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Art Shows Respond to Digital Output for Photography
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Response to our paper titled "Digital Output in the Age of Photography"

These pages can also be read on ArtShowjury.com

Dear Larry and Chris,

I am replying to your message that has been forwarded to me. You may also receive other replies, but I just wanted to offer my response.

First, thank you so much for sharing your information. Nothing has had a greater impact on art festival planners than digital technology. Suddenly we are at odds with the very artists we seek to serve. You are experimenting with fantastic computer based programs that will ultimately change the way you produce your work. You, as artists, will select the methods best suited to your expression. We find ourselves restricted by rules and category assignments that may no longer apply. This seems to be our greatest dilemma.

This is not only seen in photography, but in practically all the art forms represented at outdoor festivals. We will make every attempt to grow in tandem with you. Defining your work will always be the role of the artist. We who bring your work to the public and present it to judges for awards have another job to do. Your attempt to enlighten us creates a bridge over the waters of confusion.

Thank you, again, and keep feeding us this valuable information.

Kay Rich, Vice President and Chair of Registration. WPSAF

Larry and Chris,

One way to look a this subject is comparison to how other "categories" are handled by the Festival. In our case, we receive applications from artist who work in Glass, Clay, Metal, Wood but apply in Sculpture (the same happens in other categories as well). In the majority of case it is fine with us. The one category where we have a firm rule is Jewelry. "Only artist accepted in the jewelry category may display and sell jewelry."

>From our view, categories are used to make the jury and judging processes simpler, not to limit the artist's creativity or to "balance the show" (something we don't do). The one downside I see is that allowing images created with Inkjet printers and sold as photographs may poise a real problem. Proper labeling should be mandatory. As you guys know, many inkjet inks are not archival and the customer will be burned if they think they are buying a "traditional" photograph and it does not last.

You guys are doing a good job of helping to educate.

barry (artfest@artinusa.com) Bonita Springs National Art Festival
web site: http://www.artinusa.com/bonita

Hope this finds you well.

Thanks very much for the insight on mediums-Festival Directors learn the most from our artists. How do you propose we deal with photography and digital when devising categories for artists to apply to our shows? We list the category and a brief explanation. Most recently, at an NAIA Directors' Conference we were educated on changing from "computer imaging" to "digital" as a category.

Lynette Santoro-Au: Columbus

Read the response Chris made to Columbus

Larry and Chris,

Per our board of directors, below please find a response to your letter.

The Washington Mutual Coconut Grove Arts Festivalís policy for entries in photography is a traditional one. We request our artists to shoot their photographs using transparency or negative film. Although photos are printed in multiples, each optically enlarged photographic print is considered an original.

Photographers who rather use technology in their photographic process and/or scan their work, so it can be printed through ink jet printers and/or use programs such a Photoshop or other technically based programs may enter in the Digital Art Category.

Maria Bacallao-Cosio, Artist Relations, Washington Mutual Coconut Grove Arts Festival

note: Coconut Grove's response was e-mailed to us on the day after the application postmark date.

Response to Coconut Grove from a photographer who, in all manner of process is traditional, except that he can't print his transparencies anymore, and depends on digital output to print and sell his photography.

Thank you for the response, Maria. I am disappointed to learn that I have to apply under the Digital Art category. It would be embarrassing for me to be accepted in that medium, not that I think digital art is not good, but that I would be competing against people like Ken Huff, a true digital artist. Digital artists will likely be angry that they are now having to compete against photographers.

Whether I am accepted or not to the show, I will be very interested to see the list of accepted photographers at the Grove. According to your definitions below, very few photographers, particularly those who work in color, will fit into your definition any more. You won't know it, and they won't tell you, but you are forcing many photographers to lie about their processes. Many of the traditional color materials are being discontinued as we speak, and there will be no options other than digital to print the work. Also, today's high end cameras are almost entirely digital, with no negative or transparency being produced at all. According to your definition, anyone who uses the latest and best equipment is not a photographer.

I suspect your slide jury for the Digital category will be confused as well by my 15 word slide statement, which states that my work is traditional, unmanipulated, unaltered landscape photography. I hope someone from the committee will help explain to them that my work is photography, but I am one of the honest ones who will apply in the Digital category.

Please know that I am not trying to sound negative with this letter, but am simply attempting to point out the realities of the way photographers are working today. A lot has changed in the past two years, even more so in the past year. With the discontinuance of many "traditional" color materials, and the arrival of incredibly high quality and archival digital materials and cameras, photographers are making the switch in a tidal wave of change. We continue to call ourselves photographers, not digital artists. There are some tremendous digital artists arriving on the scene these days, but I am not one of them, nor are the photographers who will be in your show in February who are most definitely using digital tools, in one form or another.

Hi Larry,

I read the response that you and Chris wrote and think that it is very good. It is concise but yet conveys the message. Although we probably won't do a special mailing like you suggested, I would very much like to have it available as a reference. With your permission, I would like to not only be able to direct people to the article on the web but may also want to print the pdf version to give to people.

Thanks, Larry Oliverson (NAIA President)

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