What makes photography art? | Flore Zoé | TEDxDenHelder


Translator: Ivana Krivokuća
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven This is my work. What I create is me. Ah! Thank you. Man: “It was such a good
idea at the time!” Flore Zoé : Yes, getting in here
was a lot easier than getting out! (Applause) Thank you. We live in a time when we are bombarded
with visual information. Be it for social media, internet,
television, advertising, in and outside of our house, images containing a wide variety
of subjects are thrown at us. Did you know the human brain processes visual information over 60.000 times faster
than written information? If I was to show you two images per second for the upcoming 12 minutes, you would probably process
those 1400 plus images a lot faster than listening to me speak. Think about that. Almost everybody has a telephone
in their pockets these days, with a good working camera in it. This allows us to take pictures
of our daily lives, and we all do this. It has become a normal thing to do. We share two billion pictures
on Facebook every day. WhatsApp processes
over 900 million pictures shared between users every day. You could say photography
has become our second nature. The effect of this is that photography
as an art form demands an explanation. So, what makes photography art? Well, you tell me. But I will give it a shot. With me, it all started with my parents who chose to give me a great artist name – well, at least I think – Flore Zoé. I can’t thank them enough for this. I remember being around five years old
when I started to feel the need to create. I had all kinds of stories in my head: beautiful places, fairy tales,
people, animals, creatures. I tried very hard to put all these images
on paper, drawing or painting. But no matter how hard I tried, I failed. The picture in my head
was nothing like the image on paper. As you can imagine,
I got really frustrated. Or, as a New York journalist
very aptly pointed out, “Flore Zoé painted and drew
from a very early age, but this was clearly
not where her talents lay.” Thank you. But there it was, laying on the coffee table at our house. I remember very clearly
picking it up for the very first time. I behind the viewfinder,
looking through the visor. The most beautiful thing appeared: a frame. I now realized I could put
anything I wanted to in that frame. Wow! My childhood wasn’t always easy. I don’t want to be too dramatic about it, but it is important because it gives you some insight into
why I started to feel the urge to create. Having found the camera,
I could now create a world, a more beautiful place which made
me happy and I could escape in. It didn’t take long
before the tiny dictator in me started directing any and everything
in front of the camera. When I was preparing this talk – My mother always used to call me
a little potentate, but a lot of people don’t know
the definition for a potentate. Neither did I, so I looked it up, and the definition
of potentate says dictator. I thought, “Ok, thank you, mother.” I called her up and I said, “Mom, you
always used to call me a little dictator!” She said, “Oh no, no. It’s not
like you’re Trump or anything.” (Laughter) Ok, back to where I was. Yes, the tiny dictator started directing
any and everything in front of the camera. So, if you look a little bit towards me,
and you a bit to the side … Always with that little finger
pointing out where I thought it should be. Well, some things never change, I guess. My first steps into serious photography gave me the creative outlet to work
on some of the issues from my childhood. It took me away from why
I initially started creating, the beautiful world for me to escape into. The miserable images that followed
did not make me happy at all. Actually, these images made me doubt
whether to continue with photography. It wasn’t until one of my friends died – I was 26 when she died of ovarian cancer. I never go to the hospital, so I thought, “Why not go to the hospital
and get it checked? Better be safe than sorry.” I went to the hospital,
and I got really bad news, but I was on time. Her death saved my life. Right there, at that moment,
that was my epiphany. At that moment, I was back to why
I started creating in the first place. No matter how dark the subject,
my friend who just died, and I, who got the bad news, I was going to create something positive. On a lighter note:
What does make photography art? Well, with no form of arrogance, I would like to try
to show you the difference between fine art photography
and the picture taken by your aunt portraying her family,
dog, friends, dinner. Your aunt probably
didn’t go to school for it. She also probably didn’t have freelance
jobs on the side to finance her projects. She also probably … didn’t have to put
all of her time, effort and energy into getting her photos seen
and shown to the world, no months of studying and preparation
on a certain subject, no writing elaborate concepts
with in-depth analysis on the why, when and how
to create a certain image, no working on it together with a team, day and night, for that one perfect shot. After 20 years of trying really hard, I saw my creations hanging in the gallery in Paris
for the very first time, alongside masters like Picasso and Dali. I could only cry. At that point, I dared
calling myself an artist, and dared calling my work art. So, I gave it a shot
in what makes photography art. Do you now look at this artwork in a different way than before? Well, you tell me. I thank you. (Applause)

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