Is it Art?

Is it Art?

Is photography art? Most photographers will readily claim that what they do is art, but I'm not so sure. I guess it depends on how one defines art.

Take wildlife photography as an example. A photographer documents the critter performing primary and interactive activities that I wrote about in yesterday's post. The photographer shoots the same critter during various hours of the day, at different seasons, under assorted light conditions, from disparate perspectives and at various environments. Only a few of these "documented" images can actually be regarded as aesthetic, but many can influence or affect the senses, emotions, and intellect.

There is definitely a certain degree of skill involved in photography; from controlling or utilizing light properly to arranging elements within the frame to best tell the story. On the other hand, it is nearly impossible to synthetically "create" the light that you see in the above photograph. Early spring vegetation that has just started blooming and that special glow just before sunset unfold the light around the Song Sparrow. Art imitates life! The artist either catches that special moment, or, at a later time, reorganizes and reproduces it. Rembrandt's genius is in recognizing and perfectly reproducing that special light in his paintings, not creating it. [It is also believed that Rembrandt suffered from Stereoblindness, which gave him an advantage...]

I respectfully disagree with Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw who held that "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life". Most of our lives are made up of activities, pursuits, or thoughts resulting from our primary drives. We may actually reach a point where our intellects supersede our primary drives, but I do not think that has happened yet...
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