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Science

How Million-Dollar Frauds Turned Photo Conservation Into a Mature Science 65

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the totally-photoshopped dept.
carmendrahl writes "Photos used to be second-class citizens in the art world, not considered as prestigious as paintings or sculpture. But that changed in the 1990s. As daguerrotypes and the like started selling for millions of dollars, fakes also slipped in. Unfortunately, the art world didn't have good ways of authenticating originals. Cultural heritage researchers had to play catch-up, and quickly. Two fraud cases, one involving avant garde photographer Man Ray, turned photo conservation from a niche field into a mature science."
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How Million-Dollar Frauds Turned Photo Conservation Into a Mature Science

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  • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @12:10AM (#43011687)

    There are always idiots who don't understand the new medium.

    Movies, Jazz, Rock, Gaming (Interactive stories).

    50 - 100 years later the new medium is "recognized" as being "legitimate" expressions of the human spirit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @12:49AM (#43011831)

    But Photos are older then all those you mention.

    Could it be that photo art as far as conversation goes is pretty pointless, because you can make limitless copies from the negative? Now conserving the negative, that could be useful.

    There is no need to conserve a printout of you still got the original digital file and can always print it again. Suggest ANYTHING else and you are in favor of Amazons artificial digital scarcity patent. There is no reason why a photo should sell for millions when copies can be had for a dime. It would be like paying a dollar (or worse, a euro) for a digital music recording. You would have to be an utter fool and tool to pay such prices for what costs at most a single cent to distribute.

    Imagine if movie makers did the same, released just one reel and we all had to go and watch that one reel. It would be pretty silly no? Compare music to movies and iTune users should be happy to pay a hundred or more for a movie ticket. Thousands in case of block buster titles.

    Artificial scarcity, it is a silly concept.

  • by the-build-chicken (644253) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @12:51AM (#43011839)

    It's a bit reductionist to say that it's just because they're 'snobs'....the way it was explained to me by my art teacher is thus:

    There are artists, and there are artisans...artists create art, artisans create craft...the yardstick used [in the art world] to differentiate the two is the ability to reproduce the work given the same skills, equipment and environment.

    Take for example, two metal workers...both with the same training, equipment, environment and requirements...likely it will be difficult to spot too much of a great difference in the resulting product. Same goes for photography...same camera, settings, direction, time of day, physical location etc...you end up with the same shot (as this article eludes to)....very difficult to tell the difference between two works of craft produced in the same way.

    However....you take two draughtsman (sketch artist, not architectural)...with the same years of experience, give them the same pencil, same paper, same light, same subject.....you get vastly different results. Same for painting.

    Interestingly, before Rodin, sculpture was considered a "craft"....he showed that it wasn't.

    IMHO, the jury is still out on photography...with film it had an small element of art because of the nature of the development process...with digital, it's really hard to argue that it's not a craft.

    The most telling point I think is that, if you talk to a artist (classically trained painter, sculptor or draughtsman) who is also a great photographer...he/she will usually not classify his photography as art, usually as craft....in fact, even the greats like Ansel Adams used to get angry when people called his work 'art'....he saw himself as an artisan and historian more than anything.

    Classically trained artists sound like snobs sometimes because of the wholesale trivialization of their hard won skills....Donald Trump calls contract negotiation an 'art', I've heard some programmers call coding an 'art'...everyone calls what they do an 'art'....go spend 10 years trying to master classical portraiture and you'll see why those classifications are just laughable on all fronts.

    But that's just the view of this programmer, classically trained portrait artist, sculptor and photographer :)

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