Is Photography Art Considered Art?

So you might ask, “I have a smartphone. I always take pictures and upload them to my Instagram. Am I also an artist?” Read this and tell us later.

Have you ever heard of the argument that photography art is not an art? Because there is no need for special gear or any apprenticeship. In fact, since the days of Ansel Adams, there has been a major debate regarding whether or not photographers should be considered visual artists.

However, it is important to note that, just because everyone can shoot does not make everyone a photographer. Drawing an analogy from the aspect of traditional art — just because everyone can draw a single line in the middle of a 8ft x 8ft canvas does not make everyone an artist. Today, we are going to probe the photographers’ inner world by showing how the composition of all the elements is necessary for the idea or story to pass on.

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Wait, what is art?

Almost every definition from websites and dictionaries suggests that art is expression and creation. Artists express their feeling, imagination and emotion through their creation. In this regard, photographers are also artists. Because they are able to manipulate colours, lights and composition to express their thoughts. Not only do they reflect states of the external world, but also reflect the inner state of themselves.

“Art is a doorway from the inner world to the outer, a form of manifestation of the unconsciousness, and a bridge between the divine and human life. The spotlight where emotions are revealed, represented into forms without a precise definition. Through lines, colors, and shapes, artists convey a connotation of beauty.”

Photographer only needs to press a shutter? 

So you might ask, “I have a smartphone. I always take pictures and upload them to my Instagram. Am I also an artist?” Well, it depends.

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Photography involves an exquisite compositional eye and the timing of pushing the camera’s button. Also, the ability to accurately and rapidly create as well as expressly shoot what you see in front of you. All this has to be done over the course of hours, or even seconds, using a variety of tools and techniques.

A sensitivity to light and colour of a photographer is as challenging as a painter. Indeed, through craft and skill, a good photographer can capture the sense of their subject. 

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Different types of photography

Indeed, there are many types of photography art. Amongst others, we have portrait photography, event photography, fine art photography, product photography, fashion photography, travel photography, etc. In this article, we will focus on fine art photography and break it down into details.

Of all of the types of photography, fine art photography is the one with no rules. Fine art photography can be of any subject at all. But landscape and portrait artists are probably the most common. What differentiate fine art photography from others is that fine art images are to capture emotional responses and communicate with the audience.

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1. Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is also known as scenic or environmental photography. It involves taking pictures of a natural scene which is often large and grand. Yet, sometimes they can be smaller and more intimate to bring the viewer into the scene. Landscape photography is one of the most popular types nowadays. Due to its popularity, it is spinning off a few sub-genres such as seascapes and storm photography. With a broader definition, it also includes “urban landscape” photography and manmade scenes.

Visual Photographer | Rizacan Kumas | Art Shop Online
“Feeling The Nature” (2017) by Rizacan Kumas

2. Documentary Photography

Next, documentary photography conveys news or information in their contents. Sometimes, the photos depict a moment so fascinating that it will cause viewers to have an emotional reaction. Undoubtedly, documentary photography tells a story on its own and will go more deeply into people’s heart. In fact, documentary photography can happen anywhere from local news stories to war zones. In the best of cases, documentary photos shed light on important yet little-known events, or celebrate the best examples of humanity for everyone to see. Sometimes, they simply document a place or culture to show other people.

A beautiful story about a documentary photographer who observes and captures images even in the most difficult circumstances. 

3. Abstract Photography

Abstract photography is also known as conceptual, concrete, or experimental photography. It is a genre that often uses color, light, shadow, texture, shape, or form to inspire a feeling, sensation, or impression. This is always done without actually providing a representational image of the object.

“Seeing what is invisible to others is my vision in art.” — Sharaf Alhothi

One of the abstract photographers is Sharaf Alhothi. To him, photography is an art of observation. It is about finding the meaning in an ordinary place. As he wishes to unveil the side of the world that is not otherwise seen by others. His photographs are not depicting any kind of hard reality. Instead, they are images exploring the artist’s inner world. And we have been invited to make connections if and where we can.

Sharaf Alhothi | Visual artist and photographer | Nameless photography art
“Nameless, #04” (2020) by Sharaf Alhothi

Although it is true that photographers often get bored in the place they live and they want to travel as much as possible to get different and more interesting pictures. But to Sharaf, he can always see ordinary things in an extraordinary way.

What does photography art mean to you ?

Recently, we opened to discuss this question “what does photography art mean to you?” on our Instagram story #ArtroomLearning series. It was loaded with massive responses. Here, we summarise the top 9 responses we picked from our followers.

  1. A good practice to train yourself to see things from the bottom of your heart.
  2. Capturing the moments that tell stories.
  3. It is like a time machine that brings me back to that moment.
  4. Photography is an art of observation.
  5. Memory cannot be reproduced but a photograph can do that.
  6. I always look at the photo me and my family took together.
  7. The world stops for a moment when I press the shutter. 
  8. Art of different windows.
  9. I focus on what is beautiful in the world when I take a photograph.

Based on the responses, most of you agree that photography is a time machine that can bring back all the old memories. Hence, we can conclude that while a painter is an artist that holds the brushes to sketch the memory, a photographer is an artist who holds the camera to capture and preserve all the amazing seconds. With them, all the precious moments and people always stay in the photograph with us.

Visual Photographer | Rizacan Kumas | Art Shop Online
“Tired” (2017) by Rizacan Kumas

Is “selfie” considered an art too?

On the other hand, there is another interesting response from one of the followers. That is, “I only like to take selfies”. So a question to you, do you think selfies can be considered as an art piece or self-portrait? Share your idea with us in the comment box below and we can look more deeply into this topic next time.

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After all, if you are able to express your feeling, emotion and imagination through the lens, regardless of the equipment used, you are an artist. 

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Featured Rating
  • Interesting


I like the selfie paragraph hahaha

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