Is photography really art? In today’s apathetic social media age where anyone can quickly take and share a superficial selfie or a picture of hot dog legs you might find your self questioning whether photography really is art at all or whether it is just who ever has the more expensive piece of equipment wins?
I believe anything can be art if you have created something because you have been inspired in some way to create it because you want to express what is going on inside your mind… but simply taking a nice photo for the sake of it no matter how nice that photo is not art! Even if you do have a £2000 digital camera.
Who cares though if your art doesn’t look nice to other people.. that shouldn’t be the point of art as art is all about personal expression.
It is when you start depicting life and meaning in your photographs and manipulate the images to convey your meaning for example through changing the lighting or what is happening in the picture that your photograph becomes artwork of art. This is because art is all about being inspired, creating and then exploring further different ideas and perceptions to expand your art further. If you are just taking a photograph for no other reason than because you like the look of something there and then this is just recording a moment and nothing more. You must have created or manipulated that moment and why you created that moment is just as important and makes photography art!

Van Gogh used to paint pictures of the most mundane things ever yet he managed to expresses through how he painted these things his emotions. If a photographer simple took a picture of some of the things Van Gogh painted and did little else then this would not compare to what Van Gogh did.

Van Gogh didn’t paint pictures for the wow factor (like so many photographers try to do with their pictures) or fame and money but painted because he wanted to and used it as a medium of expression.

What do you think?

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4 Responses

  1. Jyn

    I think (some) photographers create art in the way they capture, develop and display images.
    But, more importantly – glad to see you back! Hope all is well with Hudson and would love an update.
    On the way here I stumbled through some old posts. Do you post about how your step stool by your fridge is mounted to the wall? I need to do this.

  2. Winnie

    Hi, I’ve been following your blog for a long time, since 2009 even. I’m a professional portrait photographer. Before this, my art medium was cooking. I view myself now even as an artist. It may seem like us photographers are just simply recording, pressing a shutter, and calling it a day. I respect your opinion on this as it is such a big great debate. Please know though, coming at least from an actual photographer, that each of us have our own artistic spin on images. It doesn’t end when we press the shutter. I spend many hours perfect the proper colors, light, processing of my images. Like painters, we also have a way to render an artistic version of reality. It can come from our lens choices, our angles, studying light, and the way we pick even the most minute details like aperture or shutter speed. It takes great knowledge, and I feel like a blanket statement like what you just said pretty much says that anyone can be a photographer because there’s nothing artistic, hence, not making what we do special.

    • maillardvillemanor

      Hey. Thanks for the great reply and sticking up for the photographers out there. I totally agree with you. This post is more aimed at those people who because they are simply handy with a camera (and with a bit of luck) can take a pretty images and will then say that they are the artist/photographers without actually having any reason or any real artistic input into their photos.

      I’m not definitely not saying that photographers who do put thought and emotion in their photos and who don’t rely on just their surroundings to make great photographs aren’t artists. In fact like you say

      “our lens choices, our angles, studying light, and the way we pick even the most minute details like aperture or shutter speed” and seeing what others cant see is exactly what art is about.

  3. nshipp

    I have to completely disagree with this statement. First off, I would consider myself an artist. I’ve worked in the advertising industry for the last 10 years as a senior brand designer, art director, and a creative director. I’ve seen it all so far. I spend countless long advertising hours in my office designing and directing all day long for global clients, and I love it.

    We all need outlets and mine is photography, I shoot high end commercial weddings along with other corporate shoots, and occasionally a family session here and there. Photography is art. It is art in so many ways, I approach my photography just like a design project. I create a mood board, a draw out ideas, I plan, a visualize lighting and composition, I light my subjects with strobes and various diffusers and make carful selections of what lenses I’ll use. The process doesn’t end there. The editing takes time, weather it’s in lightroom or photoshop to manipulate lighting, and perfect my exposure and curves. In the end it’s a great piece of art, that starts just like a painting, logo, a brand, a big idea.

    I’ve found photography to be one of the most challenging forms of art I’ve taken part in. Lighting is never the same, your subject has to be coached, it’s very high pressured situations, but when it all comes together it can be so impactful.

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