Why Photography is Art

What is art? Art is something that a human being creates.

Anything you create is an “art-work”.

Now perhaps the more practical question is this:

Is art a legitimate art-form? And is it on the same plane as painting or other forms of artwork?

I claim it is. Why? Let me explain:

What is the camera?

A camera is a tool to create images.

Not all images are art-works (for example, a photograph of your receipt). However if you desire, you can use the camera as a tool of art-creation.

For example, instead of using a paintbrush, you prefer using a camera.

Why? A camera is faster, more instantaneous, and different.

How painting and photography differ

With painting, you put paint to a canvas. With photography, you put light on a sensor.

In theory with painting, you can sit in an empty (all white) office, and create whatever visual art-forms you desire. With photography, you are constrained to reality. With photography it is very difficult to make great photos without leaving the house. Of course you can shoot beautiful pictures at home, but eventually you would want to leave the house.

Is photography or painting more difficult?

If you desire to paint photo-realistic paintings, then of course you need years (or decades) of training.

But with a camera, you can make a photograph in a fraction of a second. A child can shoot photos. A dog can shoot photos.

Thus, for the most part– photography is FAR easier to learn or pick up. Thus in this way, photography is technically more intuitive than painting.

Now, of course you can paint like a child (putting paint to any canvas). This form of painting is easy and intuitive– and does have great merit.

However in some ways photography is more difficult than painting, as it also does require great amounts of technical mastery. To understand how a camera works is difficult. To learn how to utilize the technical skills to make images is also hard. With digital photography, learning how to post-process and edit photos on a computer. With analogue photography, shooting film, printing, etc is very difficult.

Is photography or painting more legitimate?

In the art world, painting is seem as more legitimate as painting. Why?

Simple:

Everyone has an iPhone camera. Thus there is less mystery or sexiness in being a photographer (compared to being a painter).

To be seen as a legitimate artist in today’s world is to disguise yourself. To make yourself seem like some sort of mysterious wizard, with all these weird and magical or supernatural things about you. This is why so many artists dress weird, talk funny (pretentious), use strange words (pretentious art world verbiage), and hide their methods.

You can be a great artist yet not commercially successful. That’s totally fine and legitimate.

Do you want to become successful in the art world?

If you desire to become successful in the art world, it is probably 99% networking, social skills, and “playing the game”. The notion of getting “discovered”by the art world without promoting yourself is nonsense. Even Picasso was a master self-promoter.

If your goal is to become a successful photographer in the art world, probably best to study entrepreneurship and business — not art.

Conclusion

It is evident that photography is art. Perhaps a further question is this:

Can you make photographs which are even a GREATER art than the most celebrated paintings in history?

Of course. But this will depend on your skills, effort, and vision.

If to become a great photographer-artist is your goal, strive towards that goal with all your might!

ERIC

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