With the increasing use of photography to record events, many people wonder if it qualifies as a form of art. According to Bochen, photography can be a type of art, but not all photographs are taken to be artworks (71). Some photographs present artistic expressions while others do not. Depending on how they are taken and their intended purpose, the photographs can be considered a form of art or not. It is also important to note that photography took a long time to be recognized as a form of art. However, photographers now exhibit their work in museums and art galleries all over the world. This paper argues that photography is a form of art. Photography is an art form because it requires creativity, it captures emotions, and because photographers understand physics and abstraction.
Like other forms of art, photography requires creativity and imagination, qualifying it as an art. Bochen states that getting a perfect shot in photography requires a high level of creativity and imagination (71). Furthermore, photography can illustrate the extraordinary nature of ordinary things and events by discerning their aesthetic elements or capturing the right moments and applying well conceived editing and presentation techniques to the photographs. Photography can present these captured elements and moment then clarify how they’re expressed (Thomas 63). Be it drawing, painting, sculpture, or photography, they can all be art via the application of creativity and imagination.
Photography is also an art because it captures emotions. The difference between artistic photographs and ordinary snapshots is the attention to small details and the timing of the captures (Thomas 61). Artistic photography can focus on the small details that evoke powerful emotions. Experienced photographers know where to focus and which details to magnify in order to express their emotions. For instance, a photograph can express peace and calm in a chaotic and noisy environment. Some examples of the details that can express these emotions include focusing on the bride’s smile at a wedding to show an intimate moment of happiness, the dying light as storm clouds brew in the sky to show the calm before the stormr, and the sparkling eyes of a child as they receive a stuffed animal to show innocense.
The final technique, applied by both painters and photographers, is physics and abstraction. Experienced photographers must use their understanding of the angles, the camera capabilities, the optics, and the lighting (Thomas 63). Similar concepts are used by painters and other visual artists, including sculptors to analyze and understand the elements that affect their intended message (Tuggle 344). Every medium, be it ink or lighting can be used in art to communicate a unique message. In some instances, both painting and photography ignore the background of their main focus or may cover them up to convey a particular message. In photography, the background can be edited to avoid conveying conflicting information. Moreover, in art, the selected landscapes can work to provide a harmonious message on behalf of the artist.
Although, for a number of reasons, photography is a form of art, not all photographs qualify as art. For a photograph to qualify as art, it should capture emotions and focus on details that convey its intended message. Secondly, it should also include a high level of creativity and imagination. Finally, it should also involve an understanding of physics and abstraction. If a photograph has these elements, it is undoubtedly an art form. While not initially recognized as an art form, today art galleries and museums regularly hold exhibitions of artistic photographs.
Bochen, Zhang. “Discussion of Extension and Mutation of Photography in Contemporary Art.” (2017): 70-73
Thomas, Marie-Pier, and Antonio Mackenzie. “Review on Fine-Art Photography.” 6 (2020): 61-66.
Tuggle, Catherine. “Steichen and the photography-as-art debate: Silencing the cuckoo’s call.” History of photography 17.4 (1993): 343-351.
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