Can digital photography be "art"?

Started Nov 14, 2011 | Discussions thread
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ksgant
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Can digital photography be "art"?
Nov 14, 2011

I'm going to start off and say of course, digital photography can be art. What an artist chooses as their medium shouldn't matter. But several events have happened in the last few weeks that kind of rub me the wrong way.

First off is Andreas Gursky's photograph of the Rhine River, called Rhein II that recently went for over $4 million dollars at auction. I'm not here to bandy about if it was worth it or not. I'm not a critic, but fascinated by the discussions this piece has stirred up, which I suppose is a good thing.

What galls me though is a particular individual who is quite controversial in the photography world. I won't say specifically who he is, as I don't want this devolving into a bash fest or whatever. But what he said about the piece got me thinking:

He said: "...if it's not captured on film, it is not art. Artists create art, not photographers. Artists may choose to work in photography, but being an artist is what matters above all. I can't think of any iconic photo ever created with a digital camera."

Okay, first he says that if it's not on film (as in not digital), then it's not art. Then goes on to say that artists are artists no matter what their chosen medium...which to me says that an artist CAN choose digital as a medium and make art from it, yes? But then he comes back as saying that he can't think of any iconic digital photo. Is this a typical "film is better than digital" rant, or does he have a valid point?

What do you all think of this? Can digital photography be "art"? Can any of you think of an iconic photo created with a digital camera? I know I see great photography everyday from many different people...all shot digitally.

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