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Photography and Art, A devolution or progression?

April 12th, 2017

Art has never been simply a definition in a dictionary. It has also, given spans of time, been fluid in its appreciation and valued quite often in terms of what someone was willing or may yet be willing to pay. To me, art is much more than the end product no matter how it is valued. Art quite often is the process of production, and therein lies another form of valuation and validation.

Some see no value in photography as art, or of using the camera as a tool, much like a paint brush and canvas. When photography was first introduced to a broad demographic, photos began showing up in art galleries and there were critics. Yet today, some of these photographs are prized by collectors. Digital cameras and computers are revolutionizing what is considered modern art, and in doing so, is drawing criticism. The digital world is expanding the ability to express oneself in a myriad of ways, including programs that can build something from a single moment in time, to filters that change the perspective and colour, much like filters on a film camera did, not to mention the effects one could generate in a dark room. These are tools for expression that are no different than a paint brush and canvas. There are mathematical equations built into graphic programmes that can take an everyday object and turn it into something that makes one pause and think.

Is the canvas art? Is the digital file art? Will art always be defined solely by the process? By what is paid for it?

Degas once said that art isn't what you see, it is what you make others see. To that end, I don't really care if someone wants to call something I have made art or not. My question to the critic is, did something I made make you pause, did it make you think, did it make you angry or did it bring a smile to your face? If any of these are true, then I have accomplished what I set out to do.