Photography Will Always be an Art Form

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Photography has suffered from a lack or recognition by the establishment to be considered an art form. Perhaps this is because a photographer simply captures the image of a subject and nothing more. Right? Not so.

While a painter uses paints, pencils, a canvas to paint an image he or she does so by looking at a live subject and using skills recreates what is seen.

With notable exceptions, this is mostly the case. The same thing can be said about a sculptor. A subject is used in order to recreate it in the form of a stone or marble piece.

True that many photographers simply capture the image of whatever is in front of their eyes but true photographers do so with a creative mindset and eyes.

While many artists add things to their work, the vast majority of photographers take things away from it.

Professionals serve as editors and carefully compose the image by eliminating elements from the scene that do not add anything of value to the final image or can even serve as a distraction.

"For 180-years, people have been asking the question: is photography art? At an early meeting of the Photographic Society of London, established in 1853, one of the members complained that the new technique was "too literal to compete with works of art" because it was unable to "elevate the imagination". This conception of photography as a mechanical recording medium never fully died away. Even by the 1960s and 70s, art photography – the idea that photographs could capture more than just surface appearances – was, in the words of the photographer Jeff Wall, a "photo ghetto" of niche galleries, aficionados and publications." http://www.theguardian.com/

So one artist adds while the other takes. This is probably the simplest of differences between artists and photographers.

Yet professionals can take any device that records images like a cell phone and take images that are astounding and admirable at the same time.

The digital age has only allowed for the capturing and transition of images faster than ever but it has not changed the fact that a photographer who would qualify as an artist does much more.

The light has to be considered and often manipulated, the setting has to be looked at, the angles and perspectives are used as per the photographer's vision of the work.

Choice of lens, f-stops, shutter speeds also come in to play much like what choice of canvas, watercolor, tempera and colors, and what chisel and mallet combination will work best comes into play when a painter or a sculptor decides on what to create.

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Yes a painter, sculptor and so on take much more time before their creations are done, but speed is not a good measure to determine what is art and what it's not.

Rather what we see in the presentation is what should be the determining factor.

Does an image makes us feel warm, sensitive, sorrow, anger, inspiration and makes us want to see more and admire the work itself for as long as possible?

If either a painting or a photograph does this then it would be safe to call that painting or that picture a work of art.

Just as if anyone takes up a paint brush or a chisel, some colors, a canvas and does not really know what to do with them to bring the experience to its fruition, neither does the best and most expensive digital camera set up will produce art if it is not handled by an artist and in this case a photographer.

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Without doubt the digital age has made photography more advanced and more reachable to many more people.

But it takes years of experience and know how, like a painter or sculptor, to reach a pinnacle where you can be considered to be an artist.

Because in the end what matters is how you see things, how you interpret what you see and how you transpose those images into another medium regardless of what equipment or gear is used or how long it takes from start to finish.

Experience, creativity, vision and talent are the key elements and nothing much matters or at least should matter.

With enough talent many photographs, like many works of art, can invoke feelings and inspire viewers.

That is in essence what should be taken into account when deciding if a form of expression is art or not.

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Is photography art when done by someone who knows what they are doing?

  • Yes
  • Maybe
  • No
  • Everything depends on who is behind the camera
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© 2014 Luis E Gonzalez

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2 comments

Joy56 profile image

Joy56 22 months ago

I so enjoyed this hub. Photography is an art form, you have certainly mastered and understood. Looking forward to reading more of your hubs. Thanks for joining in the silly thread....... I love to look at a photograph and use it ass inspiration for my poetry......... May steal one of yours If I find a photo you have taken that inspires..... Hope you will let me. Keep being the artist...


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 22 months ago from Miami, Florida Author

Joy56: Thank you. You may use anything from my hubs that you find helpful

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