Photography embraces various aspects of Art, which affirms that it is a form of Art. Artworks virtually develop their ideas through photography. It is apparent that photography employs high levels of Artistic elements and expertise. Furthermore, photograph conforms to the philosophical definitions of the art proposed by popular philosophers such as Socrates, Tolstoy, Wilde and Plato among others. The paper analyzes the concept of photography in line with the argument that photography is an Art.
The philosophical beliefs argued by popular philosophers such as Socrates, Tolstoy and Wilde firm that photography is an Art. Socrates argued that Art is essentially an imitation of the original work. In view of Socrates argument, photography may be considered as ruinous because it is essentially an imitation, but not the actual object (Kentridge and Peter 38). This means that in Socratic view, photography is an Art because it presents an image of an object.
Furthermore, Tolstoy and Wilde’s views accredit photography as a form of Art. Tolstoy proposed that Art is associated with emotions because the person viewing the Art establishes a relationship with the producer that they both become united. Their common sentiments and different emotions in relation to the presented Artwork unite them (Irvin 86). In particular, artistic works with the potential of infecting the feeling that the author felt into the spectators can be regarded as Art. The interpretation of this argument is that photography is an Art in situations where the photographer has emotions that he/she wants to transfer to the viewer through photography. In Tolstoy’s perspective, photography is not different from other forms of Art because the photographer’s aim does not include just producing an image of the actual object, but delivering a message through the image captured (Kentridge and Peter 27). This means that photography is Art in situations where the photographer aim is to use his or her picture as an Artistic piece. According to Tolstoy, Art captures the emotions. Through photography, the viewer can establish a relationship with the photographer. The viewer will establish common emotions with the photographer if they relate to the situation captured in a photograph (Irvin 86). This aspect aligns with the philosophical view of understanding art that argues that artistic pieces have the ability of creating emotional connections. Through triggering emotion, a photograph unites the photographer and the viewer. The ability to transfer emotions through a photograph, from the photographer to a viewer makes photography an art (Dargis 3).
Wilde believed that Art should not imitate fact; however, it needs to create a fiction in the form of fact. Wilde’s view may appear controversial but it is also endorsing photography as an Art (Irvin 86). This is in consideration that, some photographic pieces are presented in a unique manner that they are able to “lie” about the actual elements of nature thus, creating an abstraction in the form of fact. Particularly, an in-depth evaluation of photography would mainly reveal a picture not as a mere image, but a tactically designed piece that creates a fiction in the form of fact (Kentridge and Peter 47).
Photography mainly creates memories and decorations, the similar role assumed by Art. These memories and decorations aim at reminding people of milestones they reached in life. Photography highlights memories of the iconic experiences that happen in people’s lives. In this context, photography plays assume a similar role as an art in terms of keeping people updated on their past lives and future expectations (Irvin 86). Through photography, one can recollect on the good things experienced in life. For example, individuals can recollect of earlier experience through photography. Furthermore, one can draw upon people he or she has interacted with over time. Photography archives history because one can take photographs with people he or she interacted with and keep them for future reference. In this context, photography merits as an Art.
Photography also embraces elements that characterize other forms of Art such as paintings and sculptures. Photography presents similar characteristics to these common forms of art. For example, a painting illustrates an image, which challenges the viewer to deduce the intended message (Miller, 21). Similarly, photography does not just capture images randomly. The photographer captures images with the intention of passing a message. The photographer may capture an image and distribute it to advocate for a certain idea. The fact that photography conveys a message just like other forms of art makes it an art (Dargis 2).
Similar to other forms of art, photography creates visual images. This does not mean that all visual works are art. However, the fact that the image created through photography can be manipulated makes it an art. A person can change the color and tints in a photograph to manipulate the image, making it suit the intended situation (Miller, 21). Artistic works are subject to manipulation to serve diverse purposes. A person can edit a photograph and make the light dim or brighter. The aspect of changing photography to develop new meaning makes it an art. The aspect of manipulating a captured image does not translate altering the artistic form of a photograph. This is because the newly developed work maintains some elements of the object or remains an image of the original object despite the level of manipulation (Kentridge and Peter 78).
According to Plato, Art should present a rational manner of thinking. This suggests that Art should present ideas in their natural form. This is apparent in the photography since it presents a copy of the original situation (Kentridge, and Peter, 7). Photography should provide a chance for the viewers to have an unguided interpretation of the images captured in a photograph. Based on Plato’s suggestion, photography conforms to the definition of the art because images do not appear in a pre-interpreted condition. The viewers of the photograph have the opportunity to analyze a photograph and derive their interpretation. The artists involved in photography understand that the viewer needs a chance to interpret images from their perspective. Furthermore, viewers can make their interpretation of the images presented by photography (Dargis 4).
In view of the inspiration of early photography in the development of artistic works, photography can be referred as art. Pioneers in the field of photography received inspiration from paintings. The pioneers in photography viewed paintings to develop a scope presenting their works in a more organized manner. The used the idea of painting in designing technology that could capture images for presenting their intended message. The pioneers used the paintings to design a catalogue, which guided photography (Miller, 21). For example, Henry Fox and Louis Daguerre took the first photo of a person after viewing paintings. Initially, the pioneers in photography did not know what kind of images they would capture. However, after the two pioneers considered the images presented through other forms of art, they approached photography as an art. The fact that photography traces its reference on paintings affirms that it is an art. This argument credits photography as at art by acknowledging that it uses the concepts used in other forms (Corliss 3).
Art inspires the preservation of memories, the attribute that characterize photography. Photography presents artistic works, which may convey important historical events. Photography captures the problem as seen by the photographer archiving it for the future generations. Besides, the message carried to the future generation is not fixed because photography can be interpreted in diverse ways. The viewer is not compelled to assume the perspective of the photographer (Kentridge, and Peter, 3). A photograph only acts as a reference point, from which individuals can reflect upon and create different interpretations. This means that photography gives an account that probes thinking. This is a prominent attribute of art. Art provides a forum where the artist and viewer may hold different opinions regarding an expression. Furthermore, photography provides a chance for immortalizing actions. Photograph does not just preserve memories through capturing images. In contrast, photography also immortalizes actions. Once an action has been captured as a photograph, this action cannot undergo any form of change (Kentridge, and Peter, 4). This particular action assumes its initial form for eternity. Art ensures the continuity of actions. In similar context, photography ensures the continuity of action through immortalizing an action. It means that photography preserves time and inspires history. The process of inspiring history involves creativity. The aspect of creativity in photography provides a chance for photographers to conduct experiments. Through such experiments, a photographer can develop their ideas further. Essentially, one can develop new concepts or artistic works by referring to a photograph that was captured earlier (Corliss 1).
The motivation or decision that prompts the creation of a photograph affirms that photography is an art. A photograph holds artistic features. The photographer makes analogous decisions to take a photograph (Miller, 21). The decision to take a photograph is triggered by some factors. The aspects that inspire a photographer to capture an image are similar to those that inspire a painter to design a painting. In the same way, photographers only capture images once they get some inspiration. In essence, each captured image is aimed at accomplishing some objectives. A painter may want to highlight a particular pattern using a piece of canvas and painting brush. In a similar way, the photographer uses a camera and recording medium to present an image. Any form of art needs to have defined tools of work (Miller, 21). A painter uses a defined a tool, which is paint in developing a painting. Similarly, photography has defined tools of work since a photographer cannot capture images without the use of a camera.
The film Tim’s Vermeer presents the mystery of a Dutch master who managed to paint a photo-realistic piece long before the art of photography developed. The painter managed to present the painting in a way that seemed too advanced at the time. The film highlights a Vermeer’s camera, a tool that helped the early Dutch master to paint photo-realistic images. The Vermeer’s camera served as an inspiration to design a camera (Tim's Vermeer). According to Tim`s Vermeer, Photography developed from painting which is an acknowledged form of art. Tim's Vermeer “claims that the instruments used in the art are similar to the ones used in photography (Corliss 1). The documentary provides a detailed account of photography and other forms of the Art. For example, Tim highlights that the camera and an empty canvas resemble each other because they both act as covers for the main elements used in photography and painting respectively. The light illuminates the image and signifies that the image will appear on production of the final photograph. According to "Tim's Vermeer, “the same role in the art falls on the painting brushes; thus, they resemble each other (Corliss 1).
Art refers to a presentation of human creativity. Photography presents human creativity through the expression of ideas. It also presents human creativity through the different interpretations assigned to different images. Photography is an art because it uses unique tools to present images and communicate vital concepts. Photography offers a forum for the preservation of memories similar to paintings (Dargis 3). Furthermore, through photography, actions become immortalized. The discussed aspects that are in line with the philosophical definitions of the art assert that photography is an art.
Dargis, Manohla. "Dutch Masterwork, Under Reconstruction." The New York Times. The New York Times, 30 Jan. 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/31/movies/tims-vermeer-chronicles-an-attempt-to-make-one.html?_r=0>.
Irvin, Sherri. "Artwork and Document in the Photography of Louise Lawler."Journal of Aesthetics & Art Criticism 70.1 (2012): 79-90.
Kentridge, William, and Peter Galison. The refusal of time = Die Ablehnung der Zeit. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2011. Print.
Miller, James H. "The Stories of Art. (Art, Architecture & Photography)(Book review)."Publishers Weekly.2013: 21.
Corliss, Richard. "Tim's Vermeer: Unlocking an Old Master's Mystery." Time.Com (2014)1.
Tim's Vermeer. Dir. Teller Teller. Perf. Tim Jenison. Sony Classic Pictures, 2014. HD-DVD.