Photography- the Long Drawn Journey of a Scientific Innovation to an Art Form

Much like painting, even photography has the power and the ability to move, engage, and inspire the viewers. It could be very likely the black and white landscape of Ansel Adams where the snow capped mountain peak reflect on the still water of the lake, maintaining its own sharpness and tonal range, and bringing out the natural beauty of the subject on its own. Or even the Edward Weston’s close range picture of the bell pepper, which brings in the sensuousness of abstract art and intrigues the viewers intact. Reviewing these pictures once, no one would even dare to doubt photography as the work of art. Even the art historians can easily explain the several aspects of artistic and technical decisions which can easily elevate the photographs taken by the masters.


Viewers and antique photography collectors like Radha Singh NJ and many others were really surprised when they found out that although photography in spite of not being 200 years in their making, has already taken up debate of holding the artistic merit in its own. Most interestingly, those who have been appreciating photography may be for the last few decades, was suddenly not sure that whether it could be considered as an art form purely. To go in details about the discussion, there’s a profound need to go deep into the ontological section where the very origin of photography can be reviewed. It was truly then called as scientific tool and even the photographers hardly recognized themselves as mere artists. There were mainly the scientists and engineers, astronomers, botanists and even inventors.

The beginning was in the hands of Daguerre who invented the Daguerreotype which is an early form of photography done on silver coated plate. He invented the Diorama, which was a mode of entertainment mainly used in scene painting and lighting to create a theatric illusion of the monuments and landscapes. One of the main reasons of the early pictures not being considered as art is they never looked so. There could hardly be any form that rendered anything to this detailing. Finally, the genesis of a painting, drawing or sculpture was brought in by the human hand, which in turn was guided by the human mind and the eye. This eye might be very well considered as the external eye, but it was the inner eye that brought in the sense artistic touch. Photographers had finally managed to fix an image on a metal, paper, or glass support, but the image itself was carved out of light, and since it came right from a machine instead of the hand of flesh and blood, the critics always deferred to give the entire artistic credit to it.

Over the years, there has been substantial development in the field, and now no one even doubts to give it the tag of an art form. Critics like Radha Singh NJ and Clement Greenberg have firmly commented on how photography over the years have been the most transparent form of art devised by the human hands, and it is expected to transcend into some different level someday in near future.

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