A picture is worth a thousand words…  

Columnist Taylor Christensen


What’s the difference between taking a photo, and creating art with a photo? Many people do not understand the difference between snapping a picture on your phone quickly and actually creating real art through photography. So, what classifies a photo as art?

Often times when speaking to my peers about the topic of photography, they question the reason why photography can be considered art. Saying things about how it is not the same as painting, drawing, and other art forms. But just because a photograph is not physically drawn out, or painted by the hand of the artist, does not disqualify it from the field of art. 

An art photographer should be able to look deep into reality and twist it around so that the final result is a look into a different dimension. Meaning, the artist must be able to determine a story, or subject to focus on, and display that subject through the places, things, or people in front of their camera.

According to Photography Life, “A fine art photograph must go beyond the literal representation of a scene or subject.”

According to Spencer Cunningham, Instructor of Teaching in Art at the University of Findlay, an art photograph takes you beyond information to some aspect of life that engages you with another aspect of life. Without the photographer creating this other worldly experience using their camera, the viewer is going to be left with simply an informational photograph. 

“The world is much to visually complex to try to fit reality into a template,” said Cunningham. “Art photographs have an equivalency to something else about life, not just what’s in the picture.”

This skill is not easy to master, it takes years of practice and countless hours of studying other artists work to figure out how to manipulate the world around you to tell a story through a photo. This is what distinguishes the difference between an art photographer and a photographer.

“An artist photographer is someone who creates something, a story. Each image is conceptualized and the shooting organized. This is the difference between a photographer and an artist photographer. The artist photographer has a vision, the photographer has limited skills,” said French Photographer Adèle Mathieu in the photography website Lomography.

I believe that photography is so much more important to our world because is a skill that many simply cannot understand. Art photographers are a rare breed of artist and should be cherished. Without them, we would not be able to see the inner workings of the world around us visually.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *