Do You Think Photography is an Art?

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

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  • #2
BillTre
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Artistic photography could well be art.
Technical photography not so much, but can be artistic by accident.
 
  • #3
Here is some of my work. Would this be classified as art photography?
 

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  • #4
BillTre
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Sounds more like a question for an arts forum.
 
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  • #5
berkeman
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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
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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.
 
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  • #7
DaveC426913
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Of course it's art. It's a creative way of evoking a reaction from viewers.
 
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  • #8
collinsmark
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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.
 
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  • #9
DaveC426913
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I think #2 is emotionally evocative, although I'm partial to abstract colour and shape, as in #4.
 
  • #10
symbolipoint
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Photography is more technical than creative. EXPECTING Photography to either be Art or not be Art, is something not right.
 
  • #11
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.
 

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  • #12
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
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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.
 
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  • #14
pinball1970
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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.
 
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  • #15
hutchphd
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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.
 
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  • #16
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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
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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.
 
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  • #18
phinds
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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
 
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  • #19
symbolipoint
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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.
 
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  • #20
fresh_42
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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.
 
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  • #21
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.
 
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  • #22
Klystron
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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
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!”
 
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  • #24
DaveC426913
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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
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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.
 
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