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Photography As Fine Art


One of the things that have been consuming my interest as of late is the idea of photography as Fine Art. As a Painter it's taking me a little time to break it down and make sense of it. To help me along i'm reading some books on the subject, including Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida (which Jane gave me), and talking to some friends who are experts on the subject. I'm also looking at photographers that are considered fine art photographers, to assist my physical eyes. So, last night, as I was looking at a William Eggleston book (that I received as a gift from Kelsey), I think I came to terms that 1) Yes, Photography can achieve the status of Fine Art, and that 2) Its qualification is that of painting and other fine arts, and that is that it needs to transcend. Could it reach the same width and depth of Painting? My initial reaction is no, but those are questions i'll worry about soon after. [The reason is I say no though is that photography fights ambiguity, the other thing needed in fine art, besides transcendence].

The reason i'm sharing all this with you is the below article on the matter, [in which you'll find additional links to other articles I recommend you read]. They are all initiated by a new photography exhibit at the National Gallery in London titled Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present.

Chase Jarvis: The ‘Vulgar’ Photographer — Trespasser on the Sacred Ground of Fine Art?
It’s a battle that’s been fought since photography arrived on the scene as a medium of visual expression. To its critics, it’s been nothing more than a glorified means of copying or reproducing something. To its proponents, it’s every bit as legitimate an art form as painting and sculpture. Regardless of which side you come down on, photography has always had to struggle to gain acceptance in the fine art world, especially in museums.

Now, one of the most prominent museums in the world is adding a photography exhibit to its repertoire, and there are quite a few folks who aren’t happy about it.


This is the National Gallery’s first major exhibit of photography, and for a number of reasons, it’s being heavily panned by critics. That criticism is stretched into a critique of the place of photography in the world of art.

“Photography,” says Graham-Dixon, “lacks the depth and heft, the thinking sense of touch, that painting possesses.”

I'm opening up the comment section below, in case you have any books/articles recommendations, for me to read. As well as other photographers I should be looking at.


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