Photography as Art

There are many occasions in which the properties of photography as art has been questioned; one of the main arguments is that photography is just the representation of a reality with the use of modern technology; this argument can be easily contended; the “camera is to the photographer as the brush is to the painter”. The camera is the instrument used by the photographer to produce a visual object, to express their own personal vision about a reality that is tangible to each one of us; now, this does not mean that all photos can be considered art; in fact only a very small percentage of the million of photographs taken each day can be considered a truly work of art.

 A photograph is not art when it just tries to justify or state a reality without expressing any emotional feeling; commercial photography is a good example; they are created to sell, even when they try to put across an idea, the main objective is to sell.

 Each one of us has the ability to draw, even children are able to produce a drawing or painting but only very few of us is talented enough to see their work in a museum; the same thing can be said about a photographer; everyone can take photos, even monkeys but only very few of us can see our photographs in a Gallery.


Prague by Petr NiklCredit: Petr Nikl

The main objective of this article is to debate about the different opinions from an objective point of view; not to justify the artistic value of photography; this is why both, positive and negative opinions has been gathered and reflected in this article.


Arguments in favour of Photography as Art

  • A photograph is an exact representation of what the photographer is trying to communicate; a good photographer with a camera set in black and white or sepia taking a picture of two grandparents sitting on a bench in a park, can transmit  a different set of feelings to each one of us: nostalgia, happiness, sadness because you have lost one of yours; the fact that it has been able to move you, is what it makes a photography a piece of art and it can only be achieved with the sensibility of the artist.


  •  When a painter showcase his work; subjectivity plays an important role in what the public sees; this also applies with a photograph, a sculpture or a drawing.


  •  The camera is the medium used to produce a photo; however is the person in charge of the camera and his or her own expertise in the use of this medium, light, angle and composition responsible for producing just a normal photo or a work of art.
Fiore "Artistic Photograph" taken by DamansCredit: Daniele Mansueto (Damans)


Arguments against of Photography as Art

  • The camera is the main protagonist of a good or bad photograph; the photographer is just a technician in charge on the camera.
  •  Anyone is able to take a photo; photographers have less creativity than proper artists; even than artisans.
  •  A painter represents his ideas on a blank canvas; a photographer depends on a reality (an external reality); it does not depend on what he thinks or want to express; it depends on what is happening in his environment.
Grass People by Woo Yuen FooCredit: Woo Yuen Foo

Considering photography as art will always be a controversial discussion; many people consider it as a science or technique, including many photographers; others consider it as art; there will be different opinions and they should all be listened and respected.

Whitworth Art Gallery(50777)Credit: Daniel M Ramirez


Photography as art does not really depend on the camera you use or the photographer as such but in the impact it causes; and even when we are not able to answer the original question: Can Photography be Considered Art? it seems that with the use or smartphones and Instagram anyone can be an artist; probably this is the reflection of people's appreciation to what really moves them and find attractive; or simply the evolution of art and photography.


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