Photography (writing with light) is not an Art.
It’s a set of tools that require technique to be used semi-effectively, but, like any and all tools, it can be used by an artist to produce a work that is more than the sum of its parts. That’s when an artist can use photography to produce something that is, in fact, Fine Art. I’ve always admired photographs that were Fine Art, especially because I transcended into a euphoric feeling of perfection just by my looking at one. Also, I am lucky to have a good friend, Tom Glassman of Oregon, who does in fact produce Fine Art, every time he looks at something and happens to have a camera and a tripod handy.
I was double lucky ‘cause I can look at as much of Tom’s work as I want, but also, I don’t have to try the me-too-me-too exercise, as I, long ago, gave up trying to pretend I could match his patience and perfection carrying that tripod around. To each one’s own, I say, and I love my people and my mountains and my street-wise quick-on-the-click and have no regrets.
Yes, I long ago learned to leave the Fine Art to Tom. Thankfully Tom does not actually claim to be an Artist, or a Fine Artist, which is a relief because you know what they say: if anyone presents one's self as "Artist", they ain't.
Tom's Fine Art photography always comes with a cherry on top which is "no photoshop". The end part of his end result receives the [that's it! Period!] treatment while it's still in the camera. What you see is what Tom's lens saw, no photoshop, no "post production" no "improvements". Us, non-Fine Art folk, we have to go through the five stages of photography: Idea, Exposure, Developing (Digital Manipulation), Printing, Presentation. Tom does the first two, and he's done --unless it is to meticulously print a photo on just the perfectly appropriate surface and material.
Tom's art (he hates it when I call his art, "art"), utilizes minimalism and simplicity to allude to most complex thought processes and he also uses his humor to show us the absurd as well as the beautiful, the silly and funny as well as the sublime, not forgetting the natural, seen just as nature intended it.
Anyway, I'm glad I know I can't compete and at the same time I know that part of the drive in me to do better in what I do is indirectly fueled by the "what will Tom say when he sees it" thought.
Seeing how over the years we got this mutual admiration society of sorts going, perhaps we should place a bet, he and I, just like the Kip Thorn - Stephen Hawking bet about black holes, only it should be about Tom's work, which is anything but black, or a hole, and, knowing now who won that bet, I'll play the Hawking part to Tom's Thorn.
Something tells me he'll win the bet.
Thank you Tom!