"To perceive is to suffer." - Aristotle

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Painting the Film

I've had this theory for a while that I've been meaning to share. Considering photography to be an art form has long been debated. I have my own view on this as all do. Personally, I am a photographer, I am a creative and artistic individual. First to dive in to this discussion we must first come to common ground on what "art" is. Merriam-Webster's first definition of art is as follows, and I quote, "skill acquired by experience, study, or observation". Dictionary.com's first definition is as follows "the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance." By these definitions there is no argument that photography can be called art. It also can be called just that, photography. Though it depends on the photographer and his shots. It really is a matter of opinion. I must say though, I have seen many beautiful shots from a camera. Dare I say more beautiful than some famous paintings, which no one dares to say painting is no art form. Some may say, though, photography can be considered art, sure, a lazy man's art. A machine does the work for you! I have a further argument though. Just the way a painter composes his painting, a photographer composes his shot. The only difference? A painter makes the composition from scratch, a photographer has to work with what he is given and make it beautiful. He arranges what he is given in front of him and works himself around that to compose a beautiful shot. Is that easier than placing subjects on the canvas exactly where you want them? It's just different. A painter is a specific type of person, just as a writer is. We are all creative individuals, we simply work with our creative tendencies in different ways, different mediums. Is painting hard work? Sure it is! It takes a lot of hard work, whether mixing colors to perfection, or emulating the real world through paint, it most certainly is work. I argue though, that photography is not easier. Sure you have a device that "paints" for you, but arranging the elements in the shot is the difficult part. Yes anyone can take a picture. But that's what separates an artistic photographer from just any one clicking a camera. Remember our definitions? If someone studies photography, with the goal of producing aesthetically pleasing photographs, it in effect becomes art. When forced not to create on canvas something aesthetically pleasing, but arrange elements in front of you photography becomes work. It becomes art.

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