Before, I tell you about what I am going to write, first and foremost I would like you all to imagine two situations.

The first is suppose you enter an old palace, what do you expect to find. Well, you are sure to have a glimpse of numerous paintings hung on the gorgeous walls depicting portraits of glorious emperors and his beautiful wives, or certain scenes of importance being depicted on the walls. Any genuine person would call the palace and its adored paintings, a work of art and rather be mesmerized by the antiquity.

Now, the second situation is somewhat we all are acquainted with. What do you expect to find as you enter the house of a popular film star. Well, you are going to see numerous photographs of stars being framed and hung on the wall. You can also find a good deal of landscape photographs in any modern household. Well, now the question arises. Will you call this house a patron of art? This is where the ambiguity arises.

It has been almost 180 years now, and still innumerable critics have been waging a battle among themselves on whether to consider photography as an art. Well, I am no critic, neither I am any artist or photographer. I am what you all are, a layman. And I will try to analyse things from layman’s point of view. So, being impartial, standing on the vulnerable bisector dividing the two forms, I would like to establish art with photography.

How do we describe art? Art is a form of media be it painting, film, song, etc which provokes some kind of thought or emotion within us. Common emotions to be found in art are joy, laughter, happiness, hatred, pessimism, amazement, shocks, etc. So, the most vital function of art is to wipe away the dust of daily life from our souls and provide a deep insight to our inner self. In other words, art provides liberation to our souls in turmoil, and soothes the being in distress and adds cherries in the pie of happiness.

Taking a look at the other face of coin, we find photography. Now, photography in the layman’s perspective is a way to capture a scene using a camera and lighting. Photographs capture a moment that is gone forever impossible to reproduce.

Cutting through some of the intellectual sagebrush, the present consensus tells that photographs capture a combined deliberate moment of reality and it is deliberateness that contains the artistic kernel.

In the ongoing debate about whether photography should be seen as a lens on fine art, some critics consider that a photographer is produced by application of a scientific technique rather than by genuinely creative camera work. Critics who are against photography’s inclusion into art argue that a very inartistic amateur photographer, armed with a good camera is capable of producing perfectly acceptable images. In contrast, a person who had no idea how to paint, would have far greater difficulty creating an acceptable painting or sculpture.

However the defenders of photography claim that even if an untrained camera operator manage to capture an acceptable picture it is unlikely to match the creativity of a professional photographer. Secondly no two photographers can produce two identical images. Critics have attacked photography by claiming that replicability of photographers decreases its originality, but they forget that many bronze sculptures are also replicated in large numbers and maximum of the paintings hung on the museum walls are not the original ones. So, neither painting nor sculptures is as pure as an art of form as is supposed to be.

The editing of photographs is exactly what artists do to improve their work of art till they are satisfied. Critics defending photography also feel that photographers are as patient and hardworking as the artists, who have to wait hours after hours just to capture that perfect moment. Now the advocates of photography say that all photographs cannot be claimed as work of art.

The following three pictures will make this crystal clear:-



This picture can be considered as a piece of art as the photo has been set up using lines and colour and taken at the exact right time and depicts a relatable occurrence, looking at someone’s possessions and pretending not to see. The dresses match with the zebra crossing and facial expressions are so natural that the picture seems a perfect piece of art.



This picture taken by Erwin Oraf is an incredibly artistic piece. This type of picture can be captured only on photo. It tries to state connection between the riches, being the jewels and the animalistic nature of people.



This alone picture of an anonymous person’s photo cannot be called a work of art. Unless it is the person’s acquaintance this photo has no significance for rest of us.

So, all these are views of learned critics not a layman’s. Being a layman, I felt that the defenders of photographers have surely been able to justify themselves. The wide acceptance of photography all over the world is a solid proof to this. Photography was itself included into art when Museum of Modern Art, New York, opened a department of photography in 1937. Another milestone is Andreas Gursky’s photograph The Rhine II (1999), which was sold at record 2.7 million pounds.



Well, if art and photography form the two faces of a coin, then it’s better to say that the coin is flipping, which means photography is art in the way it evolves feelings and emotions. Similarly art is photography in the manner a painter or artist captures a moment in his mind and then draws it. So, art and photography are interwoven and crucial for each other.

77 thoughts on “Flipping The Coin Of Photography

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