Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall

Photography is an ‘Art form’

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Controversial title, I know.

To start the discussion, lets define some terms. I think we can agree on the definition of photography – using a camera to make an image.

Art – I am going to state for the sake of this discussion that ‘Art’ is any human endeavour which seeks to convey feeling through the visual and auditory senses. Some classic forms of art include: Dancing, acting, painting, music, sculpture.

Now some forms of ‘Art’ I would consider to be more arty than others. For example, dance is the highest form because it involves the whole body and the result is ephemeral, as soon as the dancing has stopped the art can no longer be enjoyed.

Music is similar. you may think that we can enjoy the music of Jimi Hendrix today or watch a video of Fred Astaire, but I would argue that you are actually appreciating another art form such as film-making or music recording and that what you experience is actually an interpretative reproduction of the original art form.

Photography could be described as the lowest art form because the results are long lasting and the physical effort minimal, or it could be described as the highest because of the power of internet media, we are able to convey that ‘feeling’ to millions of people over a long stretch of time.

Then there is the interesting topic of photos taken by animals. The interesting case of photographer, David Slater who claimed that a monkey borrowed his unattended camera and snapped this shot of himself.
Monkey self portrait

There is a huge argument over copyright issues. The person who takes the shot normally holds the copyright but as this was no person, the image should be regarded as being in the public domain.

My point is whether this can be classed as art? There is a conveyance of feeling, yet there is no ‘human’ involvement (other than design, manufacture and abandonment of a camera).

… and finally…

“…most of photography is not intended as art and should not be judges as such. But if art is intended, compromise must not be tolerated.”

Ansel Adams
… discuss.




Suburban Northern Lights
Reykjavik suburbs Northern Lights

I advise photographers to get out of the city and away from the city lights to get the best northern lights photographs….