I came across The Photograph as Contemporary Art by Charlotte Cotton during a visit to the National Portrait Gallery bookshop the other day. I’ve only just started reading it and for me it is a bit of a slow process as it has been written in a fairly academic textbook style.
In the introduction the book suggests that most contemporary art photographers today have had some sort of high level formal education. With a statement like that, it suggests that only an elite are able to produce photography as art. Can that be right?
I do think that there are artists who stand head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd in whatever discipline they specialise in. Photography is no exception. But as in all things artistic, it is very much a personal choice of the viewer. Your favourite may not be the same as mine.
The thing with photography, which may explain why certain quarters of the art world shun it, is that it is so much easier to create. To create a painting, drawing or sculpture needs some ability. Creating a digital photograph requires less effort.
But regardless of the medium, it is the creative idea behind the piece that makes the work either shine or fall.
Photography in the modern world is very democratic in that we all can express our creative ideas very easily. The problem with the modern world is how we curate the endless images being produced every second of the day. Finding that gem of a photograph that makes you stop and think, is visually exciting and stays in your memory gets more difficult as an ever increasing number of images are brought into being.
The human mind does sometimes amaze me, in that we all can be creative regardless of what our background is.