Are Art Photographers Not Real Artists?

Art Photographers Are Artists. Period.

A recent discussion over at Pixels.com had one self-centered (painting or drawing) artist complain that “Contests with art and photography are kind of feeble on the art side.” He goes on to explain it this way:

Hey, Alice, great painting. How long did it take?
“Thanks Mary, I worked ’til the wee hours every night all last week.”
“Wow, that’s a lot of work – you certainly deserve this honorable mention.”
“And here’s our winner, Bill. Kudos for the great picture of the sun setting over the canal. How long did that take?”
Bill replies, “About 1/125th of a second.”

Don’t ya just love that attitude toward photographers?

I get tired of some artists making comparisons like that. Here is my response to that self-centered complainer:

Actually one of my best selling photographs was captured in less than that 1/125th of a second. But that is only one tiny moment of the hours and hours needed to “get it right.” My best selling series (of the Indian River Inlet Bridge) has me being there on several dozen different occasions – in all kinds of weather (well, mostly good weather but in temperatures from below freezing to nearly 100 degrees (F). Oh, yeah, I’ve been “on location” from before sunrise to nearly midnight. And I have made, literally, thousands of exposures – which need sorting, culling and processing/editing down to the select few that exhibit what I saw when I made that short camera click. Yeah, maybe it would be nice to stay home, even if up ’til 2:00 AM, in my air conditioned home.

Indian River Inlet Bridge at Twilight

In summary: I sell photographs of places (landscapes/seascapes) that are photographed a gazillion times every year. But for some reason there are people who spend several hundred dollars on some of my pieces for images of the same “subject” that an iPhone captures for free. Maybe there is a reason. 🙂

PLEASE feel free to add your point of view in a comment below. 

One Reply to “Are Art Photographers Not Real Artists?”

  1. I’m with you 100%! I use to sell all my photography and it’s a full time job and then some. I also spent quite a bit of money on lenses and gadgets to capture an awesome photo; people would want to hold dear, hang on their walls and smile inside their hearts! I framed, matted and mounted my photos; I promoted them back then for sale haning pics in various restaurants etc. Now we have the web and home printers…ink is the most expensive liquid out there. Photos capture moments and some that are totally priceless! Artwork is Awesome; but not close to what photographers do to sell, exhibit and produce incredible pictures! I gave up doing weddings due to all the work and deadlines! Now I enjoy photography as a hobby. I had my success; sold pics; magazine covers etc. I smile because it’s a thrill to get an awesome photo!

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