I use my i-phone for ordinary images, and by ordinary I mean any photograph that I make to record an event, a thing to remember, or a person I know doing something. My audience is 1. Myself, 2. A family member or friend. I do not make ordinary images for strangers.
Mass existence vs unique existence:
If this is looked at in terms of value, mass existence allows a ‘one of a kind’ to reside with everyone. If I like Malevich’s Black Cross, I can go and look at it (which I have/Tate Modern) I can also photograph it, buy a copy of it, or create my own, as to have a ‘piece of it’ in some way. Therefore mass existence has value in those terms for me. As a practitioner though, I am very interested in unique and making one of a kind (unique existence, and I am tailoring my practice towards that end. I would very much like to create ‘one off’ pieces. In this respect unique existence interests me, and would like to achieve this by aesthetic means.
This thought is now being challenged by this tutorial, because it shows, through works of artists like Andy Warhol, (Thirty are better than One) that a work of art does not need to be unique, or one of a kind, to become ‘valuable’ Even if a piece is mass produced, the aesthetics, culture and society can determine and create a new value, monetarily or otherwise.
Is it possible to be original?
This is a question that haunts any artist who is interested in producing novel and new works of art in any form, be it photography, painting, or any of the plastic arts.
At some point in ones career, one hits a brick wall, and the realization that there is nothing more that one can do. Many artists resort to all types of trickery, appropriation, intertextuality and fancy to be original and unique. All they land up being, is a bad carbon copy of the greats at best.
There is only ‘one’ Kazimir Malevich, ‘one’ Paul Klee, ‘one’ Ansel Adams. All the rest are phonies, copycats, and conjurers. Lizette Model talks about this: “There are great artists in every era, who are so new and so different, that nobody can understand them. The ears and the eyes are not used to it. They are the ones, who really contribute to the medium. But at the same time, there are other artists, they work in a non-understandable kind of a way, nobody could understand what they are doing. They are phonies, and they are working with illusions and fantasies, and this kind of difference, is extremely important to understand.”
I came to understand this and know this well. I have battled this part of myself for a very long time. One knows deep down which one of the two one is, and I could never be the latter and wouldn’t even try, I would rather face the brick wall until that moment of revelation and true inspiration comes. I have never felt comfortable with my art-work. . . I can always see a trace, glimpse, of someone else in there, and I have never been able to accept that. There is always that dark lurking shadow, maybe I have no talent, no genius, and will pass on into the yonder as the rest of all time has done, nameless and unknown and never achieve the works of Malevich, Kandinsky or Maholy Nagy. However, I do have faith, even thought it may be weak at the moment. It’s not all up to me. There is a Transcendent Other involved in the process, and just have to wait patiently until the creature and the True Creator meet.
I think that any serious artist is aware of this and wrestles with it every time they make a work of art. Is it possible to be original? Yes most definitely, in fact it is pretty common. Is it possible to be a great contributor to the medium? Yes, to this as well, however, these artists are very few and far between, maybe a handful in a century, spread across all domains.
Lizette Model: https://youtu.be/Q_0sQI90kYI