Art & Craft

Craftsmanship, the first of photography’s 4-C’s

  • Craftsmanship
  • Composition
  • Creativity
  • Communication

was covered extensively at the start of this course. I said from the start that craftsmanship is nothing more than a means to an end when it comes to the ultimate goal of this Photography Improvement course which is to –

Make creative images in your own personal style

Mastering craftsmanship guarantees nothing more than the ability to take a snapshot as intended by the camera manufacturer.

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There is a big difference between craft and art. I’ve been reading

Art & Fear

Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of ARTMAKING

and came across the following –

The difference between art and craft lies not in the tools you hold in your hands, but in the mental set than guides them. For the artisan, craft is an end in itself. For you, the artist, craft is the vehicle for expressing your vision. Craft is the visible edge of art.

This is the same sermon that I’ve been preaching. At a minimum, you need to add the fourth C, communication, to craftsmanship in order to move beyond craft. Recall that communication in this context asks the questions – “Does this sing to me? Is there emotion here?” – and if the answer is “No – it’s just a record of what I saw” then no art is forthcoming. In fact, an image that satisfies the 4th C while falling short on craftsmanship will often be superior to a perfectly crafted image. You can find many examples of this by comparing works of art by masters – where imperfections are often part of the “charm” – against technically perfect prints mass produced by the 1000’s for sale at your local WalMart.

A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art. Paul Cezanne