Photography or Art

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Photographers have fought the notion from other art forms that photography is not art. Maybe that is because those artists can’t create art with a camera the same way they can create art with something else. Art is an expression of emotion using a tool. Whether you layer color and form and composition with a paintbrush or a pencil or a camera, it is still an image of art.  Sometimes photographers represent what they see as realistically as possible, sometimes the representation is more abstract. It is the same with mediums of art. We have all looked at a landscape painting, say of the Tetons, and have known where is was.. Realistic. We have also experienced paintings of flow of color and line that are more representative of the artist’s feelings and experimentations.. Photographers also express themselves in various ways with their camera and lenses and lights and flash and filters. Photographers are not simply documentarians with a camera. Sometimes we want to document, but even in the documentation we experiment with perspective and angle and light and form to express the object with the feeling we have at the moment.

So why discuss photography and art? Because I want people to experiment with their photography to find a place of self expression. You may find multiple ways to express your artistic feelings with a camera. What hinders us from expression? First is lack of knowledge of how your camera works and what it is capable of. I ask my students to always bring their camera manual. If we want to do something that they are unfamiliar with, then we can fall back to the manual to understand the controls. Do you think that painters just pick a brush and start painting? They have favorite brushes and paints and canvases and also techniques. In fact, the path to become a great painter is experimenting with your medium until you find what expresses your feelings.. And this expression may change over time. The same it should be with a photographer. Experiment with lenses and shooting techniques and light and processing and presentation. This is what makes photography into an art. And it is work, but a labor of love for the true photographer..

To illustrate my point, the following images are all versions of multiple exposures. Usually around 8 exposures are used to create the image. I experiment with how to move the camera in between exposures (how much movement, where to move, pattern to move). Have instant (ok, sometimes the multiple exposure takes a few seconds to process into an image) visual feedback on the screen helps me adjust what I want to do with the next image.

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Tree in my back yard, early morning.

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Azalea in my yard

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art image of above azalea

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azalea

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Art image of above azalea

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multiple exposure

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