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kwso's avatar

Is photography a true art form?

Asked by kwso (29points) April 11th, 2009

Here’s Gore Vidal’s take on it:
“For half a century photography has been the “art form” of the untalented. Obviously some pictures are more satisfactory than others, but where is credit due? to the designer of the camera? To the finger on the button? To the law of averages?” ...
I love Vidal – but I disagree with him on this one.

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17 Answers

kevbo's avatar

Yeah, I mean you could make similar arguments for other art forms. Painting—quality of the canvas, design of the brush, depth of the pigments, sturdiness of the easel…

Plus, a lot of great painters painted from photographs.

kenmc's avatar

Yes. There’s actually a surprising amount of control in the hands of the photographer. People don’t realize that. It’s so much more than just ‘hitting a button.’

There’s aperture control, white balance, shutter speed, ect…

And that’s not mentioning framing and the like.

upholstry's avatar

I think the answer is very dependent on the meaning of ‘art form’.

Gore Vidal is saying how a good photograph isn’t so much a product of the mind and expression of the photographer as it is a matter of chance (being in the right place at the right time) or the quality of the technology.

I disagree, because I don’t think the expression of the photograph is realized at the moment that the picture is taken, but at the moment when the ‘artist’, the photographer, separates it from the other pictures and decides ‘this one is good’. Half the art in photography is knowing what to keep and what to throw away, IMO.

kevbo's avatar

@upholstry, I like that. It’s a lot like getting down to great writing.

global_nomad's avatar

Not all pictures taken with a camera can be considered art. But I do believe that photography is an art form. It’s very difficult to get a good picture, it takes a lot of planning and thought of the part of the photographer, not to mention luck of timing.

Not all photographers are artists either.

upholstry's avatar

@kevbo what do you mean ‘getting down to great writing’?

kevbo's avatar

Knowing what to edit.

Darwin's avatar

Sounds to me as if Gore Vidal can’t figure out why the heads are always cut off in the photos he takes of family and friends. Sour grapes!

Anyone can click a shutter, but only someone with talent can make sure to click the shutter at the right time, at the right place, with the right lighting, and with the ability to know what to leave out to make a photo into art. That is to say, the photo becomes more than just its subject. It becomes commentary on how the photographer views life.

“Having film and camera makes you no more a photographer than having a hammer and some nails makes you a carpenter.” – Claude Adams

“It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary.” – David Bailey

Dutchess12's avatar

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fireside's avatar

In regards to the editing process, great photographers take dozens of photos just to get one or two good ones that can be used in an article, on a cover or at a gallery.

Mr_M's avatar

The art of photography is a picture’s content more then the quality of the photo.

Schenectandy's avatar

When there was no photography, painting, drawing, etc. were needed if you wanted to preserve an image. If photography isn’t art, is a realistic, representational portrait or landscape painting not art?

emilia_eclaire's avatar

I think photography certainly CAN be an art, it requires a natural eye and a certain skill set. But I get really annoyed at the amount of hacks out there who claim to be photographers. Just because you can take pictures of random “arty” objects and photoshop them to death does not mean you are a photographer. And yes, sometimes it is just blind luck.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Art isn’t simply the finished work; it is the thought, the essence of the artist, his thoughts, feelings, mood, his idea, his vision, caught in time, for us to share. daVinci said great art should disturb the viewer, and in a way, I agree with him. Art should make you think about it long after your attention has moved elsewhere, no matter the medium. Photography, done right, is just as much art as any other more traditional art form.

Gore Vidal can go suck an egg on this one. :-)

patanderson2011's avatar

Yes! Photography is one best thing that you can express your artistic and creative mind through photos and effects you apply when taking pictures.

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