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A Moment In Time

Is Photography “Art”?

From a snapshot to a landscape photograph, “Mechanical Art” is the process of capturing a moment in time. I have always had a passion for photography. Part of this passion stems back to the ability for me to share what’s in my soul, while looking through my eyes, capturing an unbiased look at a subject. Art by definition is “something that stimulates an individual’s thoughts, emotions, beliefs, or ideas through the senses” and mechanical “produced by machinery.” Using these definitions, you can see why some “Artists” do not believe a photograph is true art; like the saying goes “There is an art to it,” but can a “machine” create art?

With that said, even though you are not putting paint to canvas, a knife to wood, or heating, welding and shaping metal, the end result is still art. Why is photography so rewarding? For every amazing photograph, there are hundreds laying in a pile or on a file that just didn’t capture the essence of the moment. I personally have many more books of unused photographs and negatives than I do of ones where the angle, lighting, subject, and timing was just right. This might sound discouraging, and sometimes it can be, but when you find the one photograph that has captured a specific image, just how you envisioned it, the eye, camera, and image come together making it a moment in time. That’s art.

Digital or film? For me, the answer is both, and here’s why. I use film for my black and white photography because it adds warmth, and a sense of feel to a photograph, while also producing a noiseless image. Film has many limitations though, one of those being the correction factor for under and over exposed negatives. I find the process of developing the film, selecting a negative, altering exposer times, while dodging, burning and blending a photograph very enjoyable. This is when you turn an ordinary photograph into art.

Digital prints are much more sophisticated, giving you the ability to shoot more than one image of a subject. In addition, today’s programs and software allow you to turn an average picture into something special. Is today’s technology ruining the old school way of shooting with film? Today’s technology has its pros and cons. For the pros, it allows almost anyone to take a picture. This same picture can then be stored on most digital devices allowing you to send it to a friend or upload it to social media. Another benefit is digital allows you to scan a film produced photograph onto a computer to be saved, altered, and used for social media. The cons of digital photography are that it takes away some of the objective observation that was trying to be achieved as the digital picture can be altered. This ability to alter a digital photo can be helpful if a digital picture is being used from a commercial standpoint; the additional ability to transfigure an image allows multiple ways to represent the task at hand. Having this ability to change the coloring, definition, contrast, and shadowing of the photo’s composition can take away the warmth and realism of the subject as well.

Photography is a great way to share an event, immortalize historical artifacts, and capture special moments with family and friends. Career opportunities in photography are vast and wide, from shooting for a local paper to major publications. SCCC offers many courses in both film and digital photography, from the beginner to a seasoned professional looking to further their skills. As a hobbyist photographer, I just enjoy showing others that there is more than meets the eye in the world we live in.

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    wendy oreillyApr 4, 2024 at 3:42 pm

    Wonderful perspective! Thank you for sharing.