,
three, four, five, and so on, is a reality check>

god, how I love that line!
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #100 of 145: Ted Orland (tedorland) Fri 4 Aug 06 10:03
    
I love Therese's line too! I also like her thought that dreams of
riches may be OK at the outset, if that's what it takes to get one into
the game. (I'm not yet entirely convinced by it, but I like it!) And
in any case, yes, we really are in overall agreement on this topic.

And yes Kevin, there was Richard Avedon (fashion) and Margaret
Bourke-White (photojournalism) and Karsh (portraiture) and other
exceptions, but I think their prominence in the *art* world arose
later, retroactively. That was in fact the case with all those who
viewed their personal photography as art – Sommer, Weston, Adams,
Arbus, Friedlander, the whole crowd. 

I remember Jack Welpott saying that when he came into photography in
the 1950's, the whole concept of photography-as-art was so foreign that
when asked "what kind of photography he did", he’d fumble around
trying to explain that he did "creative" photography. And even into the
1970’s, photographs in museums (MOMA excepted) were never exhibited in
the museum’s galleries, but were uniformly consigned to line the
hallways separating the galleries, interspersed with doorways, fire
extinguishers and signs pointing the way to the bathrooms. 

I also want to reassure Chris Florkowski that I’m not trying to divide
the world into Good Guys and Evil Doers when I talk about people
coming into the art with fantasy-level expectations of striking it big.
The issue is far more subtle (and less sinister) than that, often
reflected in questions and comments I hear from beginning students: 
-- “I’m going to give photography three years, and if I can’t make it
by then I’ll try something else.” 
-- “How do I copyright my pictures so no one can steal them and make
money off them?”
-- “Do you think I should photograph [whatever] so I have a better
chance of getting my work into a gallery” (And a hundred related
questions like, “Do I need to print my work really big for it to sell?”
“Is it OK to photograph straight landscapes?”)
-- “Should I only print my work in limited editions?” – this from
students who have yet to sell their first print…

Well, you get the idea. What’s most striking to me is that those are
often among the *first* questions students ask. Somehow that strikes me
as putting the cart before the horse – long before figuring out what
they have to say thru their art, and long before they’ve found a style
& technique that matches their vision, these young people are ready to
abdicate those choices to the marketplace. I think they’re getting
mightily short-changed in the process. A life in the arts is not the
same as a life in the art world.
  

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