Technical competence can be learned by almost anyone, but what makes a photograph a work of art? Mark Bauer explains why it is the merits of the piece, not the medium, which determine whether a work is art
On a pretty regular basis, this old chestnut crops up: is photography art? Whenever anyone asks this question, I counter with another: is painting art? Like photography, painting can be both art and craft. The ‘craft’ is the technical side of things and relatively easy to evaluate. The ‘art’ is slightly harder to define. For me, to reach the status of art, a work has to have vision, imagination and be capable of evoking an emotional response in the viewer. I spend a lot of time looking at paintings and the vast majority of what I see falls into the category of ‘craft’, in that it is technically competent – occasionally outstanding – but lacks the vision, imagination and emotion that I consider necessary for it to be considered art.
If you hold these criteria in mind when viewing paintings, you will probably conclude that outside of the collections in major galleries and museums, very few works qualify as art. Look at the paintings in your average high street gallery and you will see that …
Read this and many more articles in High Definition inside Issue 56 of Landscape Photography Magazine.