Do You Think Photography is an Art?

  • #1
BadgerBadger92
120
36
I am an artistic photographer and am wondering if others think it is an art or not and why
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
BillTre
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2022 Award
2,207
7,327
Artistic photography could well be art.
Technical photography not so much, but can be artistic by accident.
 
  • #3
BadgerBadger92
120
36
Here is some of my work. Would this be classified as art photography?
 

Attachments

  • E234C193-D129-495B-A6C4-4710AC41AF09.jpeg
    E234C193-D129-495B-A6C4-4710AC41AF09.jpeg
    73.4 KB · Views: 54
  • 8B7C3F7B-2A44-4392-A5BE-DCE59A184A78.jpeg
    8B7C3F7B-2A44-4392-A5BE-DCE59A184A78.jpeg
    25.8 KB · Views: 57
  • 06E6B3E6-E7A0-42ED-AFFB-716E66951C86.jpeg
    06E6B3E6-E7A0-42ED-AFFB-716E66951C86.jpeg
    25 KB · Views: 55
  • EB0934AE-816C-43BE-9DC8-700E68D4EDC2.jpeg
    EB0934AE-816C-43BE-9DC8-700E68D4EDC2.jpeg
    81.2 KB · Views: 53
  • #4
BillTre
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2022 Award
2,207
7,327
Sounds more like a question for an arts forum.
 
  • Like
Likes Hamiltonian and phinds
  • #5
berkeman
Mentor
64,121
15,323
I am an artistic photographer and am wondering if others think it is an art or not and why
My first reaction is that the definition of an artistic person and an art form are different. I need to think about that more...
 
  • #6
fresh_42
Mentor
Insights Author
2022 Award
17,643
18,297
It is definitely an art, at least, and this is why, if the photo shows the perspective of the photographer and not simply a postcard or smartphone picture. A good photo tells a story, a snapshot does not.

We have had a photo contest:
https://www.physicsforums.com/forums/photo-contest-archives.216/
and 90% of the photos were more or less boring obsolete. Even the votings rarely resulted in the best photo, only in the funniest, often not even that. So photography is not only an art, it is also an art only few can really value. But this isn't any different from, say painting.
 
  • Like
Likes Klystron and berkeman
  • #7
DaveC426913
Gold Member
21,358
4,817
Of course it's art. It's a creative way of evoking a reaction from viewers.
 
  • Like
  • Informative
Likes Klystron, pinball1970 and fresh_42
  • #8
collinsmark
Homework Helper
Gold Member
3,236
2,112
Here is some of my work. Would this be classified as art photography?
I think so. Good composition. Interesting lighting and contrast. I see potential there. Keep it up.
 
  • Wow
Likes symbolipoint
  • #9
DaveC426913
Gold Member
21,358
4,817
I think #2 is emotionally evocative, although I'm partial to abstract colour and shape, as in #4.
 
  • #10
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
6,962
1,591
Photography is more technical than creative. EXPECTING Photography to either be Art or not be Art, is something not right.
 
  • #11
BadgerBadger92
120
36
Photography is more technical than creative. EXPECTING Photography to either be Art or not be Art, is something not right.
Would you consider these art? As an experienced photographer, the technical use of a camera is easy. You just need to consider aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and filters. What is hard is finding a creative image that expresses your imagination and feelings. Read a few books on photography to see what I mean.
 

Attachments

  • D26616FC-F9C4-47A0-B3E2-C632FD93A06C.jpeg
    D26616FC-F9C4-47A0-B3E2-C632FD93A06C.jpeg
    9.3 KB · Views: 61
  • D88CBC0C-3F1F-4726-B1BB-56F43CBBFD74.jpeg
    D88CBC0C-3F1F-4726-B1BB-56F43CBBFD74.jpeg
    63.6 KB · Views: 59
  • EA5DBFBB-2031-4686-8FDE-3E20E2858031.jpeg
    EA5DBFBB-2031-4686-8FDE-3E20E2858031.jpeg
    40.6 KB · Views: 54
Last edited:
  • #12
BadgerBadger92
120
36
Photography is more technical than creative. EXPECTING Photography to either be Art or not be Art, is something not right.
Here is a video I made on the greatest photographs of all time.

 
  • #13
fresh_42
Mentor
Insights Author
2022 Award
17,643
18,297
Photography is more technical than creative.
I strongly disagree with that interpretation. It only proves why most "photographers" are not artists because of this view. Everyone can take a photo, i.e. can handle the technique, but few can make a photo, i.e. express the subtleties of a situation.
 
  • Like
Likes DaveC426913
  • #14
pinball1970
Gold Member
1,604
2,213
I am an artistic photographer and am wondering if others think it is an art or not and why
Absolutely.
When I take a photograph I want to make sure its in focus and I am not cutting someone's head off.
An artist (that is what they are, using a camera rather than a brush) is capturing something about nature, a moment in time, an emotion.

I took a picture of my drums, you will take your camera to a music shop and find the moment that 12 year old picks up a Gibbo and flicks his Marshall up.

My friend has it, I do not. Yes it's art.
 
  • Like
Likes fresh_42 and DaveC426913
  • #15
hutchphd
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2022 Award
5,330
4,498
Indeed anything can be art. But of course everything is not art. The real question is whether this distinction is intrinsic to the work or is strictly in the eye of the beholder.
I like the definition of art as anything that purveys the world view of the artist.
 
  • Like
Likes symbolipoint
  • #16
Rive
Science Advisor
2,443
1,859
Photography is more technical than creative.
I see that only as a limiting, but not determining factor. It's easy to produce a ton of photos, and by chance some of them may have artistic value: but to produce artistic value with taking photos is always limited by the camera (I'm not referring to the capabilities of the equipment here, but in general: the function. The as-is.).

Maybe exactly that 'going against': to rebel against the limit of technicality matters somewhere too.

...
Just some random ramblings here, don't shooto:)
 
  • #17
pinball1970
Gold Member
1,604
2,213
I see that only as a limiting, but not determining factor. It's easy to produce a ton of photos, and by chance some of them may have artistic value: but to produce artistic value with taking photos is always limited by the camera (I'm not referring to the capabilities of the equipment here, but in general: the function. The as-is.).

Maybe exactly that 'going against': to rebel against the limit of technicality matters somewhere too.

...
Just some random ramblings here, don't shooto:)
A wedding photographer has technique and may be limited by kit. I think we are talking about more as an art form.
'seeing' things.
Sure, whatever is captured is subjective but artists see things and I take pictures. Anymore explanation and I am rambling.
 
  • Like
Likes symbolipoint
  • #18
phinds
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2022 Award
18,135
10,964
Do You Think Photography is an Art?
It CAN be. Google "Ashes and Snow". That guy has some absolutely astounding stuff and IIRC he spent several years getting the couple of dozen shots he took on exhibit around the world. What he has done goes WAY beyond technical virtuosity.

I admired it so much that I went to see it in person and then made a matted composite of some of the pics. You have to see these in full size to get the full impact.
ashes and snow composite.jpg
 
  • Like
Likes Hamiltonian, berkeman and Lord Jestocost
  • #19
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
6,962
1,591
BadgerBadger92,

If they are art, I am unsure. They ARE documentation. Photographers are like hunters who look for something worth seeing or worth being shown and shared.
I strongly disagree with that interpretation. It only proves why most "photographers" are not artists because of this view. Everyone can take a photo, i.e. can handle the technique, but few can make a photo, i.e. express the subtleties of a situation.
Just about everyone can learn to use a camera and manage the technicalities of operating it. After that, taking the picture is more of a hunt. I see no strong Art about it. I see documentation. The exceptions might exist, but not certain if there are strong enough things in those possible exceptions to make them Art. Maybe photography is in support of art, like in film-making. Maybe W. Wegman's cleverly arranged and then photographed Weimaraners is one of these exceptions. In those examples, maybe the Art is what was recorded and the way. But managing the camera? Not art; but skill and technic knowledge.
 
  • Skeptical
Likes PeroK and fresh_42
  • #20
fresh_42
Mentor
Insights Author
2022 Award
17,643
18,297
I see no strong Art about it.
So? Kishon didn't see the art behind modern art. Fortunately, this is irrelevant. But you are right in so far as most photos are far from being art, same as most songs won't become evergreens.
 
  • Like
Likes pinball1970
  • #21
BadgerBadger92
120
36
BadgerBadger92,

If they are art, I am unsure. They ARE documentation. Photographers are like hunters who look for something worth seeing or worth being shown and shared.

Just about everyone can learn to use a camera and manage the technicalities of operating it. After that, taking the picture is more of a hunt. I see no strong Art about it. I see documentation. The exceptions might exist, but not certain if there are strong enough things in those possible exceptions to make them Art. Maybe photography is in support of art, like in film-making. Maybe W. Wegman's cleverly arranged and then photographed Weimaraners is one of these exceptions. In those examples, maybe the Art is what was recorded and the way. But managing the camera? Not art; but skill and technic knowledge.
If it’s so easy, give it a try.

Taking pictures does not mean that you just walk around taking pictures. It requires imagination and feeling like any other art form. Photography in this sense is harder than a medium like painting. You need to find your vision around you.
 
Last edited:
  • Informative
Likes symbolipoint
  • #22
Klystron
Gold Member
1,047
1,572
If it’s so easy, give it a try.

Taking pictures does not mean that you just walk around taking pictures. It requires imagination and feeling like any other art form. Photography in this sense is harder than a medium like painting. You need to find your vision around you.
This implies working/living in a visually interesting area (which I do) or the personal resources to travel to photograph interesting subjects. As a painter I enjoy seeing photographs, using photos as the basis or inspiration for many realistic paintings.

I once witnessed a beautiful cloudburst while driving the valley rim; too occupied remaining upright to attempt pictures. A local newspaper published b&w photos of the storm clouds that I used to refresh my mental image and then paint in acrylics on canvas. Years later I strive to capture the nature of the lightning against the black. The black clouds, black rocks shadowed from the sun.


Photography retains many disadvantages of flat painting with different but extensive technical limitations. Subjects may evoke deep response but rarely the technique. Certainly, still and moving photography surpasses all other art forms depicting erotica excepting, perhaps, sculpture and certain woodcuts.
 
  • #23
BadgerBadger92
120
36
This implies working/living in a visually interesting area (which I do) or the personal resources to travel to photograph interesting subjects. As a painter I enjoy seeing photographs, using photos as the basis or inspiration for many realistic paintings.

I once witnessed a beautiful cloudburst while driving the valley rim; too occupied remaining upright to attempt pictures. A local newspaper published b&w photos of the storm clouds that I used to refresh my mental image and then paint in acrylics on canvas. Years later I strive to capture the nature of the lightning against the black. The black clouds, black rocks shadowed from the sun.


Photography retains many disadvantages of flat painting with different but extensive technical limitations. Subjects may evoke deep response but rarely the technique. Certainly, still and moving photography surpasses all other art forms depicting erotica excepting, perhaps, sculpture and certain woodcuts.
You don’t need a beautiful place to take a good picture. There is a quote from William Eggleston when he was talking to a new photographer. He said-

“What am I going to photograph here? Everything around here is so ugly.”

Then Eggleston said-

“Photograph the ugly stuff!”
 
  • Like
Likes Klystron and PeroK
  • #24
DaveC426913
Gold Member
21,358
4,817
This implies working/living in a visually interesting area (which I do) or the personal resources to travel to photograph interesting subjects.
The mark of a creative person is that they can find beauty in the most mundane things.
 
  • #25
fresh_42
Mentor
Insights Author
2022 Award
17,643
18,297
The mark of a creative person is that they can find beauty in the most mundane things.
Or tragic! Since this thread started, I always have the photo of "working men" and of this running little girl in mind who was the victim of an incendiary bomb during the Vietnam war.
 
  • Love
  • Like
Likes Klystron and pinball1970
  • #26
gmax137
Science Advisor
2,272
1,914
How many times have you taken a photo and then later looking at the print, you think "well it looked a lot better in real life"? When you see "in real life" you are using your eyes and your brain. Getting the print to look like what you see is (maybe) a skill or technique, or maybe it is an art. Whatever you want to call it, it is not easy.

Now go further and come up with a print that makes you feel like you did when you saw the scene. Definitely art, IMO.

If it’s so easy, give it a try.

Exactly.
 
  • Like
Likes PeroK and collinsmark
  • #27
pinball1970
Gold Member
1,604
2,213
Or tragic! Since this thread started, I always have the photo of "working men" and of this running little girl in mind who was the victim of an incendiary bomb during the Vietnam war.
Exactly what I was going to put but the images were not appropriate. She is still alive, the injuries were extensive to her arms and back so it just looks like a naked kid running away.
The journalists tried to throw water on her when she stopped running. She had stopped screaming and was silent, in shock.
That's what I remember of the verbal descriptions from eye witness.
Now what does an artist do in that situation? He captures all facets of that true horror.
Young, helpless, terrified, in pain, naked and almost messianic in her stance.
A good journalist captures all that and he did.
It's certainly art 'now.' Now we know she survived, we can be more comfortable with the label.
The 'Falling man' did not have a happy ending from 911 but certainly had that quality.
 
  • Like
Likes Klystron, dlgoff and fresh_42
  • #28
fresh_42
Mentor
Insights Author
2022 Award
17,643
18,297
The 'Falling man' did not have a happy ending from 911 but certainly had that quality.
Another iconic picture is the student in front of a Chinese tank at the Tiananmen Square demonstration. But I also remember some aesthetic photos.
 
  • Like
  • Informative
Likes Klystron, pinball1970 and dlgoff
  • #29
dlgoff
Science Advisor
Gold Member
4,459
2,903
The 'Falling man' did not have a happy ending from 911 but certainly had that quality.
This is still very shocking to me. I did a little googling and found this video from the photographer:

So sad.
 
  • Love
  • Like
Likes pinball1970 and BillTre
  • #30
pinball1970
Gold Member
1,604
2,213
This is still very shocking to me. I did a little googling and found this video from the photographer:

So sad.

Still very difficult to watch. Easily the worst thing that has happened in my life time.
That image though. This could lead to a discussion on what art is which is not the OP is about.
As an aside, there is a documentary looking into the identity of the falling man.
It's very upsetting but interesting too. If I find the link I will forward.
 
  • Like
Likes dlgoff and fresh_42
  • #31
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
6,962
1,591
I watched about three-quarters of the "Falling Man " video. From seeing that much, the original posted question, "Do you think Photography is an Art?" has very little value. Trying to decide, for the specific example, if the "Falling Man" video is art or something else, is a waste effort. It was interesting and useful, without regard to Photography being art or not.
 
  • #32
DaveC426913
Gold Member
21,358
4,817
I watched about three-quarters of the "Falling Man " video. From seeing that much, the original posted question, "Do you think Photography is an Art?" has very little value. Trying to decide, for the specific example, if the "Falling Man" video is art or something else, is a waste effort. It was interesting and useful, without regard to Photography being art or not.
I think the problem here is that, were it to be framed as art, does it then inevitably also get framed as exploitation?
 
  • #33
pinball1970
Gold Member
1,604
2,213
I watched about three-quarters of the "Falling Man " video. From seeing that much, the original posted question, "Do you think Photography is an Art?" has very little value. Trying to decide, for the specific example, if the "Falling Man" video is art or something else, is a waste effort. It was interesting and useful, without regard to Photography being art or not.
This one?



This says 101 things. It goes into what a photographer does, his ethos.
Some of those iconic photographs already mentioned are in there.
Photography is art and art reflects life. That's my take.
The people part of 911 is difficult to watch. It's all in there and I think it's tastefully done.
 
  • #34
pinball1970
Gold Member
1,604
2,213
I think the problem here is that, were it to be framed as art, does it then inevitably also get framed as exploitation?
The video if you watch it assesses the reaction to that photo, in the US and globally.
They agree with you. However grief has a process and that is what happened with 911. Time changes things and while I remember refusing to look at a newspaper the day after the events there was something cathartic about watching that video just now.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes dlgoff and DaveC426913

Suggested for: Do You Think Photography is an Art?

  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
248
Replies
2
Views
450
Replies
1
Views
1K
Replies
28
Views
1K
  • Poll
  • Last Post
3
Replies
88
Views
4K
  • Poll
  • Last Post
7
Replies
228
Views
16K
Replies
1
Views
623
Replies
8
Views
948
Top