At first glance, an entire chapter dedicated solely to cataloging cultural objects seemed a little unnecessary, since the act in itself seemed so much like common sense. However, Baca surprised me with a ton of situations that I had never thought of before. One of which stuck out to me was the distinction between an image and a work of art. I had never realized that there was such a distinction between the two until he provided the example with the Eiffel Tower:
The photograph La Tour Eiffel by the well-known French photographer Brassaï is a popular image that shows the Eiffel Tower standing majestically at night. In this case, La Tour Eiffel is considered a work of art, not just an image of the Eiffel Tower.
I had always known the photograph and considered it a work of art because of how it was displayed and revered in the art world. I never really thought that at the end of the day, it is what it is—a picture of a building. There was no clear distinction between this photo and a photo I could take of the Eiffel Tower at night other than the fact that somewhere down the line, an art connoisseur deemed it to be a work of art.
This distinction definitely stuck out to me, especially when I think of myself or others taking pictures with art at the museum. Sometimes, people like to pose in a way that reflect their own understanding of the piece, which I feel, when photographed, shapes the way that others understand the same piece.
For example, taking this picture (see above) makes it a photograph just like any other. But if some art curator were to deem that this was a work of art, would it be mounted and revered as one? What are the ‘standards’ to which something is considered art? And who takes the credit—the secondary producer of the art or the individual whose work is encapsulated?