Is Photography Art?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by df3photo, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. df3photo

    df3photo TPF Noob!

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    I have been doing photography for while now. I was thinking back to when I was in school, one of the instructors asked the class if photography was art. He didnt seem to think so. He did photograhy for many years and was a portrait and advertising photography instructor.
    even though we may set up the shots and print them in different ways is it just a image documenting the world as we see it?

    So, my question to everyone is : Is photography an Art form or is it just a documented view of the world?
     
  2. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    If you call it art, then it's art. It is up to the observer to decide if they like it or not and would themselves call it art.

    actually, this has been talked about quite a few times. some of those threads may give you some insite on the forum members thinking.
     
  3. Fullpower

    Fullpower TPF Noob!

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    Photography IS an art.
     
  4. Andrea K

    Andrea K TPF Noob!

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    with all due respect, isn't that what a painting is...setting up your easel and painting the scene how you see it

    and why is it that i can take a picture of one thing, and another person can take a picture of the same thing yet the other person's photo is definitively better than mine if its a simple push of a button?
     
  5. Kent Frost

    Kent Frost TPF Noob!

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    It depends on what the subject is. If you're just taking a picture of an object the way you see it, perhaps no, but that's debateable. Now on the other hand, if you're controlling the light, if you're controlling the subject, if you're controlling the outcome of the image...YES...it is art. In those cases, there is typically NO WAY that a subject would look like the result of that photography to the human eye naturally. And the biggest point, nothing happens exactly the same way twice, just as lightning is said not to ever strike twice in the same place, OR the same way. Think of it in terms of a sunset. To most, a sunset is a sunset is a sunset. But no sunset has ever had the same pattern before nor will it ever again. So is the same with photography. No image is identical. To me, that kind of uniqueness gives it an artistic edge. To give significance to something that, to the majority, is taken for granted.
     
  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    art [aart] noun (plural arts)

    1. creation of beautiful things: the creation of beautiful or thought-provoking works, for example, in painting, music, or writing

    2. beautiful objects: beautiful or thought-provoking works produced through creative activity

    3. branch of art: a branch or category of art, especially one of the visual arts

    4. artistic skill: the skill and technique involved in producing visual representations

    5. study of art: the study of a branch of the visual arts

    6. creation by humans: creation by human endeavor rather than by nature

    7. techniques or craft: the techniques used by somebody in a particular field, or the use of those techniques

    8. ability: the skill or ability to do something well
     
  7. MotorPsycho

    MotorPsycho TPF Noob!

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    the answer to this question is one of intent or purpose... i.e. what is the intent of a particular photo...

    a photograph of a car used in the classified section of a newspaper would hardly be considered art, it's "intent" is to inform or persuade someone to buy a car.

    however if the intent of a particular photo is to entertain, it would have to be considered an art...

    then there are photos that both entertain, inform, persuade, and many other things all at the same time.

    so the answer is yes... and no... :)
     
  8. walter23

    walter23 TPF Noob!

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    Art is the ability to creatively rearrange the view of the world that you have in your head, and express that new view competently through some medium. Therefore, photography is art if the photographer has somehow come up with an interesting new take on the world and expressed it with technical prowess. Photography is just a technical skill if the photographer takes some boring unreflective view of the world given to him by his family and peers and pukes it back up, no matter how perfect his exposure is, or whether he used diafine or instant coffee or great lakes water to develop his pictures.

    As an example (and I'm really stretching my knowledge of "art" to the limits here, so take it just as an illustration please!), Rodin realized that objects like people weren't just static things but they also moved - okay, everybody knew that before him, but he successfully applied it to the idea of people as objects that could be modelled in bronze, and he tried to convey that sense of motion. On the other hand, when I was 5 years old I "knew" that people had round heads and smiles looked like crescent moons and eyes were round, and my pictures looked awful because I was drawing what I "knew" without reflecting on it. Extrapolate that to more complex situations, for example: even photorealism isn't true, because there is motion and emotion etc etc etc. This obviously implies that art is subjective, because whether or not the artist or the audience perceives it as art will depend on how revelatory it is to them. If the artist points out something that his audience has already noticed about the world, he will not be nearly so well received as the artist who shows someone a completely new way of thinking about things or perceiving.


    I'm probably just regurgitating some basic art theory or something, but hey, I've never taken art classes and I know almost nothing about art history, so give me a break :)
     
  9. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Photography, like any medium of expression, can be used to produce Art. But it can be used for a lot of other things as well.
    The confusion over this question usually arises from people not making clear distinctions and the term 'Art' has become devalued. Everything is being called Art these days - a few years back I went to see an exhibition of pictures of the Earth taken by an orbiting satellite. The pictures were called Art in all the blurb, called Art by critics in the papers and I heard people at the exhibition saying what wonderful Art it all was. Everyone seemed to forget that the pictures were taken by a bl**dy machine working automatically. If a machine can produce 'Art' then there is no hope for the human race.
    Before the 1980's and po-mo there were clear distinctions made between High Art and Commercial Art. There was no stigma attached to doing it for money and creativity was held in high esteem but it wasn't seen as being on a par with Michaelangelo or Picasso. But it was also recognised when people used the medium for artistic ends.
    These days too many people doing commercial art want to be hailed as 'Artists' so that they don't feel they are on the same level as other tradesmen like plumbers.
    It's only a matter of time before an operating manual for a DVD player wins a Pulitzer or the Booker.
    But as to wether Photography is Art?
    It has the potential to be used for Art like any other medium - it all depends on who is using it and what they do with it.
     
  10. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Talk about a loaded question. Discussing Art is mandatory. Definitely helps us grow as artists. The whys'? and where fors' are a long journey. Art is in all mediums and everything. As artists we make a concious decision to consider every single detail in the frame. Photography has issues because all of a sudden a moment in time can be captured.

    Personally I think it is more fun to make it as opposed to discussing it.
     
  11. Artemis

    Artemis Just Punked Himself

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    I think what your asking is the same as..."Is £300 a lot of money" If your bill gates...no....if your me...W000T yes it is!
    So...Its like beauty...."Art is in the eye of the beholder" :)
     
  12. SLOShooter

    SLOShooter TPF Noob!

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    I'd have to say that photography is always art even if your just taking a picture of a car. A camera is not a human eye and will never capture what you are seeing exactly. Therefore everytime you take a picture you are controlling aspects of the image creation. Sometimes it's just pointing the camera but other times it's much more complex. To me the mere act of creating something is artistic. What you end up with can be debated to be art or not depending on who you ask but in the end you have created something, which is an amazing feat when you think about. In fact it is what makes you human.
     

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