The Fine Art of Photography

In response to a letter submission to The Hamilton Spectator suggesting that photography has no relevance to the arts, one writer responded:

That must be quite a revelation to the members of all the local camera clubs and artists.

Still and video cameras are not only a highly specialized art form requiring specific skills, but also an integral part of the arts in general. Cameras of any kind not only capture timeless moments, breathtaking scenery, history, crimes, every other art form, plus the sciences, they also provide permanent visual documentation to help us to understand what’s going on in this world.

Where would our understanding of events, real or imagined, be for writers, journalists, researchers, the military, astronomers, anthropologists, archeologists, medical sciences and a myriad of others, but for the camera? The camera has a more far-reaching effect on society than any other art form because it encompasses and reinforces neraly everything else, the images can be digitally transmitted anywhere in a second, and is also a wonderful way for the photo artist to express himslef.

If anyone doubts this, I encourage them to visit the website of any good camera club and have a look at what those photographers do with their cameras. Then tell us that photography has no relevance to the arts — if you can.

Letters, The Hamilton Spectator

Letter submission by Tom Bochsler supporting the defense of photography being an art form:

What a revelation by the letter writer. Well described. She has highlighted the merits of capturing the moment in time with photography.

Art is a diverse range of human activities and the products of those activities, which include the creation of images or objects in fields including painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography and other visual media.

Art began with a brush or chisel; the artist had to know light. Photography began with capturing light. Digital photography is so commonplace now and content doesn’t seem to matter.

It’s not the camera that creates the images, it’s the photographer. Cameras only record. Internationally respected painters such as Robert Bateman use photography as a reference to detail his famous paintings.

Photojournalists pride themselves on visual content. The good photograph stops viewers so they read the caption or story. News photography is real, not retouched. A photo-artist can create wonderful art through skill and manipulation  that’s the advantage of technology  but the true art is achieved by understanding light.

There are articles written about the art of photography and also the art of industry. One might feel that it is a remote place to find art in industry. But what we see and how we choose to capture it can be art. “Art (beauty), is in the eye of the beholder.” Plato (428-348 BC)

Tom Bochsler, Photographer – Burlington, Ontario

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