Photography as an art medium is not a new concept. Alfred Stieglitz epitomized it as early as 1890, and fought to establish our medium as an art form, distinct from painting, sculpting or any other visual art medium. Let me borrow the words from the Time Life book series on Photography, "After Alfred Stieglitz no one ever again needed to question whether Photography could stand on its own as a creative art."
Yet we are still struggling for that recognition. How can photography be an art when all we have to do is press the shutter button and let the camera do its thing and record what we see. Largely we have ourselves to blame for this misconception.
Much of our work, especially at the camera club level, is the beautiful recording of our surroundings. There are the sunsets, the landscapes, the flowers, insects, butterflies and birds. We keep forgetting that art goes beyond the obvious. Art requires us to give meaning to our work, to express ideas, thoughts, dreams, fantasies if you wish, or make statements about the human condition.
Art can be simply beautiful. But it must not be so. Often our thoughts, angers, frustrations, disagreements with the world around us make us want to express these feelings somehow. Yet we fail to see the potential our camera gives us to do just that.
The PHOTO ART GROUP at Latow addresses these opportunities. It explores the great works of other artists, from whatever medium, studies the history of art, encourages the members to try a new idea and dare to express a feeling or emotion, just as these famous others have done over the centuries. We derive assignments from the gallery and try to emulate the artist's vision using the camera as our tool. We do not encourage competition in order to foster free will, without hindrance of wanting to win. Just to express your ideas any way you wish.
Participation is the secret here. Members are encouraged to try it. Looking at the work of others is a great means to learn. But only when you force yourself to pre-visualize your image before tripping the shutter will you learn to use photography as an art medium.
Joh. Friedrich - Photo Art Group "firstname.lastname@example.org"