There’s a stigma in the art world that photographers are not real artists. That all they do is just push a button to take a picture, and anyone could do it.
Indeed, skill and creativity aren’t a prerequisite to purchasing and using a camera. Especially with the ease of use and automation of today’s digital point-and-shoots. However, that shouldn’t negate the talents of artists who can use photography to create amazing works of art.
Some photographers who immediately come to mind are artists like Fan Ho or Josef Sudek who could use light, shadow, and shapes to create amazing images that had an almost ‘painterly’ like effect. And even that terminology- “painterly” lends itself to a notion that realism and scenes as we see them in a photographic sense are less artistic.
What one person sees in a scene or subject will be completely different than someone else. It takes years for a photographer to build their style and hone their craft, no different than it does a painter or a sculptor. I think though because it’s a relatively newer medium of expression when compared to other classical art forms, photography garners less respect.
The years of dedication it takes for a painter to learn and perfect their work almost seem obvious. We can easily appreciate and acknowledge the time that they invest to become proficient, eventually finding their voice and individual style. The truth is though, that photographers are no different. There is a science, technical knowledge, and creative aspect that someone must learn before mastering any craft, including photography.
Whether the tool used for creation is a brush, a chisel, or a camera- the holder is an artist nonetheless.
So, if you’ve ever questioned whether or not you’re a “real artist” because you’ve chosen photography as a medium of expression- don’t. Just the fact that you have some self-doubt about your work means that you are evolving, learning, and mastering a process that will lead you to your artistic voice.
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