Our recent conversation about art and photography

by Piete van Zyl
(South Africa)

Figure Drawing

Figure Drawing

I had a chat with a friend recently and we were discussing art and photography and how one could become a pro either in photography or any of the art genres. This is just part of our chat from what I remember:

There are so many niches in photography and, if you truly want to be a professional, do a few courses on design and the elements of pattern - study up on the "golden ratio" - go to Wikipedia and put 'golden ratio' into the search box and ignore the calculus but take note of the ratios artists have used for centuries.

It is really worth knowing about this if you are into photography or fine art. This data is applicable in all forms of design and form. Another very important thing is to know a bit about color—choose any color (there are approximately 16 million colors) now choose its exact opposite in the spectrum. Know how to do that? Study up on Munsell or check it out on Google "munsell +color" and or Wikipedia. You have to know this technology (as a photographer or artist) if one is to succeed in the arts.

This even goes into movies, illustrations for ads and many other forms of art and design. This is a necessary skill if one wants to make an impact on the art or photo scene. Sure, it is okay to shoot pics in black and white like Ansel Adams (and he certainly knew about the golden ratio) and become famous for his landscape scenes - but you can't do the same things today.

Art and photography (and all the arts) is all about communication, nothing more—and that means all forms and genres of art. It has to make an emotional impact on its intended viewers (audiences) whether that be "I hate that" or "that's lovely" or whatever. And if it has been done before it becomes a "me to" product and therefore boring "we've seen it all before" so originality or creativeness is vital for any art/photo to create an impact. You've probably seen artists who display elephant dung in an art exhibition to try and create an impact and it surely does cause people to think it is disgusting - and it is - but it has done its job. Nowadays it's old hat!

There is of course more BS in art than any other profession, I see it constantly in art books and magazines when you try and fathom out what the guy is trying to say about a specific painting. If you know a little about the art world and painting you'd think "this is total BS, how could people fall for this crap!"

Bottom line; if you are passionate about something you must study all the ins and outs of it, I mean really study. You buy books and CD's and DVD's from the real pros who know and you duplicate what they are doing—and then you create your own handwriting or style and take it up to the next level. If you don't do this, well, you're just a dilettante, nothing more. And who wants to be a dilettante?

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