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

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the totally-photoshopped dept.

Science 65

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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65 comments

Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (4, Interesting)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43011689)

Ubuntu £inux has created a monopoly on the software industry that encompases PCs, tablets, phones, and embedded devices and they are going to put all cloud service provides, except themselves, out of business. Did you know you can install Ubuntu on your Nexus 7 *natively* now?! This means that they are finally going to kill Google and become the only serious contender in the mobile market. This is unnaceptable. Did you know that Ubuntu can't run the hit release Aliens: Colonial Marines, a classic of our generation? Ubuntu intentionally doesn't run AAA games in order to put their studios out of business and break the global economy, putting millions out of work. Did you know Ubuntu phones contain NSA black ops tracking ribbons that can geolocate you anywhere in the world without electricity? They are the same GPS tracking ribbons used in $20 bills and are activated by satellites in orbit using a beta particle beam. Did you know that Ubuntu rewrites the firmware in your video card to put a permanent rootkit on your computer? Microsoft has tried their best to beat the Ubuntu tycoons, but it isn't working and many fear tyranny is upon us. I am fighting back againsr Ubuntu by installing Windows 8, you should do the same before it's too late. Ubuntu is the root cause of software piracy, it is distributed in an ISO image like pirated games and it includes a free, built in, bittorrent client. Ubuntu is the root of all evil.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43011761)

Wrap that aluminum-foil hat a bit tighter please.... your Windows bias is exposing itself to the NSA.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43011763)

Shut the fuck up, you shill.

You're clearly getting paid by Apple to spread FUD about Ubuntu.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43011819)

says doctor butthurt

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (0)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#43011797)

You should switch to Mint.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43011805)

Mint is Ubuntu, I know because I just dug the guts ouf the installer to duel boot Win 7 and Mint 14 with disk encryption on both OSes.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43015623)

Just so long as your "duel" boot has a clear winner, I suppose we're all good.

It's simpler to demonstrate that Mint is heavily based on Ubuntu. Just run 'sudo apt-get update'. It uses primarily Ubuntu repos.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#43012653)

DId they ever get the man pages working on that thing?

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43012259)

I really hope this is sarcasm.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43013417)

he said Aliens: Colonial Marines is a hit, and a classic of our generation. I assumed the whole thing was a joke at that point.

Eheh... but photos are older then all those you me (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Eheh... but photos are older then all those you (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43011833)

Ubuntu is old too but that doesn't mean it isn't evil or a NSA tracking system.

Re:Eheh... but photos are older then all those you (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43012279)

Daguerrotypes don't have negatives, and Ansel Adams would have had something to say about "just" making limitless copies from the negative.

You clearly know nothing about the history of photography, nor about printing.

Re:Eheh... but photos are older then all those you (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43012487)

Apparently there's more to it since TFA cited a case where the prints being made by someone other than the photographer greatly devalued them.

Re:Eheh... but photos are older then all those you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43013311)

That is the bit I find odd.
Yes there is a certain artistic flair in the way you develop a print but......

Hines is not really being valued on the nature of the pictures he took. Rather on the fact that HE developed them. Development is a futzy human afair but the value is from the rarity of HIM sticking the paper into the chemical solutions.

Like I said ... odd.
An almost artificially created rarity and hence value

Re:Eheh... but photos are older then all those you (2)

CycleMan (638982) | about a year ago | (#43016361)

Like I said ... odd. An almost artificially created rarity and hence value

Take two identical baseballs used in the same game. One was hit by a low-salaried major league baseball player into the foul zone. Another was hit by a highly-paid player into the center field bleachers for a home run. Somehow the fact of who touched -- not even touched, but used a bat to touch -- this ball, and where it went, changes its price immensely.

Re:Eheh... but photos are older then all those you (1)

Aaron Barlow (2836495) | about a year ago | (#43016595)

So according to the TFA, does this mean that I can't have my work processed in a LAB for printing only, but rather I need to print all copies using my won equipment?

Re:Eheh... but photos are older then all those you (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#43017449)

That appears to be the case if you want attention from the snobs.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (5, Interesting)

the-build-chicken (644253) | about a year and a half ago | (#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 :)

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (5, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | about a year and a half ago | (#43011901)

same camera, settings, direction, time of day, physical location etc...you end up with the same shot

I can't even start with how wrong that is. Much like two bullets fired from a gun clamped in a vise will never hit exactly the same point, so too is a photograph unique. Even something as trivial as precisely how hard the photographer triggers the shutter will effect the quality of the output. And if you aren't satisfied with that, I will find you a robot that can reproduce oil paintings on canvas.
Every non-trivial arrangement of atoms in the universe is unique. Either uniqueness is sufficient (and every process can be art), or else it isn't and you need a more robust discriminator.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#43012145)

I can't even start with how wrong that is.

There are photographers who've made careers out of recreating famous photos by using the "same camera, settings, direction, time of day, physical location etc"
Usually landscapes, since it's not too hard to find the exact spot a picture was taken from and because the pictures usually show some progression of time.

Much like two bullets fired from a gun clamped in a vise will never hit exactly the same point, so too is a photograph unique

Unique? The grouping should be close enough that it doesn't make any practical difference...
much like two photographers using the same cameras and the same settings in the same locations.
Nobody says that every daily paper in a run is somehow unique because there are minute variations in the printing process.

Every non-trivial arrangement of atoms in the universe is unique. Either uniqueness is sufficient (and every process can be art), or else it isn't and you need a more robust discriminator.

Well... the GP made a decent argument that uniqueness is not sufficient and provided us a set of criteria that can be used as "a more robust discriminator."
You haven't really made any arguments, just a bunch of declaratory statements.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43012353)

There are painters who've made careers out of doing reproductions of famous works, as well.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43012617)

Well... the GP made a decent argument that uniqueness is not sufficient and provided us a set of criteria that can be used as "a more robust discriminator."

No, they didn't. They offered "[...] the ability to reproduce the work given the same skills, equipment and environment.", which is is almost completely devoid of meaning.

Then they say "[...] if you talk to a artist [...] he/she will usually not classify his photography as art, usually as craft" and "everyone calls what they do an 'art'", which is not confusing, just confused.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43014793)

The difference is that you can't "get lucky" and paint a masterpiece. Even people who've never used a camera can "accidentally" take a picture that would rival those of Ansel Adams. I say that as a photographer.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (2)

Eskarel (565631) | about a year and a half ago | (#43011993)

I can't tell if you really don't understand photography or if you're just using an absurd definition of "the same shot".

If put a camera on a tripod and electronically took a shot at 6:15:49.123 on the 1st of Jan and then another shot at 6:15:49.123 on the 2nd of Jan you won't actually get the same shot, even presuming that all other factors were identical.

Yes two shots taken at exactly the same time on exactly the same day from exactly the same place with exactly the same camera pointed in exactly the same way would be identical, but the artistry and skill in photography is being in that place at that time with the photograph framed in just that way.

By that same logic you could argue that because if someone used exactly the same paints with exactly the same brushes and made exactly the same strokes in exactly the same places they'd come up with an identical painting and so painting isn't art. Sure the artistry of the painting is a bit more obvious because the you can see that artistry, but that doesn't make the artistry of the photographer any different.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43013637)

Many photographs are attractive. some are even beautiful. A small handful are inspiring. Does it take skill, experience, and judgement to be in the right place at the right time to get the shot you want? sure. How does that make it art? It takes skill, experience, and judgement to perform surgery, quarterback a football game, or even build a house. Are any of those art? Sure you can be impressed with the results, and appreciate the skill required, but are they ART? if they are, than damn near EVERYTHING is art. if everything is art, the word has no useful meaning, and we can ignore it.

I have a hard time saying that guy who spends several hours a day for a week painting a stunning portrait, and the guy who shows up for 30 seconds, adjusts the lighting, and pushes a button to take a picture, are somehow on the same level here when it comes to "art".

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (2)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year ago | (#43015589)

How does that make it art? It takes skill, experience, and judgement to perform surgery, quarterback a football game, or even build a house. Are any of those art?

If the intention was to create something aesthetically interesting and intended to be evaluated for aesthetic value, then yes, it is art. If the aesthetic aspect of a task was not intended for evaluation, then it isn't art.

So if you were a plastic surgeon who was simply repairing a facial injury, and your only intention was to repair the face, that isn't art. If during your surgical planning and execution you took efforts to add an additional aesthetic element which you intended to be appreciated beyond the basic goal of repairing the face, that is art.

That is wholly independent of the judgement of quality/worth of such art. But for the purposes of determining if something is art or not, the requirement is that there must be an intention to create something beyond the rote mechanics of creation/effort.

A lot of people don't find definitions which are based on human motives to be sufficient, but there is no getting around it when you are discussing aspects of human culture and expression.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43012031)

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

You forgot 'snob'...

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (3, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a year and a half ago | (#43012045)

Is that really the only objection though? Up until photography painting really served 2 different(though sometimes overlapping) purposes:
1. A visual depiction of reality(or things that at the very least look relatively realistic), for example portraits etc.
2. As an artistic medium
Now if you really look at painting as being primarily about the former, then the argument could be made that photography really isn't a "skill", you point the camera at something and hit a button and poof, you have captured reality. To those people photography certainly requires much less skill than actually painting something. However if you consider (post-photography) painting as primarily an artistic medium, one in which you can express your thoughts then photography is art in the very same way painting is art. You are looking for the best way to frame your ideas using real objects as your medium.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43012305)

Why is contract negotiation not an art? Send in 2 experienced negotiators on a complicated issue and they'll negotiate two entirely different deals. Possibly both deals are equally good in economic terms, but I they'll not be the same. You can increase the odds of them being similar by having them negotiate about simpler issues, but that's like telling your draughtsman to draw a single horizontal line in the middle of the canvas and leave only the thickness of the line to his imagination.

I think you underestimate the complexity of some business deals and I can probably make similar arguments for your other examples.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#43012539)

Give two people the subject and tell them go. They will choose different equipment, different times and angles. Some may apply filters or 'special effects', others won't.

Some people can take amazing photos using only a disposable camera, others will get a snapshot no matter how high end the equipment and materials.

Some classically trained artists sound like snobs because they assume that only their field of interest contains difficult to master subtleties that can only be fully appreciated through years of study.

On the other end, one man's crap sealed in a can is pretty much like another's.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (2)

codeButcher (223668) | about a year ago | (#43012551)

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.

I might not be much of a photographer, have been looking at what some others do though. I think a lot of artistry goes into choosing the right time, position, angle, focus, f-stop,...; arranging subject(s), setting up lighting, etc. etc., to get the result that s/he envisions. Also some do a lot of (digital) post-processing these days. I've seen a lot of photographs that are just beautiful to look at. They become more than a realistic representation of a piece of reality: they tell a story to the viewer (depending on the essences that the photographer chose to show), and often different viewers see different stories. OK, so I'm sure art academics have a lot more precise terms and elaborate explanations of what I'm trying to say, but this for me makes them art, instead of a mere craft.

As an aside, photographers often also develop a distinctive style that one can learn to recognize, just as with paintings or literature, say.

OK, so once someone has done it, any monkey can come along and copy the "right angle" or distinctive lighting. Not different from painting or whatever. I don't think that's a good criterion.

And then I've seen some paintings, even sold as art, that are simply attempts at representing reality with some "artsy" medium (canvas & acrylics).

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (1)

fatphil (181876) | about a year ago | (#43012559)

It's better to compare the output from two photographers, who each have the same bag of kit, and are in the same environment at the same time. Clearly they have the potential of capturing the exact same photo. You appear to think that photographers have no input in selecting the exact location, exact time, exact field of view, exact depth of focus, etc. for their photo.

Go on a photo walk some time with some photography nerds - you'll find that almost everyone comes back with something different and unusual, despite the fact that they were all in the same place at the same time.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43012595)

So if you give two photographers the same subject - for example for a portrait - then the two resulting photographs are likely to be virtually indistinguishable?
No, wait, you said "ability to reproduce".
OK, so if you take two draughtspersons, and one makes an original work, then the other will basically be incapable of reproducing it ... because hey, it's art.

It don't think you were listening to your art teacher all too closely.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (5, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#43012623)

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.

There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired. Several years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multi-million dollar machines. They had tried everything to get the machine to work but to no avail.

In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past. The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the huge machine. Finally, at the end of the day, he marked a small "x" in chalk on a particular component of the machine and said, "This is where your problem is." The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges.

The engineer responded briefly: One chalk mark $1; Knowing where to put it $49,999.

It was paid in full and the engineer retired again in peace.


Lines drawn on paper, or light exposed to film or a sensor are simply physical manifestations, just like the chalk mark. And just like the chalk mark, the value, the art comes in knowing where to put it. Where does the person put the lines on the paper? Or for the photographer, what settings does he use on the camera, where does he point it, what time of day does he take the shot, etc.

If you're going to claim photography isn't an art, you might as well claim pianists are not musicians. With other instruments, the musician is in direct contact with the sound-generating medium (either the strings or membranes being vibrated, or the air being blown) and can shape it in nearly an infinite variety of ways. But in a piano, the contact with the strings is entirely mechanical, and the keyboard action is deliberately designed to give each note only two degrees of freedom: How quickly is the hammer moving when it hits the strings? And how long is the note held down? The hammer actually detaches from the action just before it hits the string. So now matter how expressively the pianist caresses the keys, none of that gets converted into sound. The only things that matter are velocity and duration.

Consequently, pianos only have three degrees of freedom - which key(s) you press (frequency), how fast you press it (amplitude), and how long you hold it down (duration). Much, much simpler than a camera. So simple that player pianos have been around since the 1800s. Yet even with that simplicity there is such a broad range of possible expressions that nobody would take you seriously if you tried to claim pianists weren't musicians. Likewise, cameras may be simpler, more discrete to operate than a brush and canvas, but the range of possible expressions is so broad and varied that the final result is indisputably art.

Artisans or craftsmen build things for their utility, their functionality, their usefulness. Artists create things that are pleasing to look at or listen to (and I would argue smell and taste - I know a few chefs and have watched them work, and I consider them artists). Any artist who tries to tell you otherwise is just an art snob trying to marginalize another artist's work.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43013295)

Plus remember the corralary, is also true. Not all piano players are artists. Not all chiefs are artists. Just very good mechanics, coould a mechanic be an artist? So artist is snob for someone who does a good job, or does the job for you? Still haven't seen a good arguement for what an artist of a subject is. Best equipment, best view, first view of the subject in this fashion, best interpretation, another question, who determines what the artist does. He with the gold? Reinforces the snob theory.
I know artists in the field of ceramics, paint, and they do not consider themself artists but very good technicians. But then again, they have very little gold. Reinforcing the snob theory.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43013873)

Pianists who plays other people's original works are performers, just as Britney Spears is a performer, not an artist. I agree with a lot what people are saying here, yours included - that photographers are artists. In my opinion, part of being an artist is being able to create original works. Even the famous photo-realistic painters photograph their scenes. I'm not a fan of that genre but the only artist in that area whom I like is Chuck Close because he re-interprets realism.

There's more to it about photography as an art, but it's hard to distinguish these days due to the amount of noise (hipsters with instagram). If anyone's interested in the philosophical and theoretical aspects of it, check out Roland Barthe's "Camera Lucida", Walter Benjamin, and Susan Sontag.

The final pragmatic reason why photo is an art is because it's collectible. There's value in it the IRS certainly understands and has its own section about it. You can't quite say the same thing about performance art...but eh, that's a whole different can of worms.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (1)

MojoRilla (591502) | about a year ago | (#43014309)

Although I understand your point, the story is apocryphal.

See Snopes [snopes.com] for examples that attribute the same story to Tesla and Edison, as well as anonymous engineers, mechanics, and plumbers.

Also, pianos also have dampers (felt pads that lower onto the strings when the key is released) and petals, which control the action of the dampers. Furthermore, the vibration of strings on the piano can effect other string especially with the damper petal down. So a bit more complicated than you make out.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about a year ago | (#43013815)

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.

For photography, you mentioned all of the things directly influencing the end product. For drawing, you mentioned all of the things indirectly influencing it. If two draughtsmen made the same movements with the pencil, the resulting sketches would be identical. If you asked two photographers to make a picture of the same model, the photos could be as different as the two sketches you mentioned.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (1)

Aaron Barlow (2836495) | about a year ago | (#43016509)

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 :)

Pretty much wrong on so many levels. I can see the logic behind this, but all you need to do to figure this is false is spend a good deal of time actually trying to produce good photography. For another example, go on a photowalk with a bunch of people and go into a confined area. Out of the hundreds of photos taken, I would be my life savings no two are exactly the same even if the camera settings are the same. In the end, it's WHO is making the image, digital or not, not HOW it is made that matters.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43020345)

Yeah, right. Based on your definition painting cannot be considered an art either, since each painting can (and given a high enough price probably will) be forged. It's "very difficult to tell the difference between" the original and the forged picture. As a matter of fact it's a kind of science to tell them apart.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (4, Insightful)

zwei2stein (782480) | about a year and a half ago | (#43012157)

50 - 100 years is about time to:

  * forget fads and kitch no-one will remember
  * filter out crap and crud withing medium or genre
  * discover enough nuances and develop artisty to level where we can appreciate works for what they are

This is all very necessary.

Take a look at any "popular" lists like "10 best movies of century" or "20 best book authors" - they will nearly always contain disproportionate amount of recent stuff which is worthless and only got there because it is still fresh in memory and talked about, but which will be completelly forgotten and left out of those lists ten years later.

There are always idiots who think that recent pop and kitch is unrecognized art. Time needs to test the art.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43014133)

Time needs to test the art.

You sound just like my father.

Him: "Why do you hang such filth on your walls?"
Me: "I could ask you the same question."
Him: "The Venus de Milo is not filth! It's art!"

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43012215)

The idiots are the ones who pay $1M for an old photograph. You are a MORONIC FUCKING CUNT.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43012391)

Which is why I got in early and bought all the midget porn I could find.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (2)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about a year ago | (#43015017)

Snobs? Snobs??

Despite any rambling otherwise, this has solely to do with Investment Value. IF you want to have a MARKET in Artsy Photographs you will need to have a system that buyers and sellers believe in and have near-certainty about the merchandise.

Re:Every new medium is always snubbed by the snobs (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about a year ago | (#43016695)

Except this isn't a new medium

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Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43011907)

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Re:Do you like to fuck cute boys? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43012111)

I thought I was the only one here that liked the taste of a young boy in my mouth.

Who cares about linux and that other nonsense?

Real Estate Noida (-1)

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What about Photocopies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43012063)

Photocopies are sold at 5 cents a pop, and so people don't care about conservation. But when they're more expensive, well fake photocopies, 'duplicates' if you will, will creep in!

How will we tell the copies from the duplicates?

Worse still, what if someone tries to pass off an original as a copy and not just a duplicate as a copy!

It's important to ensure that only the photocopy made originally is sold as the copy and not the modern duplicate!

Re:What about Photocopies? (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a year and a half ago | (#43012191)

You know, I've read your post three times and I still haven't got the faintest idea what you're on about. So many repetitions of the words "duplicate" and "copy" in so few meaningless sentences: you should be a *AA lawyer!

What a SNOB! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43012851)

Just because photocopies are so easy to make, doesn't mean duplicates of them are acceptable!

What a snob! Nobody appreciates the effort that goes into pushing the copy button! We need tech to immediately identify the genuine copy from the worthless duplicate!

Pr0n as always drives the industry (5, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a year and a half ago | (#43012089)

I can't help but noticing the illustration in TFA [getty.edu] shows a researcher analyzing... a dirty daguerreotype. Surprise surprise...

Re:Pr0n as always drives the industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43012263)

I can't help but noticing the illustration in TFA [getty.edu] shows a researcher analyzing... a dirty daguerreotype. Surprise surprise...

Obviously you didn't do art history. Art was once often used as the pornography of the day. Where a nobleman would request a scene or a particular portrait of a favoured concubine. And later when ballet was risque and ballerinas enticing fodder for the 'gentlemen' of that latter time.

Re:Pr0n as always drives the industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43018171)

Consider how little the tutu covers and how it slyly it mimics a real dress. Of course ballet was risque.

What the fuck, Slashdot? (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43012889)

Yet another article making the most ridiculous claims ever.

Photography was not art until the 1990s? Are you fucking kidding me?

Who's in charge over there, anyway? Jesus H. Fucking Christ, they must be about 20 years old and taking correspondence courses from the University of Phoenix.

Re:What the fuck, Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43013959)

Right on! (but that '@aol.com' dings your credibility :)

Re:What the fuck, Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43014673)

Er I think the point was a bit different:
"But by the 1990s the prestige—and price tags—of photographs began to approach those of paintings and sculpture. " They started becoming pricey, so people started counterfeiting.

If indistinguishable, no point in distinguishing (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43013265)

If the copy is just like the original, just treat it the same way you would the original.
There is no point going into forensics to find something that you cannot see.

Re:If indistinguishable, no point in distinguishin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43014675)

Offer a girl a synthetic diamond ring and see how far that gets you.

Re:If indistinguishable, no point in distinguishin (1)

drkim (1559875) | about a year ago | (#43022577)

Offer a girl a synthetic diamond ring and see how far that gets you.

Get her one of these and it's all good:

http://gemesis.com/education/faqs/ [gemesis.com]

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