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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) Bonita Springs National Art Festival
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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)