Announcing France Photography Collection

Madonna and Child, Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

This hauntingly abstract image of the Madonna and child was made at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France.

Welcome to my France Photography Collection. The collection has grown substantially and now includes significant tourist sites including the following:

  • Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Sacre Coeur Basilica
  • Louvre
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Academie Nationale de Musique
  • Academie de Poesie et de Musique
  • St. Etienne du Mont Church
  • Versailles
  • Pere Lachaise Cemetery

The Purpose of Art

The above photo is one of my favorites from this collection. It features a scene from the magnificent Pere Lachaise Cemetery. Yet it’s a scene that’s more invention than fact, more abstract than substance. It suggests more than it defines and, perhaps, that’s it’s greatest quality.

As the purpose of art is not so much to answer questions, as it is to pose them, I think such photos can be described as art more for their intangible qualities than because of the frame that surrounds them or the context (e.g., website or traditional gallery) in which they are displayed.

Good Art and Bad Art

I suppose there’s an argument, as is the case with beauty, that art is in the eye of the beholder. While I might be able to accept that proposition, as a generalization, that doesn’t mean that all art is, therefore, good art. But what determines whether a work is good art, or otherwise?

It seems to me that good art needs to fulfill, at least, one of the following functions:

Reality

To explore elements within our world from a subjective point of view. It is not so much what (i.e., the subject) or how (e.g., the style or technique) that underpins the work that’s of issue here. It’s the artist’s response to the subject, topic or idea explored that is important. In other words, it's the why that matters most.

Just as no one really lives in a vacuum, none of us can be totally objective about the art we make. The decisions we make (e.g., composition, lighting, image processing) all affect the so-called reality (actually a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional world) we photographers create.

As an aside, I find it hard to define a work that is not well made to be art. For example, there’s lots of graffiti out there, not all of which I’d call art. The critical and defining differences are the intention of the artist and the quality of their work.  

Suggestion

Good art ask questions or point to truths about our existance, our world and, by extension, our relationship with the world around us and the sublime.

Abstraction and Metaphor  

By moving beyond appearance the work can begin to suggest possibilities or outcomes beyond that which is defined by the identity of the subject. As our sense of reality is skewed, we become open to possibilities beyond the surface of the subject depicted and the borders of the frame. 

I’d like to think that the above photo ticks all of these boxes. Whether you like it or not is, of course, up to you. But I consider it to be more than a photo, and well beyond craft. While certain baggage associated with being an Australian (probably linked to my Anglo/Irish forebears) makes it difficult for me, even after all these years, to refer to myself as the Travel Photography Guru, I’m confident enough to call the above photo art. You won’t see me screaming about it from a rooftop, but I’m comfortable with the term nevertheless. What do you think?

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For a quick photo tour of Paris take a few moments to explore my France Photography Collection. If you’d like to see more of my photographs from Pere Lachaise Cemetery, and discover how they were made, you’ll love my Photographing Cemeteries eBook. It’s absolutely packed with content (ideas, theory, techniques) and beautiful photos.

I have two more Photography Collection updates coming over the next few days. After that you can look forward to a range of other exciting additions coming to this site. Thanks for sharing the journey with me. And don't forget to share the joy with your friends by clicking on one or more of the social media icons below. I'd really appreciate it.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru