TAKE HOME ASSIGNMENT 4
Accordingto Charles Baudelaire, ‘art is the reflection of the mental worldof imaginations, dreams and fantasy.’ This means that whatqualifies as art is that thing that allows the artist to explore anddisplay his imagination without bowing to external influences.Baudelaire was expressing his disappointment at the way art was beingdepicted and overshadowed.
Baudelairein his letter to his mother put forward his concerns and gave histhoughts on the role that photography should play and its place inthe field of art. He stated, “If photography is allowed to deputizeart in some of art’s activities, it will not be long before it hassupplanted or corrupted art altogether…” According to him,photography plays a complementary role in art.
Ifhe were to assess the work of Alfred Stieglitz in his portrait ofGeorgia O’Keeffe (1922), in my opinion he would approve of thatwork. The portrait provokes the enthusiasm of the person looking atit. This portrait does not only focus on the image, but alsocaptures the surroundings. This means that in its own measure, it isbringing out the dreams and fantasies of the artist. Baudelaire inhis letter stated, “And yes, it is a happiness to dream, and itused to be an honor to express what one dreamed…” This means thatone should not be influenced to limit what his mind thiscontemplating in the art.
Stieglitz’sphotography qualifies as a work of art as it does not try to excludesome aspects from the surroundings. It captures two aspects of thatwork while at the same time it creates a reproduction of nature,which is the true essence of art the way Baudelaire would havewanted.
Accordingto Baudelaire, photography should be the handmaid of art and sciencesand in the portrait of O’Keeffe this aspect has been brought outvery well. From the portrait, one can see that the artist was able toexpress himself and express his imaginations. A wonderful portraitbrings out the true beauty of art.
CharlesBaudelaire, ‘The Modern Public and Photography’ In ClassicalEssays on Photography, Ed. Alan Trachtenberg (New Haven: Leete’sIsland Books, 1980) pp. 83-89 (p.86).