“A tenuous grip on certainty”
Certainty can be illusive in any field, but most of all in Art. It can seem like Art is synonymous with and has a tenuous grip on certainty/reality. Perhaps it is uncritically seen that this is a down side of the subject of Art, I think not…
Art is perhaps best seen as being in a different category than certainty all together, at least in a philosophical sense. For me, this is the way the history of photography is generally understood, with its’ relationship to the Art world.
There is now, undoubtedly in some quarters of the art world a tenuous relationship between photography and Art. In reality the two subjects/disciplines could not be more inextricably connected.
The reason for the discord or discontinuity between the perception of the two subjects, must be this understanding of art-photography sometimes having ‘A tenuous grip on certainty’. With this statement I am alluding to the notorious play and experimentation that went on in photographic art at and during the time of its’ inception. Man Ray springs to mind, as opposed to Ansel Adams; two greats of the photographic history world, for two very different bodies of work.
Anyone with filters on their phones or photoshop access will know; reality can be manipulated in a multitude of ways.
This is generally how Man Ray practiced in the medium of photography. Whereas, Ansel adams, ever the ultra-realist ultra-purist of photographic history, tried to capture the world he knew, through his lens, believing that what he captured was in a real sense, for him and his admirers, reality, writ large.
In any case, this is how photography can be seen now in today’s world.
This aspect of photography, (realism) is linked to my previous article ‘On Integrity’. Somehow, realism is here linked to integrity, and wholeness. Whereas, the fact that photography is an Art-form, not strictly a science; surrealism in photography (which I practice on-occasion) may be viewed as having a tenuous grip on reality.
This is all a discredited outlook: Photography as realism is pure myth.
Photographs are no more reality and certainty of their’ subject-matter than lies are truths!
Photos are what they are, they are nothing more.