High Definition Art Photographs
by Bob Bauer

Bob Bauer's Philosophy Regarding The Works On This Site
Abstract Photography Works
Landscape And Nature Images

INTRODUCTION: I have been a professional photographic artist for over 25 years now and I have "been around the block a few times". I have seen trends and fashions come and go many times over in all of the visual arts. I have watched "movements" rise up and recede only to become the product of future derision. I have seen firm declarations by critics contradicted by the same critics not much later in time. I have observed a frantic searching for the "new" and "never seen before" as an end in itself. I have witnessed large institutions in the art world act very insecurely about their own tastes, desperately grasping at a moving target, searching to show and collect that which will be timelss with such indecision, that they are almost afraid to act at all.

All of this uncertainty leads to any given artist needing to have a long "show list" or "Big Art School" credential list of pre approvals in order to be accepted, and very few in the museum or gallery world seeming to be able to make a decision of approval without first looking at the list. Everyone following the followers. This "catch 22", has led to a certain randomness in what is accepted in the art world at any given time.

It is my contention, that in the long run, there is nothing "there" for art world institutions to grasp separate from these two basic things: (1) BEAUTY (including anti-beauty), as manifested by the forms and colors and (2) MEANING, as manifested by the representational or contextual content.

I have similarly witnessed "movements" or trends in photography come and go. Sometimes again and again. Things such as '2 millimeter depth of focus', pinhole photography, The Holga, Barbie photography, blurriness to the point of erasing most form, collage, the primacy of black and white, high contrast, platinum and palladium, daguerrotype, low contrast, bright colors, dull colors, hand coloring, the primacy of 'the process' and emulsion transfers to name a few. All declaring their supremacy over other techniques during their few moments in the sun.

I have slso watched with resignation every few years as the press declares that photography has "finally" been accepted as a legitimate art form, only to see shortly thereafter, art world spokespersons declaring that photography is not an art form, but "merely" a craft. As an example, the gallery owner carrying works of the famous photographer Cindy Sherman declared that photography isn't art and never would be. Declaring with a straight face that "Cindy isn't a photographer, she is an artist who uses photography to create her works."

At one point, I had come to accept the "fact" that PHOTOGRAPHERS ARE SUPPOSED TO FEEL GUILTY about participating in such an "easy and inferior" art form. "It isn't hard or doesn't require skill like painting or sculpture", some people would say. "It's just a picture of something, it has no deep thought or content" or "How can it be creative if one is just pointing a machine at the world", said others.

Eventually, as time moved on, I met and got to know famous and skilled painters, sculptors and others in the arts and I noticed that there wasn't a dimes worth of difference between their creativity and skill levels and mine. Eventually, I finally internalized that I, as a photographer, was truly worthy to be called an artist. Just as worthy as any of them.

A VERY IMPORTANT ART WORLD FACT which I have observed, is that the sensibilities of the creators of art are quite different than those of the purveyors, critics and exhibitors of art. The latter are much more interested in words. They care about theories, categorizing, classifying and forming heirarchies. They desire to make broad, abstract judgements and feel more comfortable when artists have been placed in the appropriate pidgeonhole. They seldom care about the beauty or meaning of an individual specific work of art.

Alternatively, ALL of the best creative artists I have met are involved in the creation of Beauty and/or Meaning in their individual artworks , and they all have one thing in common: they follow their belief in their own taste and let everyone else be damned.

The MOST IMPORTANT LESSON I HAVE LEARNED AS AN ARTIST is that one must NEVER lose touch with the progression of one's internal sense of what is beautiful and/or meaningful. It is a lesson that ALL accomplished creative persons have learned.

Those who try to follow trends or movements they don't believe in, end up losing their own sense of good and bad. And that brings about the DEATH of their creativity and originality. When you worry about what the audience wants to hear, by definition you have nothing to say. When you have something to say or show, you shout to the audience what you believe and show them what you know to be true.

WHAT I KNOW TO BE TRUE is that the real details of the world are amazing and complex as well as beautiful and meaningful. I believe that consideration of those details can lead to us rethinking our own 'human condition' and our place in the universe.
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