Guardian Art Critic on photography


Aug 13, 2011
Sunny Frimley
Bill Palmer
Well, for a start Jones is the journalistic equivalent of a shock Jock - all mouth and... He sets out to trigger just such a reaction because he has nothing else meaningful to contribute. He famously took a swing at the poppies at the Tower of London. He is like a child who gleefully shouts "POO!" because he thinks his naughtiness will gain adult attention.

All that said, "phantom" IS worthy of a hotel wall at best which just goes to prove that even a stopped watch shows the right time twice a day... ;)

john m flores

Aug 13, 2012
"Peter Lik’s hollow, cliched and tasteless black and white shot of an Arizona canyon isn’t art – and proves that photography never will be"

I kind of agree with the first part
I strongly disagree with the second part.


Jan 2, 2011
Not to mention that these sorts of arguments ("art v. photography")were beaten to death in the 1880s and 1890s, and it really is time some people moved on

john m flores

Aug 13, 2012
Not to mention that these sorts of arguments ("art v. photography")were beaten to death in the 1880s and 1890s, and it really is time some people moved on
Yup, the criticisms that he levies at photography can also be applied to millions of art school/adult school paintings.

He's conflating the medium with the messenger. No medium has a monopoly on talent and inspiration.


Hall of Famer
Aug 25, 2010
S W France
As far as my shots go I agree with him - "Photography is not an art. It is a technology"

and generally I would also plus the "price of some art" or what purports to be, these days

Looks like Peter Lik has the same tripod as me!!!!!


Oct 28, 2014
Toronto, Ontario
arguing the extreme position is always a good way to drive traffic to your site, it generates page views and justifies the Guardian paying him. As an art critic meh he's more a clown than a critic. I'm not a huge fan of LIK though many are and technically he is brilliant. But I would define him more as the ultimate craftsman. There is definitely photography i would consider art (none of mine, I'd be lucky to achieve craftsman) but there are many shows i've seen where the photography can also be classed fine art (and I didn't always like the photos either, but could see the artistic value. My cousin (who has both photographic and painted pieces in some large galleries including the AGO and National Galleries) photographs alien landscapes withing his paintings using macro and then enlarges them to enormous size and effect as companion pieces (usually the paining may top out at 3'x3' the prints stat at 4'x6' and go up. I believe the next show he has planned will fill the entire gallery with one stitched macro image (though i could be wrong as he is being secretive about it)
Not all; people will agree that what is being presented as fine art is though. but then people have always derided one form of art or another (When the national gallery bought Barnett Newman's Voice of fire it created a furor for the price spent from loads of armchair critics who had only seen it reproduced in newsprint as a small image. I've seen it in person it was breathtaking for me

Ray Sachs

Sep 21, 2010
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
Always rather dangerous to argue from a particular to a universal.
What are you trying to do, put most of the worlds' politicians out of work?

Not to mention that these sorts of arguments ("art v. photography")were beaten to death in the 1880s and 1890s, and it really is time some people moved on
+1... Actually, plus at LEAST one for every year that's passed since about 1880.

I don't need this guy to tell me what's art and what's not, but he's suckered someone into paying him actual money to do just that, so some folks must feel they do need that service...

You're ON it today Paul...



Jan 2, 2011
It's not the first time he's indulged this drearily reactionary viewpoint, by the way:

I don't join in the general "critics are all idiots/those can do, those who can't ... /I know what I like/My kid could do better/ etc" rants that all too often pervade these discussions (not that this one has turned this way - yet ...), because I believe that critics - especially non-practitioner critics - can be of inestimable value in helping one think about art (or politics or cheese or whatever).

What is vaguely dispiriting is when critics appear to be lazy in their thinking and desperately unoriginal in their criticisms.

Not that there is anything intrinsically wrong with reviving old arguments, of course, but not if the same old bollocks is being trotted out without adding any extra twists or shedding any new light.

Curiously enough, I had a certain amount of empathy with his "attack" on the ceramic poppies.

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