Videography is art

A second person in the past few weeks told me that hobbyist artistic videography is “meaningless”, and that has pissed the hell out of me. I will say this only once:

Videography done like on some of the videos below is art. Art is anything that can create or boost an emotion. And many of these videos do that. Not everyone’s videos are art, but there are some very capable amateur enthusiasts that know how to shoot, know how to edit and know what they want to present on screen (e.g. Charlie McCarthy, Remyyy). And this is NOT something that everyone can do. Absolutely not. It’s not as easy as it seems. It’s not as simple as taking a camera and pointing into random things. And editing at the end is an art in itself. I CHALLENGE you, the random reader of this blog, to take your camcorder and try to do something “beautiful & artistic” with it (expensive equipment is not required). Chances are, you will fail. It’s not as easy as it seems.

Beautiful imagery is not meaningless either. Cameras are not created just so we have a plot each and every time with a John Wayne style script. That’s just only one usage of cameras. Video cameras are nothing but “moving pictures”, and as beautiful still pictures are considered art, same for the moving ones.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, we will have to find an equivalent art to compare. And that’s the DEMOSCENE back in the ’90s. In fact, these two scenes are producing similarly-looking products. From wikipedia: “What began as a type of electronic graffiti on cracked software became an art form unto itself” and “the most experimental, unusual and controversial demos are often referred to as art demos or abstract demos.” As the demoscene developer has to be both an artist and a technical person at the same time, same for a videographer, he/she will have to master both. And some of these people out there, have done so. But they are VERY FEW who have done so successfully (no, I am not among them). Which is why videography is interesting, and why it’s true modern art: it’s challenging.


Andy wrote on January 13th, 2008 at 7:33 AM PST:

There is no rule in Art. If you think it’s Art it IS. If your narrowminded friend tells you it’s not art it’s just his opinion. It’s meaningless to HIM, which is meaningless per se.

Well, my recommended Book regarding this is “The Art Spirit” by Robert Henri.

Luis wrote on January 13th, 2008 at 8:37 AM PST:

I completely agree with you that it is art when it’s done right and also that it’s very difficult to make a good video.

Maybe what those people meant by “meaningless” was not that it’s not art. Probably they meant that it *is* art, and therefor meaningless to them! As meaningless as a painting or a sculpture.

And let’s face it, the artistic value of 98% of professional movies is extremely low. Yes, they are well done technically, but that doesn’t make them true art. They are something different. Not only art has value in life, anyway. You can have fun watching such movies like you can have fun riding a roller coaster, but that’s not art. Few people like movies with a high artistic value.

However, I guess that most of the amateur videographers shoot their videos to learn the technique, experiment, have fun, etc… not because they love true art. They would rather shoot Jurassic Park if they had that kind of money. So let’s not think either that because they shoot landscapes or abstract things they are artists.

Thom Holwerda wrote on January 13th, 2008 at 3:09 PM PST:

While I agree with the entire post, there is one thing I need to comment on:

“Art is anything that can create or boost an emotion.”

That is way too wide a definition. The concept of the holocaust evokes a lot of emotions of disgust, sadness, and hate (towards those that made it happen) inside of me, does that mean the holocaust is art?

Defining “art” is impossible, and so I agree with Andy. Art is a personal thing, and it is undefinable.

As I said, for the rest you’re pretty much spot on. I’m getting into photography now, and trust me, it’s not as easy as snapping a few random photos. You have to compose them, and that’s not as easy as it sounds.

Kevin wrote on January 13th, 2008 at 4:11 PM PST:

I would agree with Thom that you defintion of Art doesn’t seem quite accurate. I feel that art is something that is defined by the people who view it, and to a lesser extent the person who made it. What is art to you, may not be art to me.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on January 13th, 2008 at 6:35 PM PST:

>the concept of the holocaust evokes a lot of emotions of disgust, sadness, and hate

Yes, for you and me, that is. But for the Nazis that believed in Hitler’s cause, that possibly DID feel like “art” to *them*. Have you thought about this?

And besides, let’s assume that you are looking at a PAINTING depicting the holocaust. This painting CAN be art, even if it’s too hard to look at. It doesn’t mean that the painter was a Hitler fan, he in fact might be trying to show the horrors of the holocaust and to teach people to avoid such mistakes again. But that can still be seen as a gruesome painting. And still be art.

So no, the definition of art being something that evokes emotion is not broad neither wrong. Anything that makes you “wow”, it’s art, but it’s only art for YOU alone. It doesn’t mean that it’s art for the person next to you too. Not everyone is the same. But thankfully, there are conventions that make people agree that a particular thing is art or not. Even if not all people are fans of that particular art.

jeff wrote on January 13th, 2008 at 7:40 PM PST:

I’m just commenting on some specific videos. 50% of the time they are out of focus, and 30% of the time the shots don’t need to be in HD. And the other 20% usually are just space fillers.

It’s my opinion, get over it sweety

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on January 13th, 2008 at 7:46 PM PST:

Jeff, please stop it, you are playing with my nerves. I don’t see any video being “out of focus” by mistake on the videos above. If they are out of focus is because that’s the look the artist wanted to have. It’s a matter of taste, and I personally like it. As for the 30% of the shots that didn’t need to be in HD, well, if you have an HD camera already, what are you going to do? Down-convert to SD? How dumb are you? No matter how you put it, no matter what your subject is, HD always looks better. Please take your trolling away or be more open minded, or get your camcorder and try to shoot something worthwhile yourself and let us know of what YOU can do. I’d like to know.

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