Is Photography an Art?
For a very long time, the question has been “can photography be considered as art?”. This has been playing through people’s minds and discussions have been made in the field of interest. Photography has been considered a joke in the art world, an insult to the imagination and creativity of artists. People still call it Arts and Photography, but why not just Arts?
Paul Weiss an American Philosopher in his book Titled “Nine Basic Arts” considers Architecture, Sculpturing, Painting, Music, Story, Poetry, Theater, and Dance as the Nine basic forms of art. In this piece he doesn’t have a high regard for photography and in the last chapters of his book he mentions that; “They (photographers) have little and sometimes even no appreciation of the aesthetic values of experience. And when they do have such appreciation it is rarely relevant to their purposes. One need not…be an artist to use a camera with brilliance.”
You see, photography has suffered heavily from the scrutiny of philosophers and artists of the past, considered less important than painting, poetry, drawing and so on. The advent of digital photography and high-end cameras on smartphones does not really help this situation, this is because everyone thinks that it is easy to get a great picture without having to possess any skill, software and algorithms created to give you the best shots on the fly.
Several innovations chase photography away from the High table of art but then can we take a closer look and ask ourselves the big question “What is art?” because we keep trampling on the efforts of photography to be classified as a great form of art while forgetting to even ask what art is in its true meaning. Although we have theories set in place for learning purposes, Art cannot just be explained like a definition in a textbook.
Art is an emotion that speaks to you in its own way, it’s an entity that evolves and lives in life itself. Just like the saying “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder” Art lies in the eyes and hearts of whoever it speaks to- art speaks for itself, and Photography has found a way to do all this for us.
People may be able to take great pictures on the go with amazing smartphones, but you scroll past pictures that haven’t been taken with passion. Have you ever seen a photo that made you stop, take breather, take your time to assimilate the message of the photograph, feel the passion behind the detail, the underlying story in the shot, that feeling where you get lost in the message , when you think of what the photographer saw and how it made him feel seconds before he clicked the shutter and stopped time to capture that moment of extreme emotions? This is what Photography does to you.
Photography can tell a great story just like any other form of art can, it is an exceptional form of art even in this era where technology is taking the wheel. With Photography, you can still see the innovation, the creativity, the message being passed and feel the image as an extension of the photographer. It is an Art that has evolved, just like we were given the canvas and paint, clay and many other craft materials , we’ve been given the camera to capture life in its purest form to create long lasting memories, and that’s what photographs are about- life in its purest representation.