Whether you think about conceptual art, impressionism, or high fashion, they are all deviations from the traditional art expressions. Is the emperor naked, or do these forms of art have nothing to do with that well-known story? Is it possible to make more profit from impressionism than from traditional photography?
Whether it's photography, paintings, or motion pictures, the philosophy of art is the same: visuals that have a certain impact on the viewer. The result of that impact could be propaganda, fame, praise, or profit. I know "propaganda" may sound scary for some readers, but that's the word that explains the act of propagating ideas to an audience. Some works of art may contain several of these purposes together.
An example of combining (many times) propaganda, fame, praise, and profit, is the advertisement. Its name means "to turn towards." Works of artists who want to "bring awareness" can be put in the group of those propagating ideas. Amateurs most of the time seek praise and fame by shooting non-commercial work and then sharing it with the world.
Artists of old times, such as painters and sculptors, were frequently propagating ideas related to religion or mythology. Others were drawing moments from their time: battles, landscapes, daily routines, and peculiar or common people. They were creating themes that were digestible by everyone. Young and old could understand what that piece of art was showing even though there might be details that were not known (e.g., a specific battle story, or a story from the Bible, or a character from the Greek mythology).
Not long ago, traditional painters began to observe another movement that was gaining strength: impressionism. It was contrary to the traditional art form. It was presenting ideas that were not known to the general public. The majority of the general public does not comprehend that form of art. However, there are already societies of artists, art buyers, and art admirers who are all about impressionism.
Later that form of art started to impact modern activities, that the readers of Fstoppers are more familiar with: photography and video.
Traditional forms of photography include images of objects and ideas that are understood by the general audience. When a wedding photographer shows portraits of the bride and the groom, there's no need to explain that. Children and old people know what this is. People pay for that photography because they see personal and historical value in it.
It's the same with photography of still objects where a company displays their products through nicely crafted images, so that buyers may be "turned towards" their business and buy something. This is the way the company makes a profit. Corporate portrait photographers make portraits of working people, which portraits form the image of a company to the world.
Traditional fashion photographers shoot portraits of models who are wearing certain clothes or accessories, so people may find them pleasing to the eye (both models and products) and eventually make a purchase from that company. I doubt a couple, that is going to be married, will rush to an impressionist to ask them to photograph their wedding, because the grandmother of the bride won't understand the final images (so to say). No company wants to display vague imagery to customers who won't associate it with their products or services.
Impressionists are not like that. They don't seek to please everybody. They live in their own world where they show work, hope to receive praise, and make a profit. Profit is not something an impressionist can easily achieve yet, because there are not as many art buyers like there are for traditionalists. "Porsche" also doesn't have lots of buyers, but the general public appreciates their cars, whether or not they can afford them. Impressionistic art, on the other hand, is not consumed by the general public, and even though some could afford it, they might not invest in it. This makes impressionism more challenging to make money from. Despite that, the movement gains more and more publicity. But is that publicity widely spread for the sake of propagating ideas of "something different," or it is gaining more and more followers because the general public starts to appreciate it?
High fashion is a form of impressionism. It was originally meant to be a dressing style for the rich people. Today it's not quite like that. Many times you see a dressing style that you won't see on the street or even at high-society events. Obviously, the purpose of the photograph is not to sell a certain clothing line. Yet high fashion shows, photographers, magazines, online media, TV programs, etc., manage to make a living from something that has no tangible value for the common people.
Traditional filmmaking still dominates in the world of motion pictures. If a two-hour movie was based on impressionism it wouldn't make a dime at the box office, because a movie is usually aimed to be consumed by a wider audience. It is not meant to hang on someone's wall. Maybe that's the reason feature films won't embrace impressionism in the near future.
However, that movement has found its way in the video industry through music videos. They are short and while people are listening to the audio, the imagery that supports it could be anything. The difference is the storyline: in a music video, the music and the lyrics are the main hooks that will keep someone watching impressionistic art. In the music industry, people pay for the audio, not for its accompanying video. In films, however, images and story go together, and people pay for consuming both of them. If they don't understand any of these, they won't recommend it, and the film won't make a profit. That's why we don't see much deviation from the traditional visual stories there.
Future and Sustainability
Sustainable art is the art that makes a profit. Yes, non-profit photographers who shoot impressionism may continue doing that, but it won't make their ideas live much longer because their work won't have publicity. When their work doesn't have publicity it won't be appreciated and little by little that form of art will die out. The current impressionism is backed up by magazines, modern-art galleries, people in the fashion world, and they all do that for profit. If they don't do that, modern art will be gone.
Traditional art doesn't need that much of a publicity because its consumers and clients are in a close vicinity. These artists don't need mediators who explain to potential buyers what is the value of that kind of work, because it is comprehensible, and most people feel the need to own such art.
Do you think impressionism in photography and video will last long? We don't have any historical evidence for the fate of such an art form, and it's hard to make predictions. Traditional art has endured the test of time and is still going well.
Are you going to take the risk and work in the area of impressionism rather than being traditional?