But it took many years for photography to be accepted as a form of fine art. Naysayers characterized it as an artless craft reliant on mechanical devices readily available to the masses. Early in the last century, Ambrose Bierce satirically defined a photograph as "a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art." It was not until 1910 that the first photography collection was acquired by a gallery, and it was not until 1937 that the Museum of Modern Art in New York had its first exhibition of photography. And only in the late 1960s did photography start to be a collectable art form.
The view that photographs are not "true art" persists. My award-winning print "Cattail" (shown below) is a case in point. It won the prestigious Gold Medal award in the 97th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition at Detroit’s historic Scarab Club. Since its founding in 1907 by a group of artists and art lovers, the Scarab Club has been active in the Detroit arts community, and the Gold Medal is the Scarab Club’s highest and most esteemed prize presented to its members. This was the first time it was awarded to a photographer ... and there was considerable controversy among the more "traditional" members about the juror's selection of a photograph.
Modern abstract artist Paul Klee wrote, “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.” This is the essence of fine art photography – a visual image created by the artist as photographer.
|"Cattail" from "Shadows"|