Is Photography Art?

Started Sep 3, 2009 | Discussions thread
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therickman
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Is Photography Art?
Sep 3, 2009

I have wondered this over and over again.

Is photography art? Is all photography art? What distinguishes one photo as art and another not?

For instance, I look at a piece by Ansel Adams, and it's beautiful, it creates an emotion or reaction. It took skill, knowledge, and a creative eye to capture the shot. Therefore it's art, right? What if I take a random photo of a kitchen table and frame it. Is that art? What if I take a snapshot of my grandparents at a family picnic? Is that art? Surely it took skill to capture it correctly, it creates an emotion when I look at it, heck I even posed them... but is it an art piece? Perhaps it's simply visual communication, not art. By that I mean, rather than writing down "My grandparents were at the picnic. They had on jeans and and t-shirts, and smiles from ear to ear," I took a photo to communicate this. But therein lies the conundrum. Just as I took a photo of my grandparents to document the day, so too did Adams when he shot the "Moon and Half Dome" photo. He documented a natural subject at a certain point in time. But, it was his intent for that image to be "art," therefore it is art, right?

Does that mean anybody who takes a picture with the intent of it being an art piece has in fact created a work of art?

Personally, I don't see photography as 'art' by default. I see it as visual communication. But it can be used as a medium to create an art piece. I don't think photographs are art... just like words and sentences are not themselves works of art. But give the sentences rhythm, metaphors, alliteration, or even rhyme, and they become poetry - art.

Just my opinion. So, what do you think are the parameters that make a certain photo art, or just another piece of communication? Does it rest solely on the photographer's intent? Or is there something else?

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