- I feel there should be an artistic distinction between someone who crafted something and took a photo vs someone who took a photo of something crafted.
- Artwork category is currently only for "flat art" yet the Photography category doesn't properly represent or classify our work either; it turns it into a photo of art instead of art itself.
- And what happens to categorization when you have both concept art and a photo of the final result shown in the same image?
As I was importing my gallery, I realized I became stuck trying to sort my work into the two current categories, "Artwork" and "Photos"... and I realized that I am not alone!
I'll use fursuits primarily for my example to help explain why I feel this is needed and how I arrived at my conclusion. Many fursuit makers I have talked to have mentioned they feel stuck or dismissed when their work doesn't really have a home here- and arguably fursuits are one of the most important artistic aspects of the furry community! So I want to help make our voices and those of other physical multimedia be herd.
Of course the work we create is technically displayed as a photo out of necessity... but it's hardly considered "just photography". I would personally rather see the photos category of the site be reserved for anything from selfies to shots with artistic merit or focus on things like composition/mood/lighting and documentation of events or the natural world. I predict the majority of the photography category will be used for uploading photos taken at conventions, and that naturally means it will be displaying or capturing primarily other people's artwork and not necessarily your own.
And honestly? It just plain feels weird or dismissive to us as artists to call our fursuit work "photos" and not "art". And we would like to have acknowledgement that our hard work is considered such and not just another photo lost in a sea of random photos. As a side note, this also creates no real distinction between fursuit artists, fursuit wearers, and fursuit photographers if everything's simply tagged "fursuit" and found in the Photography category. It makes fursuit makers almost invisible on FN compared to other kinds of artists who create flat art or writers who make stories when they both have categories that focuses on their media. (Alternatively, there is also discussion about creating a better distinction from uploads of original artists work vs uploads of art created by others that was commissioned or photographed by the uploader... and I'd like to see it get more input: https://support.furrynetwork.com/topics/8-having-a-collections-feature/)
But by the same token they are still a kind of photo right? A photo is a photo after all. And therefore it was suggested that "Crafts" could be a sub-category of Photos since all crafts are probably going to have to be photo-based by its very nature. But what about something such as a traditional mural painting? Should those have to be uploaded to "Photos" too simply because that is also the only way to capture the art... yet how is that any different than a traditional painting that is able to be captured by a scanner and now that one is suddenly considered "artwork" instead?
My argument is just because the work has to be documented by a camera and the end result is a photo, it doesn't have to be the end-all of its categorization, as I think the subject and primarily the intention of the work needs to come into consideration as well.
Taking another look at my gallery sorting issue, I realized my second problem- I have several works that has concept art, WIP photos, and final photos all in the same image as an evolution or comparison of the before and after. It belongs in both categories by definition... and yet doesn't fit very well in either.
Alrighty, so what if we considered the idea of making crafts a sub-category of Artwork instead? Unfortunately this causes another issue... because Photos can be considered "Artwork" just as well as Multimedia is artwork, you could even make an argument for Stories to fall under there... so why wouldn't everything be a subcategory of artwork? What makes "Artwork" a unique, different category than the other ones already established? Well..
- Multimedia is strictly defined by the file type
- Stories can only be text (which is a media-specific category)
- So the only difference between artwork and photo must be that currently FN uses the idea of "Flat Art" to define its Artwork category because it doesn't require a camera to showcase (but technically it still can, especially if one doesn't have access to a scanner for example)
Guess what? We don't make "flat art"... we make physical 3d art.
And if we're sculptors, we don't call ourselves photographers.
Not to mention, adding any kind of "sub-category" simply changes the entire structure that FN is centered around for its upload categories. It would feel rather out of place with the existing layout and very likely that the category would be completely overlooked... unless we just started adding subcategories left and right. But it seems the idea was to use tags to replace subcategories, or any pre-defined categories for that matter, like other art sites have. Sure there's less universal tags/formatting, but there is no issue of not being properly represented by a category either. And there's always community tags to fix any classification issues too. However in the case of Crafts, I think it's going to become necessary to have this additional sort of artistic representation for a site that revolves entirely around showcasing all types of artwork... else there will be way too much inconsistency with uploads like fursuits going to both categories chaotically.
And lastly my suggestion for helping uploaders understand the distinction between when to upload to crafts vs photos: If you crafted something yourself, it should be showcased in Crafts- concept art, WIP, and final production shots for documentation of your work as a whole presentation. Photos you took of your work in a non-documentation purpose, such as a photo of your work at a con, could be artist discretion for the category; it simply depends on the purpose of the image and if the artist wants to use it to supplement their craft project's documentation or just show a photo. Any crafts that were not created by the artist themselves that showcases the work should always be considered a photo, because the uploader is showcasing an image of the work and not representing the art for documentation of its... artistic essence?... as it were. It was not crafted by them, it was photographed by them. I feel there should be an artistic distinction between someone who crafted something and took a photo vs someone who took a photo of something crafted. (And same goes for everything uploaded in general honestly. People are usually decent about saying so, but there are ways to improve this.)
So simply put, if you crafted something it goes into Crafts.
If you took a photo of a work someone crafted, it goes in Photos.
In conclusion, I would like to propose that a new category named "Crafts" should be created to ensure that every kind of artwork the fandom creates can be properly represented on FN, while being easier for users to classify and browse/search through work they're interested in: fursuits, scluptures, plushies, clothing... they can all have a home that treats it separate from flat art yet does not risk degrading its artistic value simply because it's forced to be visually represented as a photo. Thanks for your consideration!
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