10 Reasons Why Photography Sucks and Isn’t an Art Form

The wishing well

2009-12-20 Update: This article is #1 in Google for “photography sucks,” so I see why it gets so many comments. Don’t take me too seriously. Photography is really an art form and I am playing devil’s advocate here. :smile:

“I wish photography could be an art form. I love it so much, but it’s just too easy. If only there were some way to mentally cripple the majority of the population from being able to take beautiful photos, or if I could make the craft so needlessly difficult to only be accessible to a tiny few. Maybe then I can trick others into thinking I have talent where there is none. Oh photography, why must you be so simple and uncomplicated!”

We’ve been tricked—all of us—into believing that photography is an art form requiring skill, talent, patience, and “the eye,” when outside of fairy land, it requires no more skill or talent than driving a car, or pushing buttons on an elevator. What kind of art form would have these ten traits?

1. Anyone can do it. While we’ve not proven the infinite monkey theorem for reproducing Shakespeare’s Hamlet, surely a monkey could take a good, interesting photo. In fact, with today’s auto-focusing, auto-metering, easy-to-use cameras, I have no doubt that a monkey, with some practice, could take a photo as good as Sunrays or The Red-Brick House. Do you like doing the job of a monkey?

2. No talent involved. You’re in a good place, you take a good picture. You’re in a bad place; you get nothing. It doesn’t matter if you have passion or willpower. If someone else is in the right place at the right time, they can easily capture the moment just as well, even if they’ve been handed a camera for the first time. You can’t say the same about any real art form, like playing the piano, or drawing, or sculpting, which require years of experience and practice.

3. No creativity. When you take a photo, you’re using a tool to save a copy of a scene. You’re creating nothing and the camera’s creating nothing. If the camera does create something, it isn’t art—it’s a defect. The more you protest that your badly-composed, out-of-focus pictures bear your unique artistic sensibilities, the more you satisfy your own delusions. Photography is about as creative as mowing the lawn (and if you think that’s creative, then you have my sympathy).

4. It doesn’t help you to look at the world differently, no more than painting, or sketching, or kayaking, or any other hobby. If anything, your view of the world narrows, because you’re stuck looking at it through your narrow viewfinder.

5. It’s an art that’s not a science, and a science that’s not an art. If my five-year-old sister can cover my job on our vacation to Disney world, then what kind of science is that? Normal scientific processes are torturous and difficult to master, like constructing a high-rise bridge or installing an Olympic-size swimming pool. Scientific arts like performing a complex piano piece or crocheting a beautiful sweater require years of expertise and practice. Not photography. Photography is for dummies. Then on the other end, we have b.s. science touted by the “artists,” like megapixels, lens optics, and sensor reflectivity. They have no idea what this stuff means, nor do they need any understanding of it to take pretty pictures, but they pretend it makes the craft complex, and their jobs, difficult and valuable. Kudos to the engineers, sure, but I’m not scientific as a mere photographer, any more than I’d be an auto mechanic for driving a car.

6. No future. You can’t make money taking pictures. If you do, you’re not an artist, you’re a businessman. Nothing more.

7. Life as a technician. You can’t get a good photo unless you Photoshop the heck out of it, like going from this awful thing to Leafy Droplets 4. Is that creative? My 10-year-old cousin can add some contrast, sharpen, darken the corners, and shift the colors with ease. If you put yourself through hours of this drudgery, you’re no more of an artist than the lab operator at Wal-Mart. A computer can easily replace you. How does it feel wasting your talent?

8. Strokes of luck. If you do capture a great photo that needs no editing, it’s because of reason #3. No talent whatsoever; you were just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and disciplined enough to have your camera ready. So basically, your dependent on fate to bring you pretty pictures to photograph. Don’t you want to be in control of what you create, and when you create it? Do you like doing work that relies on luck, discipline, and drudgery, that you’re not even getting paid for? You may as well be digging ditches. At least then you’d be doing something useful for the world.

9. Join a community of morons. Maybe your smart and join a “camera club.” Then, you get to hear a dozen other people complain about the delay of Nikon’s latest DSLR and make excuses why they can never be a good photographer until they have *insert lens here*. Then they’ll complain about how they can’t attract any money. Maybe if they’d add something real to the world, they’d have the money to buy their toys. If you’re a photographer, you may as well be playing the latest World of Warcraft game.

Or perhaps you’re particularly dedicated and follow your passion to a photography university. Then you get to spend four years and thousands of dollars on the dead art of film, while hearing old codgers whining that the youngsters have it too easy nowadays. You may as well learn Latin. If you want to be a professional photographer, take a business class. But you’re condemning yourself to a lifetime of slave labor. If we had today’s photography before Lincoln’s time, then slaves would be photographing our children’s birthdays and recording our weddings. Why? Because slaves were forced to do tedious, boring, uncreative work.

10. You’re a dime a dozen. You’re building no legacy, you can’t pass your business on to your children, you work on assignment for pennies, and anyone can replace you at anytime. In what other artistic field can anyone do exactly the same work you do, with no talent nor experience? Read rubbish like Is Color Photography an Art? with any spirit of inquiry, and you can see what fools we are.

“Okay, so since photography is really nothing, we’ll give it some class. Only photography done on expensive, time-consuming film is art. No color nonsense—that’s too much like the real world. Digital doesn’t count—it’s missing the needless drudgery. 35mm? Are you crazy? That’s the easy way out.”

Can’t you see how dumb this is? If photography was an art form, we wouldn’t have millions of pages debating the subject. It would be plain and obvious. The very existence of a debate proves that photography as art is shaky ground to stand on. You don’t see anyone debating painting as an art form, or protesting the Mona Lisa as uncreative.

“The color photographer has many means of bringing expression into a scene; the selection of camera position, lens focal length, use of filters, depth of field, film type, exposure, composition, and shutter speed all figure into the image that is produced. During printing, the color photographer has control of contrast, density, color balance, and saturation to convey personal expression.”

Oh puh-lease. “The cashier has many ways of being creative at the check-out line. She can express herself by scanning your groceries swiftly, grouping them by color, double-bagging at her discretion, and suggesting candy bars and periodicals. She has control of the conversation, by making friendly chit-chat or working without delay. Through the artistic medium of words, she has the potential to positively influence hundreds of people every day.”

At least cashiers don’t delude themselves thinking they’re at the pinnacle of artistic expression and can change the world. Perhaps we aren’t so lucky.

Photography is fine for what it is: a pseudo art form for talentless hacks. But don’t give it more respect than it deserves.

217 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why Photography Sucks and Isn’t an Art Form

  1. Wow thank for ruining my future :( in 15 and I love taking photos….I thought I was good at it, I get compliments on how great my photos are;/ I thought I was talented. It actually isn’t easy to take professional photos.. you have to be creative. ;/ but apparently everyone can take professional photos and edit them professionally…..wow. -.-

  2. Art is about:
    -technical ability

    A painter,drawer and sculpture spends years perfecting each of these and then endless hours on each single piece. Pressing a button is the equivalent of a pencil touching paper. Some people create art with photography. One or two amazing photos does not make you an artist. Artists create a collection/series that are consistent. 1 person in 1 million is an artist through photography.

    I press a button on a microwave or a TV remote, does it make me artist?? Yes you may be a photographer and be insulted when I say your photos are not art and your are not an artist. But I as an artist (painter, drawer) are more insulted that you dare think what you do can be compared to what I do.

    I could become a better photographer than you within a week probably even a day, you could never become a better painter or drawer than me.

    • Why do people who paint/draw always compare their medium to photography when discussing photographers as artists?

      I could slash a canvas pretty well after a bit of practise – it’s insulting to compare that as art compared to what I achieve as a photographer.

      Art is expressing yourself, communicating a concept…what about Tracey Emin’s work? Anyone could do it…anyone with the idea and drive to complete the work.

      You just don’t understand photography, clearly. That’s alright though. As a painter you’re just used to thinking of a concept then being able to put down whatever is in your head – no parameters, no boundaries to what you can achieve, no right or wrong, no limits. To express my ideas I have to wait for the perfect moment to occur in reality. I translate the scene by capturing it in a way that best communicates my conceptual thoughts. I dance with light and shadows using my technical ability and experience to create something out of something I can not control, that can never be repeated.

      So you chose paints – get over it.

  3. OK, frist of all, not everyone is someone who doesn’t not take things that aren’t photographs. See what I did there? Just like Morpheus tells Neo, “take the blue pill, it will set you free if you have the courage to follow your heart” photography can speak to those without hope. Let it speak to you. Be honest. Your name could live forever in the minds of posterity. Will you take that chance?

  4. Have any of you thought of what the world would be with out Art? Those of you who claim that art is useless, imagine a world without pictures, drawings, sculptures, movies, wood work, and even writing, yes, even writing. Art and Artists is useless? Oh, so Andy Warhol is useless, even though he changed the way the world looked at Art? I am a Artist, or at least I consider myself one. I can sing, take beautiful photographs, draw, and i can write. Art is a form of expression, it by no means ‘useless’. Taking photographs is not as easy as it seems. Yeah, any beginner can take a nice photo, with a point and shoot camera. I thought I was a great photographer, until I was given a SLR. I now know how to set the Aperture and Shutter Speed appropriately to the lighting situation, usually depending on the ISO, and only occasionally ask my Photography teacher how to use certain functions. That is done manually, unless you feel the need to use Auto Intelligence. Art is Art. The world needs Art.

  5. It’s just stupid. And I only entertain this question, cos I have essay to write for my art course.
    There are shitloads of books why its art and it isnt. It is a tool – just like brush or pencil! And I dont expect from a pencil to have a qualities of a brush or whatever.. and monkeys can paint too for that matter. Question is ‘What is art’
    and is it to indulge you as a creator? But just to compare and think that photo and painting are competitors is stupid. Is drawing a competitor?

  6. There shouldn’t be a disclaimer on this article. If you’re going to have an opinion stick to it, it’s the internet and no-one actually cares what you think anyway (even those that whine bitterly).

    I took up photography as a hobby recently. I love taking pictures and reading about the technology involved, and as with most things, if you’re going to get better a safe bet is to try and emulate the best. Then I started to notice something odd. Everyone’s photos are the same, when you see a bunch of people presenting their photos to each other, there is no difference between the most established member and some new guy who knows what he’s doing, and dozens upon dozens of equally capable new guys. It’s like the only way to take a “bad” photo is if you’ve only held a camera for an hour in your life or aren’t paying attention to whatever it is you’re taking a picture of.
    The established professionals have large portfolios with “more” photos, but that’s pretty much it. The only thing separating one photographer from another is time and opportunity. We are hunters of visual game, not creators of images from our imagination.
    If you go out of your way to set up a specific scene, the scene is your art, and would be regardless of whether you ever take a picture of it. You could even get someone else to take the picture, the photograph is entirely beside the point, it is merely a convenience. Literally, it’s no different from hitting “control c” on a bit of poetic text you found.

    • ‘We are hunters of visual game, not creators of images from our imagination’.

      I look for scenes to capture that represent conceptual meaning – determined by how I use light/shadows, colour and exposure to communicate.

  7. Most photography isn’t art. And, most photographers are not artists – they’re documentarians and archivists – not artists.

    That doesn’t mean, however, that ALL photography is not art, nor ALL photographers artists.

    The simple existence of people like Man Ray, Jan Saudek and Joel-Peter Witkin, to name just a few, completely and totally undermines any “photography is not art” argument.

    Someone could write a 12,000 page, meticulously researched and presented, thesis on why photography isn’t art, and I could completely invalidate the entire thing by simply directing them to an example of the work of Joel-Peter Witkin.

    Photographers who are artists may be in a minority among the totality of the photographic community. But, they’re out there. And, the best of them hold positions equal to the greatest artists in any other artistic field.

  8. Photographers are a dime-a-dozen, anyone can create a photograph, and it is absolutely not art. As a photographer, hearing this statement makes me want to punch someone in the face. It wouldn’t have to particularly be a “punch to the face”, it could also be a good kick to the groin.

    Digital and film photography as an art form is a constant great debate, which I do not see ever being fully resolved. Often, I hear people saying that photography in general is not art, sometimes I hear only film photography is art- I believe it is all art. Nothing is fully black & white, nothing is ever all or nothing, art is not only this and only that. Art could literally be anything. If you want to photograph your breast and call it art- go right ahead. Art is expression, emotion, and if it makes you feel something, anything at all, it has done its job.

    -Stephanie LaRee

  9. Pingback: Fotografie, een kunstvorm of gewoon geluk? « Art of the Image

  10. I guess no one reads the disclaimer at the top. However, there is some truth to this essay.

  11. photography is an art and it has basic science principles to it whether you know it or not. The photographers you are referring to are fake ones who use non- LSD cameras and expect to have exception photos. It is only with the LSD cameras that you can capture the best footage because of the width and speed of the image. The lens idiot, are the scientific principle because you use the different lens like you do a microscope in a lab. The principle of the lenses are that they are there to portray a specific thing. The creativity comes with experience. The way you set up the emotion or the effect that you are trying to portray makes a huge difference depending on whether or not you know what you are doing. It’s obvious that you don’t. That is what makes seeing with the naked eye so beautiful, because you can experience what the person behind the camera is feeling first hard. If I had my own LSD camera I would tag you a picture of what I’m talking about. There was this one picture on my website that talks about point of view. I disagree with yours however, simply because you are ignorant to what photography is really about. Also, you do not understand the basics to even talk. None of what I said was in your article. What I will say though is this, you have a strong bias. As a writer you do not want to have one because you will look precisely how you look to me right now – an idiot.

  12. It’s true that’s it’s hard to be creative in photography but weather you like it or not there is creativity in , skill alone is not enough. It helps seeing the world differently , with photography you can look at things from angles you’ve never seen before , you can see stuff that your eyes won’t normally notice .

    • Photography is more of a craft than an art. Photographers don’t create angles. The angles are already there. Nor can they passionately express what the truly see through their minds eye. A robot can be built and programmed to follow a systematic way of positioning itself to take a photo. For instance, when a photographer is about to take a picture, replace him or her with a stance and a robotic finger to push the button while keeping the camera at the same position the photographer had it, the photograph will most likely come out the same. This can’t be done with a traditional artist, as the robot, no matter how advanced will not be able to express it self, how it feels about the image or convey something new inspired by what it sees on to a canvas or paper. For photographers, their special “point of view” is limited by what’s already there. They try to take ownership of something that was never really theirs and act like this image came out of their souls. The whole argument people bring up that “you can put ten photographers in one location and get ten different photos” is a load of bull. Sure you will get ten different pictures but not so different that it will make it uniquely belong to one photographer. Other photographer can just stand in his or her same spot use the same equipment and get the same photo. Now try to put all these ten photographer in the exact same spot (one at a time of course) and ask them to take a photo of the same object. By limiting the variation of positioning (something a robot on wheels can do) very little creativity and expression will come through these photographs. Once again, do this with painters, and not only will their images look different but their unique skills and creativity will shine through their works. Don’t get me wrong, I see photography as being a truly difficult profession which requires skills developed over time. It’s just in my perspective, I fail to see the unique creativity that artist are know for in photography, limitless self expression that’s only possible through the mediums the traditional arts.

  13. I personally believe that photography is an art form. It takes more than just a good place and a right angle to produce a good photo. Picking up a camera and taking a few shots doesn’t automatically give you the experience of photography. No matter what art form, it takes time and patience. However, we are all entitled to our own opinions and i respect yours.

  14. Really folks??? This is article is beyond ridiculous. I feel sorry for whoever wrote it. First of all, why are you comparing the two??? APPLES AND ORANGES PEOPLE!!! Why can’t you just enjoy art and photography for what they are??? They’re both wonderful mediums for creativity. There is nothing to be debated. This debate has been NEEDLESSLY CREATED by “old school” artists with very narrow vision based on their own emotions that they can’t come to terms with and refuse to realize that as society changes, so do art forms. So called “Art”, in any medium, is impossible to define. ART IS RELATIVE TO THE INDIVIDUAL VIEWER. I’ve been to art shows and festivals in many cities and have seen a lot more creative photography that I would rather have hanging in my house than any so called “modern day art” that’s littering our society. And I’ve got news for all of you so called artists… And I do mean “so called” based on the endless crap I see hanging around cities that you charge five figures for and think any intelligent, emotionally stable people are actually going to buy it… Just because you live in a loft, in the alternative lifestyle part of the city, don’t eat meat, don’t drive a car, and hang around in coffee shops… DOES NOT MAKE YOU AN ARTIST!!! THROWING DIFFERENT COLORS OF PAINT ON A WHITE CANVAS AFTER YOU POPPED AN ECSTASY PILL OR SMOKED A BAG OF WEED AND PROCEED TO CALL IT YOUR EMOTIONS ON THE CANVAS… NOT ART! NOOOOOOT AAAAARRRRRRT! ANYONE CAN DO IT!!!!! Most people are capable of painting, drawing, writing, fashion design, and endless other outlets of creativity with enough practice. The problem is most people are too busy with REAL careers. The last time I checked, engineers, doctors, scientists, etc. are the ones trying to better our world and actually contributing something. ARTISTS… KEEP YOUR MOUTHS SHUT. YOU TECHNICALLY CONTRIBUTE NOTHING. THE WORLD CAN EASILY LIVE WITHOUT YOU.

    • Every time when I feel in an arguing mood I come here and read what ms and mr know it all would say to defend the crap called art, including photography or not. it’s same shit at the end of the day. don’t defend photography and complain about ‘other art’ .bunch of crap the whole thing. I regret the moment I ever thought art can be my way of life. I studied photography and clearly say that it was a massive waste of time and money. like studying any other art would be. art became crap the way you presented it. by becoming reIative to the viewer. Which means. I shit, you see me doing it, you like it, you decide to make it art so it will be? no ’cause only shitting isn’t art, but picturing it in a photograph will make it art with a little contrast, bnw procession and a vignette. Of course I forgot, cropping it in square format… oh god…. All art is crap. I agree, no more artists thank you, grab a shovel or get a job.

  15. Oh dear! Clearly few readers understand the term “devil’s advocate”, or bothered to read the first paragraph. For my money, if you want an interesting take on the way this “non-art” can create heartbreakingly beautiful images which wring our emotions, yet at the same time can seem like utter crap, take a look at the following:


    For me, it sums up the ambivalence perfectly.

  16. Sorry what? That’s a load of bollocks. The majority of “photographers” are people with a camera who believe that the point and click is the art. Photography is borderline art form, because it’s also journalism, recording moments in history and proof/evidence of events. It also powers the media and advertising industry.
    My mother has been a still life photographer for over 20 years and I know for a FACT that there is a tremendous amount of skill involved in understanding lighting, shooting techniques, lenses and colour. Just like in painting, acting, even plumbing; there’s the shit, and there’s the talented.

    Not everyone can cook a good meal but they can still cook something. I’m studying photography at University right now and I totally get your point, but it comes from the untalented amateur bunch that promote anyone can do it, BECAUSE THEY CAN’T.

    Photoshop is a fantastic tool that has been overused by idiots. You can take a photograph which stands alone as poignant and powerful, you don’t photoshop everything to make it look good. That’s stupid. Ever heard of analogue/film photography?

    I totally see that photography shouldn’t be included as an art form, because Dear Christ I’ve seen art photography a lot and it makes me want to punch a wall how so much skill and technique has been folded down into basic easy “point-and-click” with pretty colours of a fucking bench in the snow.

    Your opinion is warped by idiocy in photography. Please look up some decent photographers like Richard Avedon and Eve Arnold and realise that photography involves technique, patience and experience. Not fucking iPhone Instagram point click shit.

    PS. Prove anyone can take a decent photograph and upload something on your fantastic tool. I bet it will be shit and if it’s good and you’ve taken time and thought into it, you’re a hypocrite. :tormented:

    • Holy shit you’re a photographer already what is wrong with you

    • Please don’t dis Photoshop. the DSLR cam you’re using has a software no different from Photoshop creating your wonderful monochrome or contrasty pic. and why the hell does ppl think photoshopping pics are bad???!! i thought the whole point of art is to express myself the way i want and add creativity to it by any means, hence Photoshop it if i feel the need to!!

      Anyway, art is a matter of opinion. yes anyone can take a good pic with a point and shoot, as long as there are ppl who like it and/or got a feeling from it, it can be called art, even good art if the photographer is real lucky!! maybe that pic will be the only good pic this person takes, but it doesn’t change the fact that if it’s a good pic taken by a point and shoot, it’s still a good pic. it’s the end result that counts. nobody cares about what lens you took/ how many days you waited in the rain for that shot/if you went or not to university to become a real photographer or if you’re a grandma who got lucky shooting a cute puppy.

      btw film photography is soon gonna disappear, just like drawing on cave walls… so PLEASE don’t reference it as the ways of true photographers!

  17. Love this article. Ive never taken a photo for the purpose of art in my life, until I received an assignment from my art and lit 101 at college. There were people in class with their fancy pants high resolution auto focus bs cheating cameras, and then there was me with my 25 dollar camera from k mart. I received an A whereas the majority of the artsy fartsy kids ranged from c- to b+. The reason??? Balance and simplicity haha. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have or the camera you use. If I can score higher than the majority of seasoned photographers, anyone can. Photography is not art. It’s for people who suck at painting and drawing

  18. Saying that photography isn’t an art form because anyone can do it is like saying that drawing isn’t an art form because kids can do it. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you can do it well. The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare…or this article. How does it feel for you knowing a monkey could do your job? Next time, please put a little thought into your arguments before you put them out on the web and make a fool of yourself.

  19. I didn’t waste my time reading all ten things, i just read the first and the second. I’m a graduated Visual Artist (I’m working photography) and really I’m not feeling well when I say I’m an artist. About the monkey and painting from above my friend I have some answers here.
    OH! What an Art.
    But I don’t think they can survive in a dark room.
    I know my answer is childish but that’s the answer you were looking for.

  20. Now I would have to full heartedly disagree with you that photography is not an art form. The arguments here are very superficial. I’m no professional in any field, but I enjoy many art forms-Painting, drawing, photography, writing….And I can definitely vouch that photography is an art form.

    1. Sure, anyone can pick up a camera and begin taking pictures, but it requires much, much more than that. They must know there way around a camera, much like any other artist. You must be able to know how to work the tools of the trade to master any art form. Anyone can pick up a camera and set it on auto. Anyone can pick up a paintbrush or clay or pen and paper. You have to know how to combine white balance, measure f-stops, the relationship of the aperture and shutter, and many more. You must know the tools for photography to be an art.

    2. Now I won’t argue that there are a ton of photos out there that were lucky shots. Everyone gets them, even pros! But, as painting or drawing, one must know the basic aspects of design to truly create a photograph. Photographers don’t go out spending $60 some dollars on a good memory card and think “Gee whiz, I hope ONE of the photos I take ends up looking good!” No. A photographer must know the rules of art, as any artist. S-curves, the rule of thirds, color, emphasis, proportion, value, color….are all very, very important when composing a photo. Whether it is a set up photograph or a nature shot, understanding HOW to compose is vital! And that, my friend, takes practice to understand and learn. Just as any other art form.

    3. As I mentioned in 1, photography, like any art form, uses tools to be created. A painter uses their brushes and paint, and an artist uses a camera and computer. And as in 2, understanding the basics of what makes attractive visual art is vital. I don’t see how you say that a camera creating something beautiful is a defect. The camera is merely how a photographer creates their art. Ansel Adams’ photographs were not ‘defects’, it was not the camera that made his magnificent shots and nor is he an ‘exception’ to the fallacy of photography not being art. A true photographer does not go about snapping pictures at random. They ask themselves many questions about what they will find interesting. That in itself is creativity. They must CREATE the images in their mind before taking them. Photographers DON’T just snap pictures and pray for a good one.

    4. Well we can’t capture the entire world in one image! Photography isn’t always about pleasing the viewer. Often it is for the photographer’s enjoyment and creative outlet. But that does not mean it hasn’t changed the world or how people view things. Photography is everywhere, and do you think they hire random mooks to do National Geographic? No! Photography lets us see things happening all over the world, just like film. Think about how much more powerful it is to actually see the ruins of Chernobyl, to see the utter and raw destruction, than reading about it alone.

    5. Any photographer worth anything should know how their equipment works. I know I keep using comparisons to other art forms, but it’s because they’re true. A sculptor must know his tools-How different sculpting materials work, when to use what tools, what the tools can be used for, creative uses for their tools, and how to keep a stable product. If a sculptor didn’t know his tools or materials, all their work would turn out to be crap. A photographer is no different. They must understand how everything in a camera works to truly utilize it to create their artistic vision, to help them capture their artistic vision. Knowing what lens to use when is vital. Not knowing what to use when in photography-be it a larger aperture for more light and a short field of depth or a longer shutter for more light-is critical in artistic photography.

    6. This is just a silly argument. Many artists today of multiple art forms make a living off what they do. Just because someone is making money off of their art doesn’t always mean they’re “selling out”. Jessica Peffer is an amazing fantasy artist that makes money from what she wants to do. Animators, sculptors, painters, digital artists, musicians, composers….Are all making a living off of their art. Sure, it is technically business, but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t art. Just do yourself a favor and look up Scanlan Photography and try to tell me that those are just “lucky shots” and “not art”.

    7. It’s funny that you mention that there is SOME talent involved in photography despite claiming that there was none before. I digress. As I mentioned before, composition is key. Lucky shots are not because they are a waste. Yes, photoshop can be helpful, but it doesn’t make good art. Often the best photos are those that require little to no editing. And photoshop will not make a great photo because that has to be done before the picture is even on the computer.

    8. Many photographers know what they want when they go out. My current photography professor said that a true photographer sets out with a goal in mind. You shoot what you aim for and ONLY that subject. At times, yes, we have little control over what we shoot. However, knowing where to be and when to be somewhere for certain shots (especially wildlife shots) is key. There are also a good chunk of photographers that set up scenes before taking pictures.

    9. I feel like a broken record mentioning other art forms at this point, BUT you have to know your tools to know what you’re doing. No art form is completely about the tools. Sure, a newer model of camera may be better to use, but that doesn’t make for better pictures. Buying the best paint and paint brushes won’t make a good painting. The same goes for getting the best word processor for writing, pencils for drawing, etc…Sure, there are many people with expensive cameras claiming to be photographers, but their cameras don’t make them true photographers. I’ve seen beautiful photographs taken by people with cameras that are far past outdated. These people know what they’re doing and their photos are stunning. Why? Because they know their equipment and what makes a good image before it hits photoshop.

    10. If photographers are a dime a dozen, then why isn’t your little sister taking pictures like Scalan, which easily make hundreds of dollars per print? If they’re a dime a dozen, then why does National Geographic so carefully pick who they choose for photographers instead of any random person who can press a button?

    We cannot all be replaced. No one will replace Ansel Adams. But we don’t all seek to be famous like him. We choose photography for an art because it makes us happy, just like any other artist with their creative outlet. We don’t all seek fame, fortune, attention, or money. Sure, it’s great to make a living off of what you love, but it shouldn’t be the first priority.

    And despite what you claim, studios can be passed down-Through a family or to assistant to business partner.

    Just because photography is constantly debated about does not mean that it isn’t an art form. I can see how people would think it’s not. They do not understand that it isn’t just “point and shoot”, they do not understand how knowing and utilizing camera equipment it is vital, they fail to understand that a photographer visualizes and image before taking it and the elements of design are vital.

    It’s easy to make an assumption on a subject that one knows little about.

      • Good lord the typos.

        Anywho, after reading through some other comments, I must add a point or two.

        Arguing time is a bit….odd. Sure, a truly artistic drawing takes much, much longer to compose, find references for, draft, sketch, and finalize than a photograph. However, this does not mean that photography isn’t an art. There are many shots take a very long time to get. Photographers also draft as well. I LOVE themed shoots and will spends days upon weeks of thinking of how I want things to go-The people I’ll have in the shoot, props, outfits, themes, locations, time of day, etc.

        For shoots I have less control of, like nature shots, I have to plan what I’m doing. IE: I want to shoot birds of prey so….Where can I find them? What time of day? Where do I want to get pictures of them? What lens/camera settings will I use? What do I want to convey about the hawk? How long will I need to achieve what I have in mind?

        Sure, the action of taking the picture before hand is easy, but to take a truly artistic photograph, one should be prepared and have goals/images ready before hand if they truly want good photographs.

    • why is everyone against photoshop??? who put a rule saying that a good shot has to be less edited??? is the viewer going to go all “OH that’s been photoshopped, i don’t like it anymore!” if that’s the case, then you did a bad photoshop job…

      Anyways, since your argument is that photography is art, why would retouching it with technology and artistic skills be bad? the damned photo is already a result of technology! light translated to digital pixels by a machine!!!

      And if you’re argument is that photoshopping make the pic not portraying the real scene, then all Photographers should throw out their fancy filters and reflective tools for lighting etc, it’s all tools that creates an illusion, not real!! what’s the difference btw your fancy physical tools to change lighting/colors and my fancy photoshop? is it because it’s too easy with photoshop? if that’s your argument, the whole debate about painting/drawing being art because it require more time/difficulty than photography stands TRUE!!

      i’m on nobody’s side, because i draw, paint and take pics, but it’s not my profession. My profession is programming and it annoys me that artists dis some technologies and embrace others and claim one is true art and the other is not…

  21. “At least cashiers don’t delude themselves thinking their at the pinnacle of artistic expression and can change the world. Perhaps we aren’t so lucky.”

    It’s they’re. Not their.

  22. I have to disagree with you. I’m not a photographer myself, but I am an artist, and have been for most of my life.
    My mom is a photographer, but she’s not the reason I’m calling it an art. I’m calling it an art because I truly believe it is.

    1. True, everyone can do it, but it takes an artistic eye to actually get good pictures.
    For example: my mom brings a camera with her everywhere, and will just stop and take a picture of something. I’ll look around and be the only other one that knows exactly what she’s taking a picture of and why. Why’s this? I have an artistic mind. We understand the fascinating in the world.

    2. It takes talent to get into the right place to get the right picture. It’s like sketching something in a way. If the position of the photographer isn’t right, the picture won’t be right. Photography isn’t all about the fancy filters and stuff like that, it’s about capturing what you want to see, and maybe using filters to give it a certain mood.

    3. look above.

    4. again, this one goes with what I said above. Especially with the photographer having a different point of view. You have the purpose of it all wrong, even with art. Art of any sort isn’t meant to broaden the artists’ view of the world, it’s about broadening the audience’s view.

    5. Every sort of art is a science, but in its own way. With drawing, it’s about the style you want to get and what colors to possibly choose. With any sort of “physical art” (sculpture, casting, costumes etc.), it’s about seeing something on paper right in your hands. And with photography, it’s about seeing things that others tend to ignore, or not notice in the first place, whether it’s meaningful or not, it doesn’t have to be meaningful. Over years, one’s photography does get better. I’ve personally seen it happen, so you can’t say it doesn’t take years to get better.

    6. Have you ever heard of a professional photographer? They do exist you know.
    People have entire art galleries based off of their pictures, and I have to say, they are absolutely stunning. Some people have entire businesses based off their photography and they make hundreds, sometimes even thousands from it.

    7. Not every photographer does this. Some will do it to add a mood, like many drawers use color to define a mood.

    8. look above. The photographer must put themselves in the right place. It just doesn’t randomly happen.

    9. Not every photographer does this, many great pictures I’ve seen have just been done with a little point and shoot and nothing fancier. This logic is like saying that people with the best art supplies can make the best art, a lot of us believe it too. It’s not just photographers that insist on getting the best, it’s every artist that does. It’s not about what you have, it’s about the way you use it.

    Yes, film is dead, but that doesn’t mean people can’t use it. Hell, Latin is still used, mostly in the medical field, just because it’s dead doesn’t mean it’s useless.

    10. So what if it doesn’t make a legacy. It doesn’t have to. So what if peoples’ children don’t want to pick up on it? It’s not something you can force on them. You can’t expect your children to carry anything involving your own personal life on.

    Besides, without photography, we wouldn’t know what people looked like when it first came out, we’d be blind about the past 100 or so years.

  23. Pingback: Is the Art of Photography Dying Due to Digitalization? @ Nostalgics Photography

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