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Photography often isn't seen as the art form it really is.

It's artistic, plain and simple. It's easy for even an amateur to tell a poorly composed shot from a good one, and it's not easy to make a well-composed shot.

Why have people been saying that certain types of photography, such as macro or self-portraiture, are not artistic? "Macro photography is only for magazines and stuff," one person told me, "and it doesn't have any artistic merit. Anyone can go out and closely observe the natural world."

For some reason, certain types of portraiture also come under attack. "They just look like they're posing. It's no better than MySpace or Facebook," someone told me of the newly added "Expressive Portraits" on dA.

And why do people go to such extents as to say that certain types of photography are less artistic and take less talent? "Black and white photography is stupid. Anyone can do it and it's much easier to hide flaws that way," another person informed me.

Now, I have to analyze all this impartially, so I'll make an example of a medium in which I don't even dabble - painting. That is, painting on a canvas, with brushes and oil-based paints on a palette - that kind of painting. If I were to look at a recently completed painting by an art student at my school and say, "Ugh, that's boring. The colors don't mean anything and the idea is unoriginal," what kind of reaction do you think I'd get? I'd be mocked. I'd be laughed at. And somewhere in there, someone would say jeeringly and defensively, "Let's see you do better!"

If I get in my car one morning, and turn the key in the ignition, and the car won't start, then I take it to a mechanic. If the mechanic doesn't appear to be doing to the car what I want him to be doing, would I dare tell him, "I think you're fixing the wrong thing" ?

Photography is art. It always has been and always will be. A photographer strives to create a work of art by capturing a moment in the exact way in which he or she perceives it. It's not a replication of human consciousness, but of the observations made by that consciousness. David Cronenberg made a short film in 2000 that defines photography as "capturing the death of the moment." In many ways, there is a great deal of merit to capturing the death of a moment in order to preserve the memory of that moment forever. A truly good photographer is able to convey such emotion and expression through a single photograph as to nearly perfectly replicate the moment for all who view it.

I am not close to that stage yet.

Rather than close with a statement saying something to the effect of "that's my opinion, thanks for reading kthxbai," I'd like whoever reads this to comment with an answer to the question posed by this post's title. It'll be neat to see what you all think about photography as art - its merits and drawbacks, yes, but mainly what makes it art in the fist place. Why photography?
  • Listening to: Beautiful Sin
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syzorian Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2009   Writer
"They just look like they're posing" -- isn't that what portraits ARE? :P

I like the Cronenberg remark. I like seeing photos where a moment is almost perfectly replicated. Photographs that convey no emotion seem pointless to me because it could be anyone's observation. If there's nothing to be interpreted its not art. Thats the challenge of photography, making it art - and that's achieved through expressing a certain message and finding an aesthetically pleasing way to do it.
OldxJeans Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2009
I love photography (not good at it but love it) and have always thought it was the best form of art. It captures the moment, feels meaningful to me, is lovely to look at, and what I love most about it is that it's real. Photography reminds me that there is beauty in the world and it is possible to find it.

I hate how some people think it's so easy and simple >,< it's not and should be appreciated more often.
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Submitted on
April 14, 2009


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