Harold Feinstein :: Is Photography Art?

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Well its been a big week. I’ve been in Boston working with Harold Feinstein on what turned out to be almost 4 hours of video interviews with this amazing photographer.

We’re quickly turning this into a retrospective documentary on Harold Feinstein’s life and work. He’s an amazing man who’s had one of the most amazing careers a photographer could ask for spanning nearly 70 years.

Today I’m going to give you a teaser just so you have an idea of how cool this project is going to be when its done.

On one of the days I was interviewing Harold, the news broke of Peter Lik’s photograph that sold for $6.5 million. As I’m sure most of you know, an argument of largely click bait ensued at the always classy Guardian over whether or not photography could be considered art.

As I started getting emails and tweets from people asking me to talk about this, I realized this was a good one to ask Harold about.

  1. Jade Forest says

    Thank you all so much for sharing this with me, an Older beginner in photography. IT is really awesome to be able to learn a lot about the Feinsteins and to listen to Harolds view on the art of …… P ❤️❤️ I can imaginaire that you are so happy to be there and make this all happen for us, YOUR followers. My deepest bow to you Ted😍…. see you… later☺️

  2. Wesley Harris says

    To me art is s form of communication you either say something or are spoken to. What is a song without an instrument. Can you appreciate the skill to shape sound. Can you appreciate the skill to control light. When nothing is communicated you have no art. Love the video.

  3. Neo 0101 says

    Such a desperation by so many to be called artist’, and what they produce art. Like it is the most important and compelling thing about a craft. Oh and did I mention that Peter Lik guy….

  4. choschoschosRE says

    Hi Ted, was wondering – where is the rest of the interview?
    thanks for everything

  5. Susan Fisher says

    Wondering if the documentary on Harold Feinstein has been completed? I would love to see more!

  6. Kelpie says

    It's just pictures.

  7. Moishe Lettvin says

    This was truly delightful; thank you both.

  8. Sean McCormac says

    "We live within a miracle, and we don't appreciate it." This quote speaks to me so deeply!

  9. Ron shatzki says

    Blown away. Thanks

  10. Duncan Farrant says

    ART that is the Question If you like something then that is a piece of art to you, just because other people may not get it does not mean its not Art… As he said is it the brush or the person (artist)

  11. andrewbloom37 says

    Nice MS-20! Perhaps there is an interesting connection in what Harold said about a sable brush to the "pure" sound of a synthesizer… Is music art? I think the most interesting aspect of the "art or technology" debate is found by tracing the etymology of of the word technology: techno, which is the Greek word for art. When considered that way, it kind of makes the whole debate seem silly. The more fascinating question to me is where the boundary lies between the artist, his/her tools, and the work created.

  12. Laura Captain says

    Hello Ted. You were so blessed to be able to meet and talk with Harold before he passed away. May he rest in peace. He was an amazing photographer and his photos make me want to visit Coney Island.

  13. Steven01001 says

    Another aspect of photography/art is scale. No tablet or computer screen will convey the same response as a large print.

  14. Dr Fear & Co. says

    That columnists quote, I think, is the most ignorant thing I have ever read.

  15. Mark Harris says

    Fascinating video, right up there with your best. I've had the subject art v objectivity elsewhere and I won't rehash it here but I challenge the Guardian columnists to take one photograph that will be hung in any exhibition on its own merit.

  16. Robert Futrell says

    Is that a Moog in the background? Are you also a musician?

  17. Starbucksguitar sbg says

    fantastic…thank you

  18. train.tram.bus says

    Mr Forbes, your channel is bringing to you tube some class interviews which I very much enjoy. Thank you very much. Michael Cook.

  19. Cubo1d says

    Great video! Is that a Korg MS-20 in the background?

  20. moi du toi photography says

    What a sweet, sweet man and I'm so sorry to have learned of his passing last year. Although based on his attitude, he's probably in another dimension champing at the bit to get working on his next incarnation. Thanks Ted that was a treat.xxx

  21. Juan Medina says

    You cannot make a technique or a tool ART… Either in photography, painting, sculpture or any other art representation… what makes it art is the MESSAGE and the vision of the artist. Is subjective to the viewer not to the artist. No one can tell you what is art but you can tell what you feel. How that photograph or painting fills that empty space in you. Then there is ART!.

  22. Brian VENTH says

    What an amazing guy.

  23. Ralf Baron says

    Ted, thank you for making this available to us. It is wonderful to see how respectful you approach Harold Feinstein. Thank you!

  24. Eric Charters says

    To be good, a photograph takes careful attention to science, technique, technology, and artistic vision. All art requires discipline and careful honing of the craft. That is is a seems more science based craft is perhaps due to the lack of understanding of how much craft is really necessary by the layman who has not studies the subject. Photography it only a bit more technological than perspective and figure painting. It is as instinctive in capture of the image juste as the much slower painters or sculptors rendering. But the results grab us non the less. And that is the intent of art, to touch the soul. We can appreciate the image created in its poetry and also the skill of the maker. No less than we do of the classic painter. The skills are entirely different, but great photographers just as rare as great painters it seems, so perhaps their art or skill is to be lauded as much. If you think not, then do better and get their supposed ill got acclaim in

  25. Pedro Esteves says

    pretty cool. thank you so much

  26. Zeno C says


  27. FabioCoelhovideo says

    I just love how impressed you are ted. It says a lot about you… amazing, thank you.

  28. Xperience-Media says

    He made an important point in that in the act of creation an artist is already being rewarded.

  29. gHx4 says

    Not all photos are art; the ones many people take are simply records of a moment. Artists with cameras produce not photographs, but art. They can captivate the mind by telling a visual story. They preserve the art of everyday moments and ordinary objects.

  30. RSM47 says

    Please no more beard on mike action…
    but thanks for this!

  31. jitesh says

    He seems to be a very gentle being… looking forward to the whole interview…

  32. Ljr1985 says

    I would also argue that it becomes less of an art the more technology improves….. I think pictures where more of a fine art when the technology was still very primitive.

  33. Ljr1985 says

    I agree that a photo shouldn't be held on the same footing as a painting, sorry to all the photographers out there. I feel like a painter probably has an even deeper understanding of light and color that far surpasses a photographer. I think pictures can be art but I agree that it's not the same as creating what you see in your minds eye from scratch. Maybe painting and repainting something until it match what you see in your head. A photo is more like click … don't like that so like me click again or maybe change the angle and click again……..

  34. DinosaurFilms says

    Such a sweet, wise old man

  35. Yuventius Nicky says

    I looooooooove the bit about the brush. Love it.

  36. CandidCountry says

    Fantastic interview! Loved this sneak peak!

  37. Tony LBMontana says

    Anyone can learn to draw but not everyone can be an artist.      The same with photography but I think drawing is above photography by a long shot.   Specially when you draw from your mind.    Since Drawing takes a lot of vision a photographer has the potential to become a very good pin up artist, but he chooses photography because it is not as skillful and does not take as much trial and error which at the end is dedication in my opinion.    It is like comparing pin up drawing to animation.   Animation takes more dedication and observation.     Photography is an art but drawing is way above it.     No disrespect to photographers..   With that said it depends on the talent of the photographer just like it depends on the talent of the pin up artist.   A pin up artist is got to have a lot of talent though.

  38. TRamone01 says

    we live within a miracle…

  39. overlander82 says

    Ted, please have words with the producer about the delay 😉

  40. Bobster986 says

    It's sad that your mic was placed too close to his beard that caused a rustling sound.

  41. Audrey Coley says

    This was incredible! 

  42. Kodak Retina says

    Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed watching this episode!

  43. northstar1950 says

    How dare any newspaper columnist state what art is or isn't, art is an indefinable subject, what is art to one person might not be to another. IMHO any object that is of joy to behold  a painting, photograph, sculpture, photograph, woodworking, the list is endless can be considered as art.

  44. Sebastián Rodríguez says

    I can't be more grateful for all of your videos. Please, please don't stop making them. They are all making me feel so refreshed. Every time i start one, i have to pause it two minutes in to sit back and think, then i write down some things, then i keep watching and so on. Your channel is an invaluable resource for me, and it has has sent me in many different creative directions. I owe you.

  45. Himanshu Panchal says

    Look forward to full interview!

  46. jefferson santiago says

    more please!!. 🙂

  47. Nick Leon says

    Ted, you are right to be excited. The show is just getting better and better and I look forward to seeing the whole interview.

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