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Is Photography really an art form?
Posted: 26 June 2014 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve always thought the answer was No, it isn’t an art. In the olden days maybe you’d have to master some techniques to actually produce the pictures, but with digital cameras that’s pretty much gone. I’m sorry, but to me it just seems like it’s a matter of point and click. And to make things “artsy” you use black and white, and maybe throw the main subject off center. I’m sure many will disagree, and I’d love to hear your opinions.

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Posted: 27 June 2014 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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CuthbertJ - 26 June 2014 11:27 AM

I’ve always thought the answer was No, it isn’t an art. In the olden days maybe you’d have to master some techniques to actually produce the pictures, but with digital cameras that’s pretty much gone. I’m sorry, but to me it just seems like it’s a matter of point and click. And to make things “artsy” you use black and white, and maybe throw the main subject off center. I’m sure many will disagree, and I’d love to hear your opinions.

According to the Getty Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and many other museums, it most certainly is an art form.

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Posted: 27 June 2014 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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CuthbertJ - 26 June 2014 11:27 AM

I’ve always thought the answer was No, it isn’t an art. In the olden days maybe you’d have to master some techniques to actually produce the pictures, but with digital cameras that’s pretty much gone. I’m sorry, but to me it just seems like it’s a matter of point and click. And to make things “artsy” you use black and white, and maybe throw the main subject off center. I’m sure many will disagree, and I’d love to hear your opinions.

There is a lot more to photography than point and shoot. A good photographer has to have and eye for the subject to create an interesting composition that tells a story or creates an emotion. Lighting is so much more complicated than turning on a lamp or using a flash. Lighting is an art I’m itself and a good photographer knows how to use light to make a blah photo into a great photo. It’s also not correct that the transfer to digital has removed a creative element of photography. Post processing of digital photos is far more complex with much more to learn and many more tools and options.

I’ve done photography for almost 40 years. My father was a professional photographer who did a lot of magazine and product photography so as kids we had access to the dark room and learned how to develop our own photos. I do some professional photography ( landscape, cityscape, and droplet photography - http://www.liquidartgallery.com) as a sideline for fun but I am still in awe of the talent of some of the greats who do this as a real profession.

Anyone who thinks photography is not an art just hasn’t spent enough time understanding the subject. Go to a museum or gallery and find some photos that really move you or browse through national geographic or go to a book store and take out some books that have albums of photos from Life magazine. Try to replicate some of the most beautiful or awe inspiring photos you come across and see if you still think it’s not an art form.

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Posted: 27 June 2014 07:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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What Mac said. If you think differently I challenge to come out shooting with me sometime. Hacks get lucky once in a while; artists see the final result before taking the photo.

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Posted: 27 June 2014 07:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ll add that professionals are also experts in post-processing. Just as Ansel Adams heavily manipulated his negatives to produce fine art prints, pros know how to use PhotoShop to enhance the original scene.

I have an excellent example, but compressing it to fit on these forums takes away the impact. I’ll display some small images so you can get the idea. Anyone who wants to see them larger can send me a PM.

Before: Nice photo, but kind of dull. This is where your typical point-and-click user would stop, Cuthbert.

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Posted: 27 June 2014 07:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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After: This is what I felt when I took the photo.

As Guy Clark said, “It’s got to come from the heart if you want it to work.”

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Posted: 27 June 2014 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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What were you saying about black and white? I saw this one before I took the photo and waited for the right moment.

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Posted: 27 June 2014 08:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Just to show you it does not matter whether you start with film or digital, I shot this on medium format slide film, had it drum scanned then converted the image to B&W in PhotoShop. The original color slide was quite dull and lifeless. This shows what I felt when taking the photo.

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Posted: 28 June 2014 01:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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macgyver - 27 June 2014 03:07 PM
CuthbertJ - 26 June 2014 11:27 AM

I’ve always thought the answer was No, it isn’t an art. In the olden days maybe you’d have to master some techniques to actually produce the pictures, but with digital cameras that’s pretty much gone. I’m sorry, but to me it just seems like it’s a matter of point and click. And to make things “artsy” you use black and white, and maybe throw the main subject off center. I’m sure many will disagree, and I’d love to hear your opinions.

There is a lot more to photography than point and shoot. A good photographer has to have and eye for the subject to create an interesting composition that tells a story or Lcreates an emotion. Lighting is so much more complicated than turning on a lamp or using a flash. Lighting is an art I’m itself and a good photographer knows how to use light to make a blah photo into a great photo. It’s also not correct that the transfer to digital has removed a creative element of photography. Post processing of digital photos is far more complex with much more to learn and many more tools and options.

I’ve done photography for almost 40 years. My father was a professional photographer who did a lot of magazine and product photography so as kids we had access to the dark room and learned how to develop our own photos. I do some professional photography ( landscape, cityscape, and droplet photography - http://www.liquidartgallery.com) as a sideline for fun but I am still in awe of the talent of some of the greats who do this as a real profession.

Anyone who thinks photography is not an art just hasn’t spent enough time understanding the subject. Go to a museum or gallery and find some photos that really move you or browse through national geographic or go to a book store and take out some books that have albums of photos from Life magazine. Try to replicate some of the most beautiful or awe inspiring photos you come across and see if you still think it’s not an art form.

As long as you think of photography as point and shoot you will never see it as an art form. It’s as if you were to say that painting is just dabbing paint on a canvas and even kids and chimpanzees can do it (and, of course, they can).

Find a book on photography as art. You’ll find it’s far more than point and shoot.

Try these, Looking at Photographs, by John Szarkowsky and The History of Photography, by Beaumont Newhall, both MoMa books.

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Posted: 28 June 2014 06:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Try doing this with a point and shoot approach

Michael_Melgar_LiquidArt_resize_droplet.jpg

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Posted: 28 June 2014 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Also take look at Darrons photo of the woman. There are elements of that photo that the average point and shoot photographer would not appreciate or think to do but which make it head and shoulders above what an amateur would do. There is the look on the woman’s face and the way she is turned as though someone or something is calling her attention. The way the light lands on her and not the background highlighting the subject. Also the depth of focus that draws attention to the subject who is in sharp focus while the background is blurred.

Those things don’t just happen. They take planning and require an eye for what’s interesting and what makes a photo special

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Posted: 28 June 2014 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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And it’s not just technical skill.  My first wife had little to recommend her, but when we were on vacation she’d take pictures through the old thru-the-lens 35mm camera.  She’d take the film to the local drug store for developing.  Then after looking at the slides she’d have some enlarged.  They were gorgeous, far better than any of my shots.  My photography fits Cuthbert’s definition of not-art, but hers were definitely art.

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Posted: 28 June 2014 06:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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CuthbertJ - 26 June 2014 11:27 AM

I’ve always thought the answer was No, it isn’t an art. In the olden days maybe you’d have to master some techniques to actually produce the pictures, but with digital cameras that’s pretty much gone. I’m sorry, but to me it just seems like it’s a matter of point and click. And to make things “artsy” you use black and white, and maybe throw the main subject off center. I’m sure many will disagree, and I’d love to hear your opinions.

I think photography “can” be art but often isn’t.

Art is not about the subject or the medium, it’s about the human expression of emotion and the human reception of that expression. Sometimes a rose is just a rose and sometimes it’s the freaking Mona Lisa.

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Posted: 29 June 2014 06:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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macgyver - 28 June 2014 06:00 AM

Try doing this with a point and shoot approach…(waterdrop)

That’s just a matter of having the right equipment. High-speed photographic equipment I think it is. There’s even a show on Natl Geo I believe which does nothing but high speed photography and tons of it.  It’s a very cool image, definitely, but not art.

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Posted: 29 June 2014 06:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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DarronS - 27 June 2014 07:33 PM

I’ll add that professionals are also experts in post-processing. Just as Ansel Adams heavily manipulated his negatives to produce fine art prints, pros know how to use PhotoShop to enhance the original scene.

I have an excellent example, but compressing it to fit on these forums takes away the impact. I’ll display some small images so you can get the idea. Anyone who wants to see them larger can send me a PM.

Before: Nice photo, but kind of dull. This is where your typical point-and-click user would stop, Cuthbert.

I would agree that one can get artistic with post-processing. But then you’re out of the realm of pure photography. Now you’re adding something that wasn’t in the original, which starts to become something akin to painting.

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Posted: 29 June 2014 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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CuthbertJ - 29 June 2014 06:26 PM
DarronS - 27 June 2014 07:33 PM

I’ll add that professionals are also experts in post-processing. Just as Ansel Adams heavily manipulated his negatives to produce fine art prints, pros know how to use PhotoShop to enhance the original scene.

I have an excellent example, but compressing it to fit on these forums takes away the impact. I’ll display some small images so you can get the idea. Anyone who wants to see them larger can send me a PM.

Before: Nice photo, but kind of dull. This is where your typical point-and-click user would stop, Cuthbert.

I would agree that one can get artistic with post-processing. But then you’re out of the realm of pure photography. Now you’re adding something that wasn’t in the original, which starts to become something akin to painting.

Then Ansel Adams was a painter, not a photographer.

What I did in the example above enhanced the scene. There is nothing there that was not in the original.

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