on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Disinterested Interest

Artistic | Moral | Ethical ?

Guy Tal

Professional photographic artist, author and speaker working primarily in the Western US.


Guy Tal Disinterestedness

When the artist takes any object of Nature, the object no longer belongs to Nature; indeed, we can say that the artist creates the object in that moment, by extracting from it all that is significant, characteristic, interesting, or rather by putting into it a higher value. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Most creative photographs are departures from reality and it seems to take a higher order of craft to make this departure than to simulate reality. ~ Ansel Adams

Nearly 40 years before the invention of photography, philosopher Immanuel Kant presciently confronted what would later become one of the most contentious questions haunting photography as a medium for art:

Kant proposed that emotions resulting from experiencing aesthetic beauty are different from emotions inspired by other kinds of experience.
the question of whether realism should—or should not—matter in the judgment of aesthetic value (and by extension in the judgment of works of art whose primary purpose is to impart aesthetic beauty—those works we today refer to as “fine art”). In his Critique of Judgment, Kant wrote, “Where the question is whether something is beautiful, we do not want to know, whether we, or anyone else, are, or even could be, concerned in the real existence of the thing, but rather what estimate we form of it on mere contemplation (intuition or reflection).” 

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