Photography as Art

Ah. One of those never ending debates: Is photography art? If so, when?


I like photography. In fact, I recently bought a film camera that I’m having a lot of fun with even though I’d previously only used a point and shoot. I like it because my favorite part of art is the composition. I’m slowly learning all the technical aspects, but even with very sketchy knowledge of them I can usually get a photograph I’m pretty happy with if I pay a little attention to the composition.

As for whether or not it’s art, well I think it usually is. I allow a pretty broad definition of art: if at least one person considers it art then it is. I think it’s related to my view on creativity. Things can be creative on a personal level, such as being inspired to try something in cooking that is new to you even though surely thousands of people have tried it before or they can be creative on a much bigger level, such as coming up with a new recipe that’s so popular it eventually becomes the national dish of your country. The same should apply to art, which is almost always a creative process. I think the only photographs I wouldn’t consider art on at least some level are photos that are taken solely to convey information, such as a photo for a listing on ebay or this photo of my cat that I took just to show my friends what she was doing:

Cat sitting behind laptop

And since I feel like I don’t share enough visuals on this blog, here are my 5 favorite photos from my quick shoot today. I was just shooting in auto as part of an assignment for a course I’m taking.


What do you think? Has anybody ever told you that something you do wasn’t art when you thought it was?

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6 Replies to “Photography as Art”

  1. My favorite is the dandelion photo. I love photography. I’d call it an art. I like seeing the amazing pictures people have taken. I take a lot of pictures, but most I wouldn’t classify as art. A lot of them are just pictures of my kids and they’re pictures for memories.

    I’ve never had someone tell me an art that I’m serious about isn’t an art. But then I don’t seriously do that many artistic things, so I guess I’ve never opened myself up to those kind of comments.

    • I think that’s my favorite too. So much texture! Photographs are great for memories. Every once in a while I get nostalgic and pull out my childhood photos to look through. I don’t have very many after elementary school because I became camera shy!

  2. I love the water photo–is it a river? The ocean?

    One of the classes I took in college was Intro to Photography; I needed it for an art credit and really enjoyed the class. So I’d definitely say it counts as art. Though I guess it’s a subjective thing; there are definitely art pieces that have been lauded which I just don’t understand as being art.

    As for having something I do be accused of not being art… I haven’t run into that so far, but most of my creative power goes into writing

    • Thanks! It’s the river just outside my house.

      I had some decent wider shots of it, but I couldn’t quite reach out far enough to get my shot clear of foliage in the foreground without wading into the water, and I don’t like to edit my photos after I take them. I know a lot of people love the editing, whether to clean it up or for different effects, but for me I prefer trying to get the best photo I can straight out of the camera, MAYBE with some cropping if I have to.

      It sounds like nobody’s been put down about their art not being art so far. Glad to hear it! We should be encouraging art in any form. 🙂

  3. Definitely an art! Especially cat pictures 😀

    I think it depends if you want it to be art or not. Most people’s holiday/kid/pet shots aren’t really art and aren’t intended to be – the kind of snaps you see on facebook etc.

    But there is real skill to getting a great shot.

    • Hahaha. “Kitty look at the camera. No no don’t look away! Oh, come on I just want a nice picture! Where are you going????”

      I think intent is definitely a factor. I think that’s partly what I meant for it needing to be more than informational. Information in this case meaning “this is what’s been going on in my life.”

      But somebody can take a terrible photo and if it was meant to be art, maybe it is. Just not very good art. But that’s fine too. They’re learning. 🙂