Sunday, May 10, 2015

Fine Craft Nudes

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I've been shooting nudes and semi-nudes for a long time. In all that time, I've never perceived my work as being art. (Fine Art Nudes, Erotic Art, or otherwise.) But I have and do perceive it as craft. In fact, I'm going to dub my work, Fine Craft Nudes or Finely Crafted Nudes, Crafted Nudes, or whatever floats my boat at any give moment, as long as it has the word craft in it.

While there are people who label my work smut -- finely crafted smut or some other kind of smut -- I could give a rat's ass about those folks. Their judgements roll off me like water off a duck's ass... sticks-n-stones and all that. And even it some of my work is smut. So what? At least it's craft-driven smut. So there! GFYs, ye who love tossing those judgmental stones.

Yep. I like the word craft.  I like it a lot. As a noun, it means, "An activity involving skill in making things."  As a verb, it means, "To exercise skill in making something."  That's not to say I don't like the word art. I do. I like art a lot.  I even sometimes try to make art, albeit not when shooting the sorts of pretty girl pics my clients pay me to shoot and I later feature on this blog.

Craft, of course, can be applied to many things: things that aren't often referred to as being art, artsy, or artistic in the traditional sense of those words, e.g., "Sailing Craft" refers to a sailor's skills in sailing a sail boat. Could you refer to sailing craft as sailing art? Sure. Why not? Knock yourselves out. But it wouldn't be a traditional use of the word art.

What I'm doing when I'm shooting pretty girls is craft-- that is, I'm employing craft skills when I'm making photos of nude, semi-nude, and scantly-clad women. There's an art to making craft. (There's also, of course, plenty of craft involved in making art.) But as words which describe things, art and craft aren't synonymous. One often refers to the process while also referring to the results. The other refers, mostly it seems, to the results.

Does it take talent, true talent, to be a craftsman? Probably not. What it takes is learning and practice. Lots of practice.

Does it take true talent to be an artist? Again, probably not. What it takes is learning and practice. Lots of practice.

Sure. There are people who are born with natural talents for producing art. All kinds of art! (The visual arts, music, writing, and more.) There's not a lot of them but a few, no doubt. But here's the deal: If art depended solely on people born with some natural, innate, overwhelming and obvious talent for producing good art, guess what? There probably wouldn't be much good art in the world.

Being born naturally-talented as an artist is not the same as being born with a natural desire to produce art. That notion explains, of course, why there's always been more people producing good art than people born with some natural and innate ability to produce good art. It also explains why art is taught. If all good artists were born with natural abilities to produce good art, we wouldn't need no steenkeeng art teachers or art schools, now would we? And we definitely wouldn't need experienced, skillfull, and craft-knowledgeable photographers teaching other photographers, new and new-ish photographers, to photograph in skillful, craft-driven, ways.

Anyway, just some thoughts on art and craft.   I'm currently reading the book, "Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking" and it's got me thinking about this sort of stuff because, in my mind, I've been reinventing myself as a photographer lately -- now that I'm semi-retired and all -- and, sooner or later, I'm going to try my hand at shooting art instead of craft. But when I do, I'll definitely be calling on my craft skills to attempt some art. We'll see how it goes.

The voluptuous pretty girl at the top, crafted in a studio by me with a Canon 5D and an 85mm prime lens (ISO 100, f/5.6, 125th) while employing three light sources, is Cody. My main light was modified with a 5' Photoflex Octo and set nearly on-axis, plus I used a pair of Chimera Medium strip boxes on either side of Cody from slightly behind.


Bill Giles said...

I've long seen most of what professional photographers do as craft. Very few are artistic, but many are fine craftsmen, a few are masters.

Anonymous said...

Interesting fact, in spanish art can also mean craft.

Stanley Workman said...

Living in a world with no consequences for your words or actions, is pure bliss. That chemical that's missing, remains Til this day, unmissed..
-Marc Breed