Question: Can we find art? Is it just a matter of framing something... Anything... That results in art? And, oh by the way, does art have to be beautiful? Is beauty even necessary?
Look at this old rusting truck. I think it's a Ford from the early 50s that sits along the decaying Lancaster stockyards. Suppose it was a work of art when it rolled off the assembly line. If I photograph it, am I merely replicating someone else's art? Or have I brought something else to the frame here? Maybe the streaks of snow? Maybe the tight composition? Maybe my interpretation of the tonal and color ranges? Can you or I make something we see through the lens into art?
If I bring you a bucket of water from the ocean, is that water art? If I photograph that bucket filled with ocean water, what then? Maybe there's a difference between good taste and art? I mean, what most of us... any group of us consider movingly beautiful will probably be in good taste. If it shocks us by it's astonishing ugliness, if it is innately vapid, if it is a mere reproduction of what is somewhere in nature... is the photographer who takes the picture an artist... or some sort of taker-of-visual-dictation?
I have manipulated this truck image. It is not true to the moment. By adding or subtracting, by shifting or recomposing... by any number of techniques including wholesale creation of parts of this truck... Is the whole greater than the sum?
If the photographer brings nothing more than astonishing craft to accurately capture great beauty in a moment, has he committed art, or is he a plagiarist of nature?
I wonder if art doesn't demand some subjective alteration that manipulates the original moment in order to do photographic art. I wonder if the "unaltered" image can ever lay claim to being art? Is there imagination in tedious replication through the photographic process? Or is there merely great craft?
I wonder if it's the alterations that make my truck here into art (not necessarily good art, or bad art) rather than the original digital capture.
I wonder... at the power this old truck once had... and now it sits there... Out in the elements... Out of power. Power left out and worn out... Power Outage as a double entendre. Are visual entendres, art? Hmmmmm......