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Can photography be art?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/13/2016 Category: Arts
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 838 times Debate No: 91202
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
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I would like to debate weather or not photography can be an art.
Photography can definitely be art, I will not how ever claim that all photography is art or that every photo taken is a peace of art.
A creative photographer can create photos that show the world just as the way it is, or can distort reality. There is room for creativity in the framing, lighting, and in some cases the photographers editing of the shot.
Art also often conveys beauty and there are defiantly some beautiful photos like those made by Ansel Adams.
Another important part of art is conveying ideas or feelings and Dorothea Lange's photography during the great depression invokes feelings.


While it is true that in photography lighting and angles can be important and hard to do for those who lack the skill it still isn't really art. When simplified it is just taking pictures with a piece of technology. If an someone who draws were to trace they would be considered a flaw. Isn't that basically what photography is? Sure they can add details with Photoshop and play with lighting but the base of the art is still artificial and not something they truly created.
Debate Round No. 1

That has is a link to some pretty cool created images. It would be pretty safe to say that Mr. Putra's work is a very different thing than tracing something.
That is a painting you should look at now if you can, I will talk about it later in my argument but it will make more sense if you look at it now

If someone was to paint me, that would in most cases fall safely into the title of art. Paintings of landscapes are called art, same for paintings of animals. They are recreating visuals from the world, photography does the same. If photography is the same as tracing are paintings of real things frowned upon?

I will ask some more questions of you,
If a photo is not created what is it?
captured? observed?
Is there anything wrong with the artificial?

I will also ask you does the aid of technology disqualify works from being called art? Does it make it "artificial"?
If that is the case that means if I draw something on a Wacom tablet it is not art.
I would like to introduce you to a piece of technology that paints, Edavid. Edavid is a robot that paints, and that painting from the second link is one of Edavid's paintings. So is that painting art? If it is not art what is it? I see no reason the tools used for photograthy make it into somthing other than art.

link to Edavids website:



I will admit that beach photo is high quality but still it is an image captured by a piece of technology and altered with effort to be of higher quality.

Your point that someone drawing a picture of you is the same as taking a picture of someone leaves out how the person who is drawing has to use a little more effort than someone using a camera. Not exactly the same thing. As for the comparison between a wacom tablet and a camera amount of effort can be considered another difference. With a camera one waits and clicks a button to capture a part of reality while someone drawing it uses (a) body part(s) that can manipulate objects to recreate it themselves and in general use more effort.

My thoughts on the robot that draws pictures? I think this robot you describe is basically a toned down camera so whether what it creates art or not depends on how detailed the process is." Is it a program that requires people with coding knowledge to input information to create a photo or an actual toned down camera?
Debate Round No. 2


I am going to tell you about a of story, a personal experience, to explain why effort does not matter when it comes to the creation of art. I went to an art school for a good amount of years. I as I think you can guess took photos, and I had a friend, Max, who was painter. So for this one project that was worth a pretty big grade. Max busted out a drawing in night and turned it in. I however had to convinced someone to module for me, set up my camera and tripod, in the snow is might add, and got sick. Even after all of that, I ended up shooting again because I thought it would be cool if I could have some water at the feet of my model. so this time and walked out into a cold lake and ended up getting a couple of shots I liked. Then I took the shots I liked and spent some time trying to get them just right, before turing one in. We got the same grade, but I defiantly put in more effort.
Voltaire according to legend, and it is most likely just legend, wrote Candide in 3 days. Effort and time are not dictators of quality, and they do not say if something is art or not.
Look at some of the photos for national geographic and read the storeys behind getting them then think about if they take less effort.

Sometimes photographers do not wait for something to capture but instead make something worth catering.
here is another set of images from Visual News that shows something be made to be a photo

Edavid is a computer ruining a specialized program. It is connected to welding arm with a paint brush attached at the end, and a camera "eye"


Since you have shared something about yourself I will tell you something about me. I'm not an artist, I don't draw, sculpt or take photos but I still have thoughts on art in general. Here's a story. One time while raking some leaves which is a very laborious activity the person stubs their toe but they preserver. In the end they make a pretty pile of leaves.
Debate Round No. 3


Exactly, racking leaves takes a lot of effort, does that mean it is an art? I would most likely say no.
A sculptor might but forward less effort than a painter does that mean that either persons work is not art? I see no reason they both can't be art

You said in round 3 "Your point that someone drawing a picture of you is the same as taking a picture of someone leaves out how the person who is drawing has to use a little more effort" not only is that not always true, as I hope my story indicated, but effort is put into basically everything a person does and that should not be used to decide if something is an art or not.

I still see no reason to say photography does not have the potential to be an art.


Art can be something that is very difficult to define. People have argued about what art is exactly. Some say it is just expressing emotion and others have a more narrow definition and say it depends on skill. If raking leaves were considered then the doors would open and widen what art is until everything is art. If everything is art then art can not be a skill anymore and effort.

What makes me think photography is a little on the other side is how some stuff like going and snapping a picture of a tree or taking a selfie don't seem that artustic but then again you could say doodles and random scribbles in the bathroom aren't either. It's complicated.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by 13B77 2 years ago
David Hockney
Posted by magic_magpie 2 years ago
Well I fun with this debate.
Posted by Sunny12 2 years ago
i think it very well can be art.
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