Photography As An Art Form – Capturing The Violence And Fury

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Photography As An Art Form – Capturing The Violence And Fury

Photography as an art form, is my question today. Could the humble artist and photographer be one and the same? Or are photography and art two different animals?

Today’s technology has made photography more accessible and easier than ever before, of course it has.

But at an enthusiast level; at a professional level, ‘easier’ is not necessarily the case. The skillset required of the modern day photographer to produce excellence has mushroomed. Digital has yanked the bar right up for those with cameras and keeping up can be overwhelming at times.

So back to the question, is photography art? Let’s examine the evidence.

 

What’s Art and What’s Not? | Darrin Henry

International Artist Day is celebrated on 25 October each year, and this prompts debate on who exactly may be called an artist. How do you know? What’s art and what’s not?

 “A photograph can’t be art; anyone can take a picture.”

How many photographers have bristled at that comment? Or laughed?

When it comes to the ‘is it art’ debate, I find it useful to look at other examples.

For instance, we can all sing in the shower or belt out ‘happy birthday’ at a party, but the most of us wouldn’t dare call ourselves an ‘artist’ – in the singing sense.

I’ve dabbled with a paint brush, even sketched a few drawings I’m proud of, but would be embarrassed to be called an artist, in the painting/drawing sense.

Practising one of the fine arts

Let’s see what my aged, 1979 Collins dictionary has to say about who can be called an artist:

artskill; human skill as opposed to nature; skill applied to music, painting, poetry, etc.

artist one who practises one of the fine arts, eg, painting, sculpture, etc.; applicable to any craftsman whose work is of high standard.

No mention of photography! Haha. Perhaps that’s what the, ‘etc,’ bit is all about.

 

 

 

This 22 foot tall wall mural of Clint Eastwood’s Josey Wales character was painted by street artist, Chris Keywood, in the town of Clarksdale, Mississippi. Clarksdale is known as the birthplace of the Blues has established itself as a mecca for music enthusiasts across the globe. International Artist Day 2016.

This 22 foot tall wall mural of Clint Eastwood’s Josey Wales character was painted by street artist, Chris Keywood, in the town of Clarksdale, Mississippi. Clarksdale is known as the birthplace of the Blues has established itself as a mecca for music enthusiasts across the globe.

 

Street art in Trafalgar Square, London. This was more short term art, designed for entertainment and to tempt donations from passing tourists, which worked because the work was so stunning. There's something mesmerising about watching an image like this being created right before your eyes with coloured chalks. International Artist Day 2016. Is Photography Art?

Street art in Trafalgar Square, London. This was more short term art, designed for entertainment and to tempt donations from passing tourists, which worked because the work was so stunning. There’s something mesmerising about watching an image like this being created right before your eyes with coloured chalks.
International Artist Day 2016. Is Photography Art?

The Violence And The Fury

Right, let’s leave the old Collin’s dictionary and roll forward a few years – the days of the year website promoting International Artists Day made this statement in 2016:

International Artists Day honors those creative souls that will leave a record of today for the future that can’t be captured in history books. The anguish and joy of the human soul is portrayed through the haunting tones of a melody, the violence and fury caught in a photograph, or the serene gaze of a statue staring off into eternity.”

There you have it folks, it’s official! Photography has a seat at the art table.

 

Classic portraiture art with Latoya. Creating beautiful imagery like this means having precise control over lighting, one of the reasons I always enjoy studio photography. International Artist Day 2016.

Is Photography Art? Classic portraiture art with Latoya. Creating beautiful imagery like this means having precise control over lighting, one of the reasons I always enjoy studio photography.
International Artist Day 2016.

 

Influence and Inspiration

Of course, the art world doesn’t live in neat little boxes, rather, the different forms and disciplines are constantly overlapping.

Paintings, drawings, photographs, music, poems, sculptures, graffiti…  one is constantly influencing and drawing inspiration from the other.

Distinguishing between what is and isn’t ‘art’ is often down to quality and craftsmanship behind the final product. Creative work produced at a high quality, tends to automatically, be more widely appreciated and thus, acknowledged as art.

Styles Of Photography As An Art Form

Photography, of course, has many styles; many disciplines. So which style of photography, is art?

Fine Art photography sounds obvious.

Classic portraiture that captures a mystical mood and stirs emotions in the viewer – that must be art, right?

But then if I think about it, interior and real estate photography is a bit of an art form. Capturing a sense of warmth of a room, showing off lines of architecture, managing light in cavernous spaces; it’s painstaking work and a lot harder than the glossy brochures suggest.

 

Interior photography requires endless patience and attention to detail. Using natural light indoor means setting up a tripod for most shots which is a tedious process. It is very easy to underestimate the skill involved in creating warm, natural images of living spaces. Definitely an art to this. International Artist Day 2016.

Is Photography Art? Interior photography requires endless patience and attention to detail. Using natural light indoor means setting up a tripod for most shots which is a tedious process. It is very easy to underestimate the skill involved in creating warm, natural images of living spaces. Definitely an art to this.
International Artist Day 2016.

 

Good Instincts

If I think about it a little more, street photography must also be an art form. Many photographers get the cold sweats at the thought of street photography, approaching complete strangers and trying to capture intimate images that don’t look like cheesy snaps.

Photo-journalism I’m convinced is an art form. Sensing the mood of an event, instinctively knowing to be on the other side of the road, or behind a crowd instead of in front; Recognising how changing camera position could tell the complete story in one frame. Good photo-journalists can often identify an otherwise ordinary shot where the historic value won’t mature until a few years later.

Again, it would seem when photography (like painting) is used as the tool to purposely create an image, it is more likely to take on artistic value.

 

Soft Re-Touch Of The Digital Artist

While the age-old principles of photography (light, composition and camera handling) are as important as ever, the 21st century photographer must also contend with computerised post production. Re-touching or digital editing, is a whole new skillset on its own.

Photoshop has become the weapon of choice which we all need to know, but the vast array of post-production options on a computer is endless. Rarely if ever, now, is an in-camera shot sufficient.

Digital enhancing, manipulation and correction is an art form in itself. In fact, there are specialist re-touchers who ply their services to photographers that choose to outsource this vital work.

Modelling headshots are retouched.

Digital software has also enabled amazing techniques of photo-stacking and blending.

 

Is Photography Art? What Do History Books Say?

Really, all styles of photography could be interpreted as an art form, particularly when crafted at a high quality and the final pictures convey mood and tension and purpose.

Anyway, that’s my two pence worth in support of photography as an art form.

Both Sharon and I have a great appreciation for art in all its formats, all its shapes and sizes and especially for the artists whose passions lie behind it.

On International Artist Day this post celebrates and pays tribute to just a few of those creative souls we’ve encountered along the way who are recording today for the future, in unique and creative ways that history books can never do.

Not your everyday hammer and chisel sculpture this! The 50 tonne Flamingo sculpture, made of steel, in the city of Chicago, USA. This 53 ft attention grabber was created by American artist Alexander Calder. One of the things to definitely look out for if you have a day in Chicago. International Artist Day 2016.

Not your everyday hammer and chisel sculpture, this! The 50 tonne Flamingo sculpture, made of steel, in the city of Chicago, USA. This 53 ft attention grabber was created by American artist Alexander Calder. One of the things to definitely look out for if you have a day in Chicago.
International Artist Day 2016.

 

The Tangled Webb Gallery in St Helena Bay, South Africa, is full of beautiful art by the lovely Diane Webb. She specialises in mixed media; combining acrylic paints, charcoal, shells, sand, African beads, dried foliage and any other materials that take her fancy, to create specific textures. Follow the link for more.

 

Another important artist I must not forget! Photoshoots are 10 times better when you have a make-up artist to work with. Here we are with Carly who is holding very still while Sharon creates a butterfly beauty shoot look. International Artist Day 2016.

Another important artist I must not forget! Photoshoots are 10 times better when you have a make-up artist to work with. Here we are with Carly who is holding very still while Sharon creates a butterfly beauty shoot look.
International Artist Day 2016.

 

This butterfly beauty shoot was all about Sharon's creative talents as a make-up artist. Photoshoots are 10 times better when you have a make-up artist to work with. It's also helpful having a great model like Carly to carry off the look. International Artist Day 2016.

This butterfly beauty shoot was all about Sharon’s creative talents as a make-up artist. Photoshoots are 10 times better when you have a make-up artist to work with. It’s also helpful having a great model like Carly to carry off the look.
International Artist Day 2016.

 

This was a collaboration of art styles - body painting, modelling, acting and photography. The artist with the brush was Sarah, the model and canvas was Nerea. International Artist Day 2016.

This was a collaboration of art styles – body painting, modelling, acting and photography. The artist with the brush was Sarah, the model and canvas was Nerea.
International Artist Day 2016.

 

The city of Toronto, Canada, has embraced the culture of graffiti, a move that has boosted the city’s tourism industry. There are many graffiti walking tours available that will set you back around $30. People actually visit Toronto just to admire the graffiti and the city also hosts street art festivals. International Artist Day 2016.

The city of Toronto, Canada, has embraced the culture of graffiti, a move that has boosted the city’s tourism industry. There are many graffiti walking tours available that will set you back around $30. People actually visit Toronto just to admire the graffiti and the city also hosts street art festivals.
International Artist Day 2016.

 

Absolutely a brilliant photographer and artist - the Red Gun, art nude photography of Wisamunmuang Sitthiket. The hypnotic obscenity of the naked lady boy images drew in plenty of visitors at Bangkok's, Chatuchak Weekend Market. Provocative images with cutting political titles, presented by the artist himself. International Artist Day 2016.

Is Photography Art? Without doubt when you see this man’s work. Absolutely a brilliant photographer and artist – the Red Gun, art nude photography of Wisamunmuang Sitthiket. The hypnotic obscenity of the naked lady boy images drew in plenty of visitors at Bangkok’s, Chatuchak Weekend Market. Provocative images with cutting political titles, presented by the artist himself.

 

A rap artist, putting on a show in Centennial Park, Atlanta, Georgia. This singer wrote all his own songs, all with a religious theme. Very talented and enjoyable to watch. International Artist Day 2016.

A rap artist, putting on a show in Centennial Park, Atlanta, Georgia. This singer wrote all his own songs, all with a religious theme. Very talented and enjoyable to watch.
International Artist Day 2016.

 

The Riverfront Murals programme in Vicksburg, Mississippi, was undertaken by a team of artists, led by Robert Dafford, from Louisiana. The project took seven years and was completed in 2009. Each of the murals include information plaques describing the picture stories of life up and down the river. International Artist Day 2016.

The Riverfront Murals programme in Vicksburg, Mississippi, was undertaken by a team of artists, led by Robert Dafford, from Louisiana. The project took seven years and was completed in 2009. Each of the murals include information plaques describing the picture stories of life up and down the river.
International Artist Day 2016.

 

This young Cambodian man was making intricate souvenirs from leather hide, cutting the shapes and decorating by punching out holes. There were loads of sounvenir sellers near this particular temple, however, they didn't seem too pleased as the tourists were all drawn to the work by this artist who made plenty of sales. International Artist Day 2016.

This young Cambodian man was making intricate souvenirs from leather hide, cutting the shapes and decorating by punching out holes. There were loads of sounvenir sellers near this particular temple, however, they didn’t seem too pleased as the tourists were all drawn to the work by this artist who made plenty of sales.
International Artist Day 2016.

 

A history lesson through art, 'Ghost Signs' in the USA are advertising signage left behind by businesses, who in some cases have ‘given up the ghost.’ Hand painted more than 50 years ago, each of these murals have their own fascinating little story. International Artist Day 2016.

A history lesson through art, ‘Ghost Signs’ in the USA are advertising signage left behind by businesses, who in some cases have ‘given up the ghost.’ Hand painted more than 50 years ago, each of these murals have their own fascinating little story.
International Artist Day 2016.

 

Yet another form of artwork - handmade quilt at the Bann Tong Luang, eco-agricultural village in Thailand. A work of art by these talented ladies. International Artist Day 2016.

Yet another form of artwork – handmade quilt at the Bann Tong Luang, eco-agricultural village in Thailand. A work of art by these talented ladies.
International Artist Day 2016.

 

By |2019-03-28T20:37:20+00:00October 25th, 2016|Amazing People, Culture|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Samir Dave October 25, 2016 at 6:50 am - Reply

    The thing with art is that anyone can make anything and call it their artistic version of something. While, I for one, don’t believe that you need to be schooled in order to create art, BUT for it to be aesthetically pleasing, it does need to follow certain conventions.

    • Saints October 25, 2016 at 12:17 pm - Reply

      Totally agree with you Samir. Formal training is one thing but you can’t actually deny natural talent which always shines through. Thanks for the comment 🙂

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