My assignment: write a three page paper explaining why I believe photography is or is not a form of art. I posted this question on twitter but as some of you know, you can't really have a discussion on a site that only allows 140 characteristics. So, here I am.
Art: "Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression..."
Visual Art: "The visual arts are art forms that focus on the creation of works which are primarily visual in nature, such as drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, and filmmaking."
Photography: "Photography is the process, activity and art of creating still or moving pictures by recording radiation on a sensitive medium, such as a film, or an electronic sensor."
Twitter responses: "Digital, no. film, usually. some say the camera doesn't lie, but that isn't the truth. digital manipulation, yes. darkroom, yes."
"In my book, yes, photography=art. It uses specific means to reveal the world via the artists' unique eyes/perspective. Dorky?" No, you're not dorky!
Text message response: "I think it's an art because the artist let's the person know what they are feeling through their eyes."
Appeals to the senses or emotions? Feelings? Is it the photographer who has the power to actually do that? When another human being looks at a photograph, they determine if it is worth a two second scan or $150,000...they determine if they allow a photograph to stir up feelings, to make them contemplate, to make them question, to make them laugh, cry, want to be there, they in turn take a photograph and manipulate it to how they want to see it. What is really the art
of it? A photographer capturing and freezing a moment that might be beautifully lit, slightly awkward, allows you to see the vulnerability of another human or a landscape, an innocence that normally one would pass by, or is the photographer being selfish and only presenting what they choose, in turn cheating the world out of other points of view? Maybe the art of it all has nothing to do with the one snapping the photograph. Maybe the art of it is ones ability to recognize there is something there...but a photograph can symbolize anything to anyone depending on their emotional state, where they have been, what they have seen, what they haven’t seen.
Manipulation? Anything can be manipulated. A painting, a sculpture, words, love...if manipulating something means it's not art...then why stop at photography? Maybe some photographs need to be manipulated to be stronger, to get their point across, to evoke rage, happiness, in a person. Is there art is manipulating something so perfectly the person viewing it doesn't even know they are being manipulated? That in itself could be art.
I was walking in San Francisco once and stopped to look at a painting. I made the comment that I could've done that...I was told, "but you didn't." It was that simple. That painting was so simplistic that I couldn't even wrap my head around it...what was I suppose to see? Maybe I saw nothing because I didn't want to see anything. Someone probably purchased that painting for a few thousands dollars and I would've just as easily pissed on it.
Is photography an art form?