General Question

yoshiboshi's avatar

If you make a piece of sculpture to photograph it, is it no longer a sculpture?

Asked by yoshiboshi (356 points ) September 21st, 2011

Suppose I made a piece of sculpture that looks amazing, but let’s also suppose that what I really wanted to do was to photograph it and create some interesting compositions with my photos, not really to display the sculpture (although it CAN be displayed). Does the work no longer become a sculpture but a photograph? And saying they are both is too easy of a way out of it. I’m really looking for some serious answers.

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21 Answers

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wundayatta's avatar

Art is in the eye of the beholder. If I say it is sculpture, it is sculpture. Nothing you can do about that. I don’t give a shit that you want to take pictures of it.

Now, later on, I go and look at your pictures, and I think they are a piece of crap. Not worthy of the word “picture.” I wonder if you had any training at all. I wonder that your camera didn’t blow up the first time you touched it. I think it is a crime you are allowed to have a camera. God must have been somewhere else that day.

And yet, they are still pictures. Nothing I can do about that.

Sorry, Charlie. But they are both, or neither, or one is and the other isn’t, depending on who is looking at it. In fact, I hate to tell you, but that is not a sculpture. It’s really a VW bug, and you can’t tell me any different. Go get your eyes checked.

Under the Orange Tree.

rebbel's avatar

I would call it a Schrödinger’s object.

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yoshiboshi's avatar

BTW, this was a discussion between a photography student and a sculpture student. I was listening in, and they got pretty into it, and never really settled it.

wonderingwhy's avatar

The sculpture is a sculpture, the photographs of the sculpture are photographs however they don’t change the nature of sculpture any more than taking a picture of a deer makes it not a deer. You may view the sculpture as a photographic subject but as the definition of the subject is also a sculpture it remains so (though in that case they are not exclusionary and therefore it can be both).

wundayatta's avatar

@yoshiboshi Your mistake is in paying attention to sculpture and photography students. Students love to have this kind of conversation. They exercise their arguing chops. But they don’t necessarily need to be arguing about anything of substance. You can have a discussion about this, but the answers you are going to get are all going to be bogus because we are splitting infinitely thin hairs with a dull knife here.

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yoshiboshi's avatar

@wonderingwhy that’s a nice way to put it, I like that.

@wundayatta It’s not really a mistake to pay attention to them. I found their discussion interesting, but at the same time, I was disheartened that neither could come to a mutual conclusion.

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FutureMemory's avatar

It’s mental masturbation, artist style. Neither can reach a conclusion because there is no definitive conclusion. Isn’t that obvious?

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Mariah's avatar

I think it’s still a sculpture. For instance, if I take a really fabulous photo of the Eiffel Tower, few people are going to pat me on the back and congratulate me on my work of art. The vast majority of the work that makes that photograph awesome was done by Gustave Eiffel, not by me.

Just my opinion.

KatawaGrey's avatar

[Mod says]: Please remember that this question is in General, folks. Responses must be helpful and on topic. Thank you.

creative1's avatar

I would consider them to be two different indivdual types for work and so you would 1 have a marvelous sculpture you created and 2 would then after taking photos have more amazing work you also created because each photo in different compsitions would be then individual peices of work themselves.

rooeytoo's avatar

If you are looking at the original piece of sculpture, it is a sculpture. If you are looking at the photograph of it, then it is a photograph. Doesn’t really seem like something one would have a deep discussion about. Unless of course you are a college student.

There that is settled, now let’s get to work on the true meaning of life!

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