Photography has been my hobby ever since I got a hold of my very first camera, a Kodak C310. I think that was the start of the exponential advancement in the technology of digital cameras. After that, I received a Canon DIGITAL IXUS 80 IS. Since then I have taken a lot of photographs, and my dream was to have a DSLR of my own. Now I have a DSLR and it was like a dream come true when I took my first shot with it.
During those old times, I did not think of myself as a pro. Even until now, I am not taking photographs thinking that I’m a pro with my DSLR hanging around my neck. I just take photos because I love photography.
Everything’s all and well until I had this very odd encounter with a friend. I was enjoying myself photowalking when I bumped into one of my friends. I let him borrow my camera. He pointed the camera on the streets and then pressed the shutter. We looked at the photo. Then he said,
“Wow! Even I can become a pro with this…”
I was surprised actually. Then I began to ask myself these questions:
1. Is Photography Really that Simple?
This photo was taken a few days ago using Canon EOS 1000D and that pretty girl is my “Iyaan” (this is our endearment). I uploaded it on Facebook and friends started commenting. Most of the comments are really flattering, but there are also comments that are quite saddening, really.
“mao…!!!!mupalit ko ana na cam pra tanang maot mugwapa..!!!aw….peace..!!!!hehehe….”
The exact English translation would be,
“correct…!!!! I will buy the same camera so that everything that’s ugly will come out beautiful..!!!”
That’s when I thought that maybe photography has become really, really easy.
With today’s technology, everything’s available to the public. The significant boom in digital cameras makes photography as simple as point and shoot.
2. Is there even Art in Photography?
Image by: Colin Brough
In seeking answers to my questions, I learned that there has been a lot of debate not just about whether or not the art of photography is dying, but if we can even consider photography an art?
There has been a lot of treatises on whether it is or it isn’t. To the opposing side, the primary objection is that taking a picture of something does not create art. The mechanical process handles all the work – can a photographer capturing the image of something which is already present be considered ART?
Well, according to Tolstoy, which I know many of you guys know,
“Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously by means of certain signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that others are infected by those feelings and experience them.”
From that definition of art. There is no doubt for me that Photography is ART.
This brings us to my next question.
3. What makes Photography an Art?
Image by: purple21
I wanted to define art for the sake of the discussion but it would just lead to a much wider debate. So let me just quote William Faulkner.
“The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.”
No other words can define photography any better than this. So, what makes photography an art?
Photography shows the Photographer’s Vision
It is true that when we look at a photograph, we are looking at a scene that already existed in this world and that’s just a mere image recorded. But definitely that’s not all. We are also looking at how the Photographer viewed the scenery and how the photographer chose to capture and present it to make it his art.
It makes a Statement
A beautiful, expressive face; a transient moment in nature; the aloofness of a splendid cliff; the warmth of fire; the coldness of ice; the passion and love of a mother for her child; the sorrow of an old man mourning at his wife’s grave…a photograph is life distilled and preserved for eternity. Sometimes, a photograph is just a very ordinary scene in the real world but a photographer can capture that scene in a such a way that it makes a statement. Let’s take for example street photography, a picture of a little kid so innocent and so pure. The scenery alone is very ordinary in the real world, but the innocence of that kid can be captured and preserved for eternity, and the image has the power to move the audience.
Photography “infects” the Audience
A photograph delivers a message, an emotion, a feeling, in a way no words can. A sense of beauty and magnificence of life, nature, and experiences of mankind. Through photography, these messages contained in a photograph have the ability to grab and “infect” the viewer with the idea the photographer wanted to convey.
This is just my humble opinion and I might be able to make some of you think of photography as a true form of art. Actually, I can’t think of reasons why photography is NOT an art so I did my research and I found this one site that says “10 Reasons Why Photography Sucks and Isn’t an Art Form“.
The author made some strong points and I agree with some of his points, but I will leave it to you. If you want, you can even bring the discussion here and we’ll start our own little debate (thrilled!).
Art or Not, photography has made its way to the mainstream and along with it some allies and also some naysayers. With the advent of “reasonably priced” digital photography, here’s my next question:
4. Where does Photography stand today?
Image by: Pam Roth
When I was a kid, I remember having a neighbor named “Julian”, pronounced as “Hulyan”. In our little town, I remember him being the star photographer. His camera at that time was one of those cameras that uses traditional film. He was there when I graduated grade school. A few years later, he’s nowhere to be found.
While writing this post, I think I know why Julian disappeared. People no longer pay for him to take pictures. Five years ago, moms are already running around with their digital cameras to take their kids’ graduation pictures. Mr. Julian got put out of business.
It also made me think how many professional photographers must have gone out of business because of the ever-changing world of photography. Not just film photographers but also the pioneers of digital photography can have a tough time when it comes to making a living out of photography.
5. Is the art of photography REALLY dying?
Image by: ilker .
With the exponential growth of technology in the photography industry, many professional photographers are worried about how easy photography is these days. Plus with the help of Photoshop, their concern is that someone with a half decent camera can put their camera on AUTO and just shoot without thinking about the meaning behind each shot.
Thus the debate, is the art of photography really dying?
Well I think that, while a lot of photographers are worried about losing their business, or that the professional side of photography is not as respected as it once was because almost anybody can call themselves pro, it really doesn’t concern photography as an art.
Professional or not, getting paid or not, photography is for everybody, just as art is. The important thing is to successfully communicate to the audience the passion and emotion the photographer felt when they pressed the shutter.
My 5 Most Favorite Photographs/Photographers
A very inspiring photo taken by Joe Rosenthal on Feb. 23, 1945. This is one of my favorite photographs. An ultimate symbol of patriotism and valor.
Shooting the world’s sacred sites using film, Richard Murai’s photos teaches us that becoming sensitive to unfamiliar cultures can encourage tolerance and compassion.
Utterly stunning, this photograph showcases the beauty and magnificence of nature and you get the feeling of satisfaction and life itself.
Photographer Mark J. Harlow spent six days with these magnificent creatures. They look like kids trying to get their parents attention.
Really who can understand your shots better than yourself. In this photo I wanted to let my audience know the beauty of the tropical islands of the Philippines!
Now that you’ve finished reading my top 5 favorites in the photography world, let me tell you guys that one photo there dates back to 1945, one photographer prefers film photography, and all of them depict beauty and magnificence. Really, the art of photography is not defined by time, people, and medium. It may change and evolve, but it certainly won’t die.
This is just my humble view with regards to photography. I’m sure a lot of you guys also have a lot in mind regarding this topic. I said everything in my heart and on my mind, now it’s your turn. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas. That’s art.
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