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Today, in my photo history class, we were briefly discussing the long-debated subject of photography as an art. rxfastfind.com

In the early 20th century, more and more people were using cameras. The common man had access to cameras, like George Eastman's brownie. Photographs were mainly a document... to capture scenes, landscapes, objects. But now, people were starting to express themselves through photography. We were seeing found objects from new perspectives. Photo montages rose in popularity.

But was this art? Many debated (and some still do) that photography was just a form of documenting. If it resembled art, it was only in the eye of the beholder, because the photograph was only a form of expression from the person who created the image.

IMHO, I think that's enough justification for a photograph to be considered art.

What do you think? Is photography really an art? Is it mechanics or science or documentation? I think it's all of the above.

And I'm gonna continue shooting pictures as long as I can.

comments

of course it is

recent modern art in itself challenges what is art. so you can reason that to "appreciate" and "understand" art you have to always keep your mind open to not what art is but what art can be

transmitted by Jack on January 14, 2003 07:57 PM

As the son of a photographer, I think I have to agree that photography is most definitely art. The capture of one single solitary moment within life can be the most beautiful thing, the most heartbreaking, the most comforting, the most solemn thing. Much like a painting. Or a string quartet. Or a good poem. Photography is just as good.

transmitted by Tom Bridge on January 14, 2003 09:27 PM

I'd agree with you in saying that photography is both an art and a matter of documentation.

"If it resembled art, it was only in the eye of the beholder, because the photograph was only a form of expression from the person who created the image."

The same can be said for painters, pencilers, or any other master of artistic medium. Whether or not the photograph is an artistic object depends upon the person behind the camera and the person who later sees the photo. As long as /someone/ sees some artistic value to it... well, yeah. My apathy just kicked back in.

transmitted by kat on January 14, 2003 09:57 PM

Well said, Kat. I'm probably right in assuming that most forms of art have struggled with this same problem as well. I have personally always seen photography as art, and never really thought about this debate until today. It's pretty interesting.

And thanks to Jack and Tom for their insight as well. I am enjoying this discussion!

transmitted by courtney on January 14, 2003 10:07 PM

in NYC, (where i am) i always go see new exibitions and etc and then i go to the MET. i seriously wonder if presonceived notions of what is art (painting and sculture mainly) are even relevant in these days anymore!

i was born in 1980 and when i see art that strikes real emotional chords with me, it's more modern rather than painting and sculture anyway. Pop art like Lichenstein and Warhol as well as not even "art"...toy museums, movie collectibles and comic book museums make me stand up and take notice 500 times more than any Michelangelo masterpiece can (the artist not the ninja turtle)

so what i am saying is preconceived notions of what art is...does not (and should not) quantify in assessing if new forms of art are indeed art

transmitted by Jack on January 15, 2003 06:03 AM

Sure it's an art. There are skills to master: composition, lighting and framing. And for those photographers who make prints from negatives, there is another whole set of skills to master. And for the digital crowd, there is yet a different skill set to master.

With each skill, there are choices to be made. And with each choice, the photographer/artist has a means of expressing herself.

transmitted by wink on January 15, 2003 11:23 PM

Two useful definitions:

"Art is whatever you can get away with" - Nick England, Dean of Music, California Institute of the Arts

"Art is sensual thinking" - Vladimir Nabokov

I'd say you're good to go in either direction :)

*2465*

transmitted by 2465 on January 16, 2003 08:20 PM

Photography is an art because in each step the photographer has an opportunity to make value judgements. Black and white or color? How should this be framed? Depth of field? How fast a film to use? Go for the grainy look?

Then after the image is on film there are more choices. In the analog domain choices about printing paper, dodging and burning, the possibilities for toning and hand-coloring.

In the digital domain the choices branch out even faster.

Photography is about seeing, about connecting, and passing that image on. Surely that is art.

transmitted by Adam on January 16, 2003 11:16 PM

Yes, there was no doubt in my mind that Photography is an art. You have all pretty much backed me up very well. :)

I see so many photos today that invoke my emotions and a sense of awe. There are many photos I enjoy for the moment captured, for the feelings portrayed by the photographer and/or subject. This is what art is all about... for the artist to share all of the above with the audience.

transmitted by courtney on January 16, 2003 11:37 PM
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