This incredible capture of a local bird fishing by the side of a tranquil pond owes its drama and vision to the use of filters in photographic art.
What we do:
I’m often called upon to explain what a photographic artist does. I explain not only to the everyday art lover, but often enough to painters and sculptors also. Many people, especially, other artists are often hung up with the use of photography as merely a recording tool for selfies.
Slowly, these barriers of misunderstanding are breaking down. Especially as people see the results of science and art blended in perfect unison.
In Photographic art the light is our paintbrush and reality is our stretched canvas. However, we need to add some further explanation as our work of art Water Bird in Copper displays.
Namely, a filter is our artist palette.
Artist palettes are stereotypically large boards held by painters where they mix the colors of the paints. It’s one of the oldest and most recognizable pieces of equipment in a painter’s toolbox.
Painters use palettes to mix their colors to achieve the perfect nuance of color that they then apply to the picture that they are painting. It allows them to lighten or darken paints to create help them create the highlight or shadow in the work according to their need.
In photography, the use of filters is nothing new. In fact, with out the use of filters color film would never have developed. Filters allow certain wavelengths of light, or colors, through to the lens while blocking others.
In it’s artistic application; the humble filter can serve the role of the palette and dramatically enhance the drama and beauty of the picture at hand.
When I was in taking Egyptology in graduate school at the University of Texas at Dallas back in the ‘90’s, I learned of an Egyptologist by the name of Zahi Hawass. This man was, at that time, the Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs in Egypt. This made him the undisputed king of Egyptology. No one could get an archaeological permit without his approval.
But that is not what made him different. No, He was more interested in bringing back Egyptian artifacts that sat in foreign museums back to his homeland. These artifacts were always precious statues, frescoes, jewelry and other various art forms of the Egyptian culture. He was, and still is, a catalyst for what came next.
There is now an understandable trend among international governments to reacquire lost art artifacts of their respective culture. After all, it makes good politics. It swells the nationalistic pride coffers of individual nations with physical proof of the greatness of a person’s culture’s or national history.
So it should come as no surprise that there is a new movement among the Chinese art collectors in the world to reacquire artifacts that once belonged in China. These artifacts were sometimes looted from palaces and homes in times of war and revolution. Indeed, the Chinese cultural revolution of the ’50’s seems to be over.
Normally, when a government or an individual collector of precious art finds such a work of art, they usually go through a long drawn out formal process of buying the piece back or negotiating a reasonable trade with the museum so that everyone gets something out of the deal. Even if it’s nothing more than good public relations.
But, and it’s no secret, the Chinese government does not do things the way western nations would like them to be done. When normal repatriation of the lost artwork fails, they start bidding wars at the auction houses to get the pieces back. There are some very rich people in the world, but very few can outbid a corporation bankrolled by the Chinese government for the sole purpose of acquiring these lost works.
However, there is strong speculation that several rich collectors of Chinese art found an even more lucrative way of getting their art fix. They steal it. According to The New York Times , at least 65 works of art disappeared in 5 thefts in the past 5 years.
“Chinese laws, on everything from theft to intellectual property, are very different from those in the West, and therefore stolen or forged artworks find a market far more easily there than abroad,” Noah Charney, an art crime expert said after the Norway thefts.”
It will be interesting to see how this entire affair works out in the end. The jobs are obviously done by professional thieves and the chances of capturing these guys is very slim. This is why there is only speculation and no real factual information as to what became of the pilfered art.
In fact, this crime wave reads like something right out of Hollywood. If they make a film on it, think blending the movie Mission Impossible and the modern version of the Thomas Crown Affair without the sappy love story. If any would be directors out there like this idea, I happen to know a certain photographic artist with some Chinese inspired artwork that can hook you up. Just saying….
Some days you just have to sound your own horn. So when an exciting opportunity to view and acquire genuine gallery artworks at one of Richardson’s favorite restaurants happens, we just have to let you know.
A&A Photographic Arts has recently expanded our relationship with the Cafe Brazil restaurant on U.S. 75 in Richardson, TX.
The restaurant has recently acquired 8 different photographic works from A&A Photographic Arts. The pictures are now on display and share an eclectic view of the natural world around us. Works include Texas and New Mexico landscapes, and scenes from a local garden. All of the pieces are available to the public for purchase.
We have produced many of the pictures on pieces of
aluminum that give the color and tone of the scene a chance to really stand out. The metal surface allows for the light to reflect and enhance the picture in a way that cannot be duplicated with canvas or traditional framing. This allows for crisp and bright colors in the image while maintaining the pure blacks and darker colors that denote exceptional quality.
The vision behind the recent works on display is to take the ordinary natural world people see around them and provide a channel for them to experience photography on a whole new level. Each picture produces a renewed sense of wonderment and awe of the everyday beauty we take for granted everyday.
Our goal is to provide quality art to the public by promoting the role of the photographic arts in the fine arts. The recent expansion of our works into Richardson’s Cafe Brazil restaurant will provide patrons with the unique opportunity of acquiring fine photographic art while enjoying a great meal.
“Ignore the price. In fact, don’t look at the price tag.” If you said that this is the kind of statement a salesperson would say, you’re about half right. But this is the best advice when shopping in an art gallery. Galleries are tricky mysterious locations that artists have salespeople sell their art in their name.
Well, salesperson is a negative connotation in this example. Gallerists prefer titles like art director or consultant. The title of salesperson does not go with the mystique and pleasure of selling and buying art. A salesperson sells retail goods. No one ever got $300 million worth of excited buying a tie.
In any case, the price tag placed upon an artwork is both a curse and a blessing. A blessing because it puts food on the artist’s table and allows the gallery to operate. It’s a curse because when we discuss price we are trying to take a subjective subject, the art, and assign an objective worth, the price. There has to be a bridge connecting both sides of this subjective vs objective issue.
How then can a gallery actually come up with a price
for a work of art? How does one piece of photographic art cost more than another piece even though they may look very similar in style? The reasons often boggle the mind as well as cause proverbial sticker shock to both the average gallery buyer and even the artists themselves. That bridge mentioned earlier is value. Each work of art has 2 values. One is an artistic value, the other a financial one.
Indeed, for the financial value, it mainly comes down to is the perceived value of the photograph or work in question. The leading generator according to The Globe and Mail is
“The sale price is really determined only by previous sale prices; in other words they are valuable only because someone paid a lot for them in the past. It’s a logical Moebius strip: They are valuable because they are valuable. These values are controlled by dealers and collectors who conspire to inflate the prices and keep them where they are.”
That last sentence about a conspiracy to keep and raise prices is quite important to our understanding of high art prices. Art is not just about a pretty picture hanging on the wall. It has much more power and influence in the financial world than that. A recent comment found in the New Yorker explains why a painting sells for $300 million or a photograph for $6.2 Million.
“Art is transportable, unregulated, glamorous, arcane, beautiful, difficult. It is easier to store than oil, more esoteric than diamonds, more durable than political influence. Its elusive valuation makes it conducive to extremely creative tax accounting.”
So what motivates a collector to buy and therefore increase the value and worth of a particular photograph? Alas, once again it’s not an easy question to answer. In fact:
“Motivation is also impossible to answer: Do they do it out of a love of art, a desire to provide an educational experience for their populace, as economic investment or as simple competition – out of a primal desire to own the best of everything so that no one else can?” – The Globe
Those personal motivations, coupled with the right amount of money, cause the prices on the art market to reach ever higher in the record books. If anything, it’s a reason to buy art when you find it. Like the salesperson’s quote, don’t concentrate on the price tag. It’s a fluid creature that lives and breathes by the whim of the person willing to pay the money.
But, as I’ve seen too often, I have started collecting an artist work to soon discover that their new work prices are out of my reach. While part of me is sad that I can no longer afford to buy their art, I understand that the art I have already collected has also just increased in value. So, not only is the artwork making my walls look good, it’s providing an interesting avenue for a return on investment. I love win-win scenarios.
Around my humble place of residence are scores of unseen plants and animals living, or trying to, in complete harmony with the humans and their industrial machines. Flowers and trees, birds, rabbits, squirrels, skunks, even coyotes and hawks are found living wild in our urban areas.
It is very rare to see the larger animals but finding them are a challenge that I enjoy. Often, these animals learn to approach humans in a cautionary way. One such example is our friendly kitten (baby rabbit) featured above. He was not real sure about me and never stopped looking in my direction during our little visit.
In fact, a small ballet soon ensued of him moving a foot away, and me slowly following. We’d stop, eye each other, and then continue to move another foot. This went on for several minutes until I finally lost the little guy under some brush. Unfortunately, this is only half the work.
The other half of producing a work of art is in its production. While most of the time the choice of whether to use black or white for a picture or full color is an easy choice for the photographic artist, sometimes the shot forces a specific choice.
For example, our cute bunny presented all forms of difficulties for a color shot. The rabbit has earth brown fur and he is sitting upon a small pile of flattened medium brown tree mulch while enjoying the protection of some dark shade from the sun wafting through the trees above. The result was a small cute rabbit no one could see. Obviously, what is great for the rabbit vs. predators is not so wonderful for the photographer.
It’s these very limits on what the picture will look like in color that makes photographic art no different from many of the other arts. For instance, In sculptor the rock forces the sculptor to use the rock he is given in a particular way to create his work. It’s the same for photography, while I can manipulate the image in a variety of forms and fashions; I’m forced to use the underlying picture as nature gave it to me. This is the creative challenge that I love about this art.