Tag Archives: Crackpot

The Crackpot Index for Photographers

There is this recurring discussion of what defines fine-art photography. Can the image of a lemon tart be art? Is photography an art form at all?

Easier than defining art is defining what is not. According to the philosopher Walter Benjamin, kitsch is, unlike art, a utilitarian object lacking all critical distance between object and observer; it offers instantaneous emotional gratification without intellectual effort.

Bagan, Myanmar

Cliche image of an iconic place: sunset over the temples of Bagan, Myanmar. An image accounting for one point on the crackpot index. Therfore, one or two of these images are allowed in a portfolio.

I would rate a large amount of the current professional landscape work, published in magazines and catalogues as kitsch. Probably this due to art directors and editors having grown up with artificial flavor and visual over-saturation. Look at the tutorials of Phase One, a company catering for professionals: they are proud of the fact that a lake in Scotland, captured under a gray sky, can be made to look like the waters of Anse La Digue (Seychelles).  Bad enough that this might be required to be successful in the market place.

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