As a fine art photographer, I get asked this question a lot. In fact, if you belong to any photographic forums you will constantly be seeing someone asking “how do you define art” within a photographic context. So here’s my take on it.
To me, a piece of art comes from within a person. It is something you see, or a feeling you have that is born from within your psyche. Then, if you have creative ability, you make it visible to others through painting, music, photography, sculpting or some other medium.
Many photographers shy away from calling themselves “artists” — they feel it is too arrogant. I believe this comes from them thinking that photography is easy and that anyone can do it.
While it’s true that in its simplest form, photography can hardly be called “art.” Millions of photographs are captured everyday by someone just pointing a picture-recording device at a scene and pushing a button. The art comes afterward, when the photographer applies his/her vision to what they have captured. This might be done using a computer and software to allow one to transform a scene into what the person who captured the image sees in his mind.
Take this month’s picture as an example. Anyone who has gone to the beach has seen countless amounts of sea grass covering the dunes. I’m sure many pictures of sea grass have been taken. What turns this picture into art is the thought was given to the time of day and the direction of the light, and then imparting my own personal vision of what I wanted the sea grass to look like.
If you would like to elevate your photography skills, there are countless videos on Youtube.com that can help. A first good step would be to buy a good book or two on art to get a feel for what it is really about.