Somebody that I sold a few prints to told me that he had looked around the web at a number of sites before finding mine. He said that a lot of what he saw, he thought he could have done himself, but when he saw some of my shots -- those were things he couldn't have done.
And that rang a bell with me.
I too had that feeling when I first began shooting and printing. I was trying to do, at least in terms of printing technique, shots that I had loved by other photographers.
But the point, if there is one -- is that the feeling that you are looking at something that you yourself could not do is a big factor in how you decide whether something is "art" or not.
Such a big part of the equation, that when all the painters came out with their neo-abstract, one-dot on the middle of a canvas -- and I looked at it and said to myself -- hey, I could do that -- (not that I would want to) -- they had removed one of the fundamentals of the painting experience: technique.
How can something be beautiful, if there is no apparant technique to it?
Of course, it can be -- but for some of us old-timers -- it is much tougher to grasp. We think it is all a big scam (some of it is).
But to stick with the initial point -- if you are able to make something, and it may just be based on obsession and technique -- that the average person doesn't think they could do -- then you have one foot up on the popular art level (and possibly one foot down on the critical artiste level).
Van Gogh, besides being his own worst salesman -- was seen as a poor draftsman. Paint just slopped around like a crazy person.
And he managed to alienate the average person, as well as the critical audience alike.
Too novel for the critics. Too messy for the average Piere.