Photography – Art or not?

It’s a positive way of looking at one of the differences between traditional art and photography. A photograph captures a moment in time in its actuality, whereas something like a painting or drawing, however accurate is essentially a rendering of whatever the artist chooses to see. But can photography itself ever be described as an art form? And more importantly, what is art?

If we take the above paragraph at face value, it’s difficult to see where photography would fit into this analogy. As photographers, it’s not easy to see anything other than what is in front of our lenses – we can only photograph what physically exists, or what we can make physically exist. And, as such, it’s not hard to see why some people can be very dismissive of photography as an art form.

It’s also hard for people to see an artistic value in photography when it’s possible to make nearly identical copies of the same image. A photograph can never be a one-off like a painting (unless of course you print one copy and then delete all traces of its existence!). And of course, since digital photography became the norm, there’s a certain belief that anyone can take a photograph.

But yet, despite all this, it is somewhat true that some photography can be viewed as art. What a lot of people don’t realize is that many of us pros see art as a huge influence in our work.