Essay on Questioning Originality and Authorship in Fine Art Photography

Essay on Questioning Originality and Authorship in Fine Art Photography

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Over the last few decades, the practice of radically appropriating works of other artists has become common. The central tenet in appropriation art is to incorporate ideas and images from mass media, popular culture, advertising, and from other artists into a new work. Indeed, appropriating art is not new since borrowing from other artists is an age-old practice. For instance, painters have regularly repainted the paintings of other artists with an aim of exploring the application of their artistic style in a familiar art. However, photographing another artist’s work and claiming the authorship of the work without acknowledging the original artists poses a serious challenge to the idea of authorship. Incorporating other artists’ work into a new work is the central element of modern appropriation art.
Nothing is original these days, we live in a postmodern society that is continuously reusing, revising or reproducing existing ideas, thoughts concepts and images. Originality implies a lack of outside influence but we are humans and as such we cannot avoid interacting with each other and we cannot avoid the visual and auditory stimuli that we encounter in our daily lives. With that in mind the notion of originality becomes a paradox in itself. All claims of innovation and individuality during the design process are misguided because artists are always consciously or unconsciously deconstructing and reconstructing existing elements into new configurations.
The deliberate reuse or modification or manipulation of preexisting work is known in the art world as appropriation art; its history stemming from the Avant Garde practice of using ‘found’ objects as raw materials for collages, photomontage and other such works. Picasso w...


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...raphs. For that reason, appropriation art seeks to affirm the artist’s responsibility for his or her work rather than an act of forgery.



Works Cited

Buskirk, Martha, and Mignon Nixon. The Duchamp Effect. Cambridge, Masshachusetts, London, England: Massachusetts Institute of Technology and October Magazine, Ltd., 1996. 18-181. Print.
Owens, Craig. Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power and Culture. Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oxford: University of California Press, 1992. 54-116. Print.

Kennedy, Randy. "If the Copy Is an Artwork, Then What." New York Times
06 Dec 2007, Print.
.
Jackson, Deborah. "Cut & Paste: Appropriation Art" Edinburgh College
of Art/University of Edinburgh 02 Dec 2009<
http://www.slideshare.net/DeborahJ/cutpaste-appropriation-art>

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