Photography is not Art

Is photography Art?   There continues to be academic debate about this issue, for example, Cotton (2009) argues that it depends on the photographers motivations and working practices.   In the Guardian (5 September 2013) David Bailey puts it more simply: “Photography is not art and painting’s not art, it’s whether the person whose doing it is an artist.”

Kate Moss photo taken by David Bailey

Photograph: David Bailey/National Portrait Gallery.

Cotton, C. (2009) The Photograph as Contemporary Art, Thames & Hudson: London.

A Photograph is Visual Information

In our digital age information is visualised in a wide variety of ways.   We frequently see pie charts, histograms and maps with overlays of information.   A digital photograph is made up of pixels and broadly speaking more pixels means more information.

When we look at the above image it is immediately recognised.   Perhaps because of media saturation of the conventional photograph our brain can readily interpret an image that contains “less” information.

Is more information a always a good thing?   Is there a minimum amount of information needed to convey a message?

When we take a photograph what do we possess?

Poster for exhibition

Sam Jones’ first solo exhibition took place at An Tobar, the Tobermory arts centre, between 2 May and 28 June 2013.   I was fortunate to be in Mull during June and so visited the exhibition.   The title of the exhibition poses an important question, not just for a landscape photographer, but for all photographers.   What is it that we are trying to “capture” or “take”?    Perhaps the capture is about freezing an emotional response to a subject.   The ambiguous term “possession” makes us question what possession of an image means.   More than a simple legal ownership issue, possession may be about the degree of control exercised by the photographer at the point of pressing the shutter.

Photography as activism

A new exhibition in Leamington Spa by Josh King highlights the reality of life for the homeless.   In a series of well framed images he captures the essence of humanity in each person, in each face.   Particularly liked the portraits, many of which were cropped to show only part of the face and allow space to appear beyond, as if to say there is humanity beyond the face.

Portrait of Andy

Hope this exhibition will attract attention to the plight of the homeless in Britain, something that is regrettably increasing.