Sunday, September 24, 2006

Art and Commerce

American PHOTO, jan/feb 06' talks about a commerical photographer named Helmut Newton. He is a subversive and perverse commercial photographer, that has a particular vision that a lot of commercial clients are looking for. His art was provocative, he did things other photographers wouldn't even dare to think of.

However, if you asked him if he considered his work to be artistic, he would strongly disagree, but accept other commercial photographers as artists. Newton told a reporter shortly before his death, "If my pictures happen to be exhibited in a gallery or a museum that's fine. But that's not why I do them. I'm a hired gun."

After his death his work, ranging from fashion shots to editorial and advertising pictures, was displayed in a collection titled A Gun for Hire. It is said that in each of these works you can find Newton's worldview, with mystery and obsession fused in.

Newton's work was exactly that, work. He wasn't concerned about making a point to the viewer, he was ready to prostitute his talent to make a living. He still had his vision, but he wasn't attached to anything. If you had the money and you allowed him to do his thing, that's all he wanted.

Newton didn't think of himself as an artists. It was a job for him. Even with that he still became an artist to the viewer. So this brings up a question is commercial photography really an art. Well Helmut Newton didn't think he was, but others did. What do you think?


Blogger marydorsey said...

Have you ever seen his HUGE book? 20"x30", 66 lbs... Helmut's book comes with its own stand! I don't know how many were printed, but would you want one in your living room, with his nudes marching thru the 464 pages? Yes, I agree Helmut Newman was all for $$ and notoriety. However, he was a great technical and creative photographer.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Professor Melis said...

I confess to not being very familiar with his work, so I will have to look him up and learn more--especially as regards a book so big it has its own stand--that sounds like art to me! Thanks!

9:14 PM  

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