“Great” photography & Pompier painters, part 1/2

Ce qui est trop parfait met Dieu en colère
“What is too perfect makes God angry”

 

Academic Art is the art and artists influenced by the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts. In the 19th Century, the French called it “l’art pompier”, especially historical or allegorical ones. It derives from the helmets with horse-hair tails, worn at the time by French firemen, which are similar to the Attic helmet often worn in such works by allegorical personifications, classical warriors, or Napoleonic cavalry. It also suggests pompeux (“pompous”).

Pompier art was seen by those who used the term as the epitome of the values of the bourgeoisie, and as insincere and overblown.

These painters (like Gérôme or Bouguereau) had a splendid technique, but they stayed in History, in this Pompier catégory : boring and perfectly made.

 

Now I admit there’s a guilty pleasure watching these guys’s works. But this is NOT what you want to study for months, right? Which I did with Manet…

There’s a pattern here : an annoying dance between “It’s splendidly made” and “It’s nowhere inventing here”, no emotion, just technique…

If we agree in the core of Arts (“What’s new here?”), we can watch this pattern/structure in onther places, like photography. This will be the part 2!

Thanks for reading!

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“Do it on your cam” – Are you a photographer or a computer tinkerer?

No effects : “Do it on your cam” – Are you a photographer or a computer tinkerer?

Photography is a great hobby, and we all do it differently.

Digital and Big Giga SD cards allow us to take thousands of pictures. Then, for each, we can play a long time on our computer, pushing/pulling cursors for light, sharpness, special effects and filters. That’s fun!

In a way, I’m sure that we all realize one day or another that… it’s too much.

I heard many times about how photographers “invent” limits to reframe their Art. You have, as often, to invent some fruitful limits to climb into a higher level of… requirement.

Some go back to analogue, films. It’s expensive (you have to buy film rolls), therefore you really, suddenly, have to THINK before you trigger. It’s good to think about what we do!

What I chose to do is to know my cam enough to take the picture I want to get, without spending time to “fix” it on my Macintosh.

Thus, I often take the picture I want to get. I have to think about frames, grain, color, darkness and light, shadows. I don’t touch it, then. I sometimes reframe a bit, or add a little sharpness, that’s all. No filter, no color alteration, no RAW, etc…

I took these pictures today.

Voilà. The tool is yours : what will you… decrease, limit, in your Art-Too-Much? When you’re too rich on something, what do you stop, or choose 2%? What for? What would you win?

Thanks for reading!

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