Is Photography Art?

If so how is it so?

The above question is almost a rhetorical one for one special reason – you cannot muster up facts to support your claim. In other words there are no facts available at any level to answer the question. The sad point here is that it lies in the hands of opinion and opinion at any level is folly.

As an artist and a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago I have the proper credentials to speak on this topic. It is my conviction that photography is not art but does require artistic assistance in delivery. The main reason that I say this is due to the fact that a mechanical object (or electronic digital device) is the agent of photographic depiction not the human at any level. For anything to be a work of art it has to come from a human being.

Rather than view photographs as works of art it is more prudent to view photographs taken by an artist! For it is the artist that has that special mind or “eye” for that which is artistic, much in the same manner as a musician has and understanding and sensitivity to that which is musical.

What separates an artist from others is his or her ability to put things from various sources together and arrive at a new creation, in music we call this composing but it is the same thing. When I go to paint a canvas I compose by adding new strokes of paint from the brush. However, with the camera there is no such composition involved. The closest thing you have to composing with photography is the setting up of lighting and composition of the image. The actual task of imaging is done by the mechanism not by human hand.

I will not be so bold as to say that there is no artistic tasking in photography for there certainly is that, just to select and image is an artistry. But we must not confuse this with being an artist any more than saying that I am a doctor because while at a camp-out I was administering first-aid and treating the sick. What it boils down to is perspective – how you want to view things.

The artist possesses the acumen to create wonderful images through these mechanical objects. To pose the question “is a photographer and artist?” is folly for the question obviously bespeaks the answer! A photographer is a photographer not an artist.